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Bill Sundstrom: Who's Rich and Who's Not: KPLU
Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010
Economics Professor Bill Sundstrom discussed the difficulty in classifying somebody as rich or poor on Seattle, Washington’s public radio station KPLU. A poll conducted by KPLU shows that Washington voters are not agreement about what it means to be rich. The poll reveals that Republicans in the state are more likely to say it takes more than a million dollars a year to be rich than are Democrats. Another factor that affect’s one’s view of who’s rich and who’s not is how much money that person earns. The more money a person makes, the higher he or she sets the bar for “rich.”
Professor Sundstrom says that these results are not surprising, as people tend to compare themselves to those whom they are around every day. One example he gives is that of somebody who makes $200,000 a year but is surrounded by people earning even more money and driving nicer cars. This person would consider himself middle class and the people with more wealth than he rich.
Another result of the poll shows that people in the middle and low income brackets are hesitant to increase taxes on the rich. Professor Sundstrom says there has often been this reluctance because some people are opposed to taxes and others are worried that instating such an increase would harm the country’s productivity, while yet others believe that the wealthy deserve what they have acquired.