Is it Just Me Or is That Ladder Getting Taller?

Image: OECD Library

What can $250 Million dollars buy?

62 islands in Belize

500- $500,000 houses

6,250 Brand New Mercedes Benz

$250 Million Cheese Burgers at McDonald’s

A financial report that was released last week said that Mitt Romney has a personal fortune of $250 million.

For President Obama to make $250 million he would have to be president for 625 years. Maybe then he could get something done. But I digress.

When so many Americans are being forced to choose between eating or paying rent, keeping the lights on or putting gas in the car, it’s sickening to think we could elect a man who never has to make those types of decisions in his day to day life.

Last year my husband and I found ourselves unemployed. We started a small business and a year later we still have to make some of those daily choices.

A man who is worth $250 million will never understand us and the choices we make.

“A 2011 study by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the top earning 1 percent of households gained about 275% after federal taxes and income transfers over a period between 1979 and 2007…From 1992 to 2007 the top 400 earners in the U.S. saw their income increase 392% and their average tax rate reduced by 37%.”

Chances are I will never know what it is like to be worth so much, and to be honest I don’t want to. But what is discouraging is the lack of movement I feel in climbing the income ladder, even a little. Even Americans, who are doing everything right, going to college, working hard and saving, cannot get ahead.

An NPR report said last week “This lack of mobility is especially true for people at the bottom of the income ladder. If you’re born to low-income parents in the United States, you are significantly more likely to remain on the bottom rungs than in countries like Norway and Germany. In fact, 40 percent of Americans born in the bottom fifth don’t get to the next rung.”

For those of us who do not dream about owning 62 islands in Belize, but rather concern ourselves with putting food on the table, the income gap is devastating and ever widening. For the next election I want to see a candidate who makes $50,000 a year and works for every penny of it.  I want to see a candidate who has had to make choices.  $250 million can buy a lot of things. Let’s hope this year it’s not an election.