Is California actually a liberal state?

Jan 23 111 Comments

As a millennial who makes more than they probably should, I feel like this state tows a liberal ethos but it’s totally fake.

I couldn’t afford to have 2 kids, a non working spouse, health insurance for the family, a single family detached home, a car, and maybe helping put my kids through school.

So I meagerly pick and choose what parts of that “middle class” life I can make reality. I’m bitter, maybe rightfully or wrongly so, that it was much simpler for prior generations.

I make 200,000 a year. How much should it take? It’s frustrating to do the damn best I can (which is still generously better than many Americans) yet feel like I’m so far behind. Am I crazy to feel that way? Am I unreasonable in my desire to live archetype middle class life?

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TOP 111 Comments
  • Fitbit jRn41
    It's a liberal state, not a communist state.
    Jan 23 14
    • Oracle zyfxx
      We're talking California.
      Jan 23
    • Intel Pal$1?
      Middle class CA better than middle class outside US but not as good as middle class outside liberal land.
      Jan 23
    • Oracle zyfxx
      Why do you think that other states are better for middle class? Policies? Weather? Beaches? You don't need to discuss.
      Jan 23
    • Intel Pal$1?
      Your home is 2x as big for 1/2 as much, your taxes are much lower with better services.

      SF weather was the worst I ever lived in (foggy as fuck). San Jose had the worst culture for a city it’s size I ever lived in.
      Jan 23
    • LinkedIn 4bob61
      Inequality is correlated with how progressive your taxes are.

      The only successful changes that have ever decreased inequality are massive natural disasters (floods, the plague, etc) and civil wars that made everyone equally poor. Inequality has never in history decreased without massive death.
      Jan 24
  • Depends on your definition of liberal.

    If you mean liberal as in liberal democratic then yes, it's kind of the perfect description given the free market capitalist society that is CA.

    If you mean liberal as is often misused to imply left wing (which are entirely unrelated) then absolutely not as it is about as far from a socialist society as one could imagine.
    Jan 23 10
    • Facebook / Data Jeef Besus
      You stupid shits don’t know what it’s like to make $50k/ year. $200k is unequivocally upper class. Stop playing victim.
      Jan 23
    • Facebook / Eng QGhE38
      Do you really have more money left after tax/rent/mortgage/expenses making 200k here than making 50k in Texas? Do some math. Don’t live in your illusion, feeling like you are the “elite”. Go back to work.
      Jan 23
    • Apple sKdnNsjxjd
      This is part of the stretch between the lower and upper class, the growing income inequality. $200k/year absolutely sounds like it should be upper class, especially if you’re earning $50k/year. 4 times more means 4 times the wealth, right? What it means is better schools for the kids, owning a house, and some nanny help because you’re working so much. That’s the difference from 50k->200k. I think it’s upper middle class for the area, but upper class means not working and still bringing in money. You can earn more per year as upper middle, but you still need to work. Lower upper class is living off of passive income, and spending your time growing it.
      Jan 23
    • Facebook / Data Jeef Besus
      Livingwage.mit.edu for a 2 adult (1 working) 2 child family: living wage in SF metro is $75k. Austin TX is $54k.

      Take home pay after all taxes is $146k in SF @200k. $43k for TX @50k

      So yes you have about $80k difference in money after adjusting for cost of living. Note that you could support an additional family with that extra money in both metros.

      Majority of America can’t afford a $500 surprise. Don’t live in your victim fantasy.
      Jan 23
    • LinkedIn 4bob61
      $200k/yr for an individual (OP) in SF is 100% upper class, not middle class. Look up the income distribution & percentile yourself.

      If you define "upper class" as so rich you don't have to work and get to do fun things we tech workers can't afford to do, then there are so few people in your "upper class" that it effectively doesn't exist. The only people in that boat are retired and can't go on vacations or live lives of luxury.
      Jan 23
  • Microsoft horizontal
    Liberal policies in California are there for poor low income class, not upper middle class which you certainly are, if not upper class. You are paying taxes for those liberal policies so that low income class can have those benefits and safety nets.

    So either shut up and be a liberal and sponsor the poor with your tax money.

    Or be a conservative and do not vote ultra left liberals in CA.

    Or quit your job and become a homeless bum to receive those safety net benefits.

    You don't get to cry about wanting a liberal state and at the same time only want benefits for yourself.

    And yes with your income if you save enough and live responsibly, you can afford all that you listed except the home where may be you have to settle for a town home or a very long commute.
    Jan 23 8
    • LinkedIn 4bob61
      The AOC tax (70% over $10M) would raise less than $20B/year federally. That's a rounding error on the CA budget, not to mention the ~$1T federal deficit. You couldn't pay for anything with that.
      https://taxfoundation.org/70-percent-tax-initial-analysis/

      Americans currently spend more on taxes than on housing, food and clothing *combined*. If you want more money, you need to lower taxes, not increase them. The govt is mostly waste. I've worked in it.
      Jan 23
    • Microsoft horizontal
      AOC is a bimbo and can not do basic math. Democratic party should distance itself from stupid people like AOC.

      If they want to propose policies, propose realistic ones, not laughable ones.
      Jan 23
    • Obama and press corp laughed at trump....now look at them.
      Jan 23
    • Salesforce :w!
      Why AOC's tax in the US would end up any different that Holland's tax in France?

      https://www.msn.com/en-in/money/photos/the-countries-millionaires-are-leaving-in-their-droves/ss-BBz2jgl#image=10

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/31/france-drops-75percent-supertax

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.france24.com/en/20150808-france-wealthy-flee-high-taxes-les-echos-figures

      12000 millionaire left France after the supertax was introduced.
      "the sums obtained from the supertax were meagre, standing at €260m in 2013 and €160m in 2014, and affecting 1,000 staff in 470 companies. Over the same period, the budget deficit soared to €84.7bn."

      Earlier:
      "A total of 3,744 people who earned 100,000 euros per year or more left France in 2013, a 40 percent increase compared to 2012, French financial newspaper Les Echos revealed citing figures from the national tax-collecting office.

      Furthermore, 659 people who earned 300,000 euros or more annually said ‘au revoir’ in 2013, a 46 percent rise on the previous year. By comparison, the overall French migration rate in 2013 increased by only 6 percent."
      Jan 23
    • LinkedIn 4bob61
      You left off the part where even socialist France immediately repealed their 'millionaires tax' because it decreased revenue and drove away the highest tax payers.

      Their own people changed their minds and didn't want the tax any more.
      Jan 23
  • Google / Mgmt Lovedoo
    It’s what my friend calls a limousine liberal state = hypocritical. We pay some of the highest taxes (fed, state, local) and get crappy schools, expensive healthcare, poor public transport and crazy college debt. Property prices keep rising faster than our pay checks. And we elect the same clowns with a different promise. Remember it’s always socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor
    Jan 23 8
    • The republican tax cuts did get broad coverage, but like 90% of the savings goes to the top 1%. Kind of diminishes your point. Sure my paycheck has an extra three bucks in it. Who cares.
      Jan 23
    • Don't the tax cuts for us mere mortals phase out as well while corporations and truly high earners don't phase out over time?

      Regardless, it's all a bit funny money since we have huge national debt and now an even larger deficit. We'll all pay for it somehow some day. The truly Rich will be the ones who can avoid it by moving abroad when shit goes down.
      Jan 23
    • Intel Pal$1?
      No.

      Don’t forget the trillions in unfunded public sector pensions California taxpayers will have to pay.
      Jan 23
    • LinkedIn 4bob61
      No, that's not correct. The corporate tax changes (which catch the US up to the corporate tax rates that so-called socialist Europe has had for decades) were permanent. Those primarily benefit workers, not investors.

      The individual tax changes (which benefitted the poor and some rich, alike) expire in ~9 years, because the GOP would have needed a few Democrats to vote for it to make them permanent, per a Senate rule. They could make them permanent at any time, if the Democrats choose.

      But yes, out of control deficit spending and pension liabilities will soon cause structural collapse to both the federal and CA budgets. Have your bags packed when that happens.
      Jan 24
    • Intel Ahahxna
      Full expensing of equipment starts expiring in 2022 with full expiration in 2026. This is the most significant policy implementation of the whole TCJA.
      Jan 24
  • LinkedIn 4bob61
    PSA: for those who feel unsuccessful, like their TC isn't good enough for Blind, check your income percentile:

    https://dqydj.com/income-percentile-calculator/

    You're all upper class, not middle class.
    Jan 23 10
    • Facebook / Data gfg101
      I guess drawing the line of middle and upper class is where we disagree then, and I realize it may be my definition of upper class that is wrong. If upper class isn't the tier that gets all the stuff (btw Ferrari is obviously an extreme but a bunch of people drive around in 90k SUVs and trucks and whatever), then which tier is?
      Jan 23
    • LinkedIn 4bob61
      2 points:
      1) there's aren't enough people that meet your image of "rich" to make up a class. They're extremely rare anomalies.
      2) flashy displays of wealth are usually not the richest folks around. Read some of the profiles of the ultra-rich. They don't drive those sports cars. Those are usually financed by people who can't afford them, with something to prove.
      Jan 23
    • I read an article that stagnant middle class wages weren’t a problem for stock markets because spending on luxury goods has filled the gap. Now I don’t keep that kind of company, but I’ve driven down Rodeo Drive and seen a bunch of very luxury vehicles. I’m sure most of them weren’t financed. There’s a very small class consuming premium things, enough so to counteract a declining middle class. So I think your point about not having enough rich people isn’t quite right. It doesn’t take many rich people to generate large amounts of spending since they’ll drop a lot more cash than the average person would on, say, a car.
      Jan 23
    • LinkedIn 4bob61
      The stagnant wages claims are lies built on unrealistic inflation estimates. The poor are getting richer.

      I know people who recently made 8 figures and still live like plain middle class engineers. I also know people who make 5 figures and drive much nicer cars than I do, living in houses much bigger than mine. Income doesn't predict spending very well.

      That's one of the reasons progressive sales taxes work much better than progressive income taxes at really hitting the people you think of as rich.
      Jan 23
    • Google Woopsy
      With 200k you should have 131k after taxes. An employer sponsored healthcare shouldn’t be more than 3k/y, renting a 3 or 4br house in Mountain View is doable under $60k/y, and a Tesla Model 3 with a 6y loan is $10k/y.
      Add an extra 10k or 20k on food and that is still way under $100k for living well in the bay, with an extra $30k or $40k for leisure.
      Jan 23
  • Fitbit jRn41
    Nobody is forcing you to live where you live. You can easily move to a state where they pay you $70k, and that's plenty in that state.
    Jan 23 2
    • Health care and other items (cars etc) don’t decrease in price in America’s cheaper areas. You get cheaper housing for much proportionally less salary. California is still a better deal than coding in Montana. I’ll give this state that: there are certainly worse options than being in California as an upper middle class earner.
      Jan 23
    • New / Eng
      hYw82bsos

      New Eng

      PRE
      McGraw-Hill Education
      hYw82bsosmore
      Yeah but pay and cost of.living can be better elsewhere. You can easily make 150k in a city like Austin or minneapolis and still have a much lower cost of living.

      If you aren't making over 300k in the bay you're wasting your money and could make a better life in a cheaper city. It's all hype if you aren't making it happen.
      Jan 23
  • It’s about taxing the middle class , so what do you expect?
    Jan 23 1
    • The middle class is the backbone of America. Without it, we’d be nothing. The middle class is something worth protecting. Wish the politicians saw it that way.
      Jan 23
  • Intel Pal$1?
    You’ve discovered why there is no middle class in California.

    After tax, your $200K is what, $120K?
    Jan 23 3
    • Google / Mgmt Lovedoo
      Probably more like $100K Net. Don’t forget state taxes, property taxes, sales tax, registration, gas tax. When you add it all, we pay taxes similar to socialist countries such as Denmark. But wait, they have free healthcare, childcare and generous retirement and other govt benefits. Our $$ goes to pay for Unwinnable wars :)
      Jan 23
    • Intel Ahahxna
      Nah, they go to public sector unions that pay firefighters $200K for 100 days of work, teachers $100/hr in TC, and prison guards $250K to have surveillance of the caged animals. If we sponsored H1-B to replace these people, the price would fall by 80%.
      Jan 23
    • LinkedIn 4bob61
      Yeah in CA most of our money goes to unions and pensions.

      Countries like Denmark have roughly the same top income tax rates as we do. The difference is everyone pays high rates, not just the top few percent hardest workers like we do here.
      Jan 24
  • You are not crazy...in fact neoliberalism failed the world...

    What you are noticing is that despite topline compensation, the real American middleclass lifestyle is unaffordable today.

    Education
    Healthcare
    Retirement
    Housing

    These were traded away for cheap junk made in china to appease the lower class masses.
    Jan 23 10
    • Intel Pal$1?
      You hit on the ultimate liberal hypocrisy - we are liberal, but we are going to regulate housing (Prop 13+land use regulation) so that existing property owners benefit, but new citizens won’t.

      Move to Texas and you can live like a king.
      Jan 23
    • Texas has high property tax.....
      Looking for new place like california of 1950s or texas of 1990s....
      Jan 24
    • Intel Ahahxna
      Texas high prop tax - the rate is high, but nominally the amount you pay is the same as CA because housing costs 1/4 as much. Plus, that no income tax rate...
      Jan 24
    • So you’re saying it balances out?
      Jan 25
    • Intel Lpajihb
      I’m saying it’s a gigantic tax break to move out of California. Was about $50K/year increase for me.
      Jan 25
  • New / Eng leet4job
    Save & move?
    Jan 23 6
    • Broadcom Ltd. rFkd21
      Disagree. You have to take substantial risks to take your TC to a different state.
      Jan 23
    • Oracle zyfxx
      The excess TC goes towards taxes and cost of living. You can have a much better quality of life in other states with lower TC. Liberals and companies are moving to conservative states. Wonder why?
      Jan 23
    • Intel UGeJ58
      ^What a factoid, "Liberals and companies are moving to conservative states"

      Do you have anything other than your of-the-moment opinion to back that up?
      Jan 23
    • Oracle zyfxx
      Intel: type that much in your favorite search engine if you need data for everything. Thanks Salesforce!
      Jan 23
  • Google w61Mqh
    Liberal isn't the same as "well managed". Case in point: San Francisco's board of supervisors are liberal as hell but I wouldn't trust them to run a hotdog cart.
    Jan 23 1
    • Apple hMWF54
      The same concept applies across the political spectrum
      Jan 23
  • LinkedIn 4bob61
    Regarding middle class vs upper class: we seem to have this idea that "middle class" means working to live. I think the definitions which fit people's imaginations the best would be:

    Lower class / poor: can't get a job, live on welfare
    Middle class: have a job that they can live off of; must work to live
    Upper class / rich: don't need to work

    But think about the (earned) income distributions for those 3 groups:
    $0
    $1-1,000,000
    $0

    Income taxes only apply to income, which means those with jobs pay all the taxes. By this definition, 97% of pre-retirement families are middle class. That's so broad, it can't be a class definition.
    Jan 23 3
    • Some people use the middle three income quintiles as middle class. Really depends on how you define it. The earned income taxes is a novel approach to me, as lower and upper certainly don’t pay taxes on earned income.
      Jan 23
    • Lower class: mostly receives tax benefits
      Middle class: pays mostly wage income taxes
      Upper class: pays mostly capital gains taxes

      97% is correct...even doctors earning $400k have to work to earn and really have no power over society. It is the top 0.5% and above who have power over others.
      Jan 23
    • LinkedIn 4bob61
      Most of the 3% are lower class, and less than 1% is upper class, according to your definitions.

      If a class of people is <1% of the population, it's not a class. You're just talking about politicians and such. A class must be a significant portion of the populace.
      Jan 23
  • Not so easy to label. It depends on the area and the issue. The Bay Area is split into many different counties, which makes large transportation projects impossible because we can’t get each county to vote to pony up the money and work collectively on a mass transportation project. Case a point, look at the original BART map when it was proposed and what was actually built. It’s night and day, and 💯 because of this issue. The original BART would have been a dream.

    In contrast, LA actually would have a much easier time building a worthwhile BART system because LA county is enormous and has billions of tax dollars under a single umbrella and people to vote for such a thing.

    California is liberal socially. But it’s still a economically conservative state overall. And that reflects the views of the people here.

    And our tax situation is 💯 due to prop 13 years ago. We decided we’d rather have lower property taxes for higher income taxes. Because only a great fool would believe you could eliminate a massive tax revenue for a state this large and not have to raise it elsewhere.
    Jan 23 1
    • LinkedIn 4bob61
      California voters match your "great fool" definition well.
      Jan 23
  • Amazon / Eng
    bobbyhill

    Amazon Eng

    PRE
    Amazon
    BIO
    Putting out fires during day, and starting them at night!
    bobbyhillmore
    Remember, y’all just a few paychecks from being poor like the rest of America. The infographics in this video puts your TC in context.

    https://youtu.be/QPKKQnijnsM

    It’s funny how y’all think you’re actually making money, I sure don’t 🤣

    TC 200
    Expenses 3K/month
    More taxes plz
    Jan 23 1
    • in San Francisco, California, your household would have to earn $785,946 a year to join the top one percent club.....
      Jan 23
  • Uber gatopan
    In all seriousness, people do it with 1/4 of your income , you’re just not understand what middle class really is.

    You probably want a nice car , to have kids , and to live in a great location , with good schools for them and the best healthcare there is.

    I had discussions like this with friends in their early 30s getting depress by the same thing and it sucks but not even in the good ol’ days people could afford that
    Jan 23 0
  • New / Eng |l|l||l|l|
    Your complains, while valid, have nothing to do with liberalism
    Jan 23 6
    • Rackspace FINf68
      Not a leftist and not in California but I think that means affordable housing for people in poverty, not people making 200K a year.
      Jan 23
    • Yeah but if people in poverty can afford to be housed someone making 200k should also be able to afford housing.
      Jan 23
    • New / Eng |l|l||l|l|
      Affordable housing should be a minimum requirement for any functioning society, not a "liberal" agenda. Do conservatives want housing to be unaffordable?
      Jan 23
    • LinkedIn 4bob61
      I can't speak for conservatives, but as a classical liberal, I want a healthy market for housing, uncorrupted by burdensome zoning laws, building regulations, red tape, compliance costs, low income housing mandates, and rent/price controls.

      Housing is most affordable when entrepreneurs are free to solve problems without government in the way.
      Jan 24
    • New / Eng |l|l||l|l|
      Libertarian then
      Jan 24
  • Uber gatopan
    Yes.

    Wait no, what was the question ?
    Jan 23 0
  • Bloomberg / Eng iVX372
    California will always be expensive because it's the most in-demand place to live in the US and is already densely populated, period.

    Eliminating the policies that perpetuate the housing shortage would not solve this problem, but they would help significantly.

    Btw the housing shortage policies have little to do with liberal politics. NIMBYism is perpetuated by liberal and conservative SF homeowners alike
    Jan 23 1
    • LinkedIn 4bob61
      But which political group defeated the state-wide rent control measure in November? Who fights for property rights (in the rare cases that anyone does)?
      Jan 24
  • New Mommy
    This thread is hilarious
    Jan 23 1
    • PayPal / Eng pokero
      🍿?
      Jan 23
  • Facebook WKCV72
    That was the 90s bro. They’re over.
    Jan 23 2
    • I was born in the 90s! It wasn’t that long ago. Don’t make me feel dated... Looking backwards, times were always simpler.
      Jan 23
    • Facebook WKCV72
      Ah I see.
      Jan 23