Almost all American married parents are Amazon Prime customers.

Amazon recently revealed they have 90 million or so Prime users in America, and that in the income ranges that mark the married class they have 70 to 90% uptake, with the 100k+ being close to 90% as far as they can tell.  By nearly any guess or estimate or account list, the majority of American households period are not just buying from Amazon, but subscribed to its Prime division.

I see right wing people brag about not buying from Amazon ever, and then I look at the reality on the ground for married mothers, who continue to have most of the children.

Acknowledgement of the extent of SCALE is part of the way towards reducing it.  Bragging on a Amazon Web Services-backed server about how you personally never go near the website to buy books or whatever, not so much.


Fast facts about married with kids income compared to all households.

Less than 10% of all households making under 50k/yr are married with under-18 kids.

About 20% of all households making 50-99k/yr are married with under-18 kids.

About 33% of all households making 100-149k/yr are married with under-18 kids.

About 40% of all households making 150k/yr or more are married with under-18 kids.

Interesting pattern, that.

Source: 2016 ACS data on household income in the past 12 months.

The new class structure in American society

Upper class: Married, college completing, has domestic support at least part time or extensive use of internet-based equivalents. Household income range is 200-450k. 95% white and Asian, 5% black and Hispanic.  6 million households.

Upper middle class: Married, college educated (mostly completing, but a substantial minority of “some college” households).  Household income range is 100k-200k.  90% white and Asian, 10% black and Hispanic.  Lifetime number of children is 1-4. 16 million households.

Middle class: Singles with their act together, single parents who make more than 50k/yr.  Retired married couples.   25 million households.

Lower middle class: Hispanics (particularly 1st and 2nd generation immigrant), non-college white and black married couples. 34 million.

Lower class: Singles who can’t get it together, single parents who don’t work. 40 million.

This is a draft.  The numbers are pretty close to the total households in America though.  Peel away, it’s a pretty big onion.

The (lack of) wealth post

Long story short, even most millionaires haven’t got much.  For households with a net worth above 500k, the mean and the median are both around 1 million dollars including home equity.  This means that the air gets pretty thin once you hit about a million in total assets.  And home equity is on average 30% of total assets for all groups, so even millionaires are vulnerable to losing that status with a few bad housing market years.

Black people are younger and disproportionately live in smaller, unmarried households with less than one full time worker.  The racial wealth gap is partly a gap of not living in a married+kids household with 1.5-2 full time workers.  The other part is not being 65 and long-married.  Demographic lag means old married white couples have asset appreciation, and that there are still enough of them to keep the white wealth median in the six-figure range.  Old married black women have a tiny asset gap, but there are just not very many of them as a group. Young and even middle-aged marrieds of any race have perhaps 100-150k in assets, including home equity.  If you have more than 150k in assets, especially without home equity, you are flying pretty high.

As for overall net worth, despite the gaps, 1/4 of black households have six-figure or greater net worth.  A little more than half of all white, non-Hispanic households have a six-figure or greater net worth.  This roughly tracks in both cases with the marriage percentage.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2014 Panel, Wave 1
Internet Release Date: 6/1/2017

There are surveys of net worth that get into more detail, but surveying people on savings and assets just reveals that over the last 30 years there’s been a lot of volatility, with the basic numbers not budging much for the young and middle-aged once you account for real estate or stock bubbles inflating and popping.  Sticking money in the bank is the most sturdy savings and it piles up the absolute slowest.  The “we’ll all put a dollar in and pull four out in 30 years” has turned out to not lead to everyone getting to pull four dollars out.  Weird!

“I raised a family on 40k and you can too!”

I think a lot of people who have kids, and particularly those who are in the vicinity of conservatives have heard some variation on this theme from older folks.  The exact amount varies, but it’s usually 30-50k.  I took the midpoint for this post.

Anyway, here’s a little chart of what 40k in 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000 would be in current-year dollars.

Decade Annual Household Income in Dollars What It’s Worth In 2018 Dollars
1970 40,000 260,000
1980 40,000 125,000
1990 40,000 75,000
2000 40,000 55,000

I didn’t go back further because most people who say this were raising kids to college ages in the mid-70s to mid-90s.

Feel free to copy-paste this chart in any discussion of costs to raise kids. Calculator used is here and I lowballed a little.

Private retreat is the default right wing political activism.

That people doing it don’t feel that way doesn’t matter, the practical effects are nearly the same as if they did (and plenty do feel there’s a political aspect.)

The problem with this being the way right wing people respond to mass social changes that are detrimental is that it’s expensive on a collective level and a personal level.  The costs are so high that right wing people engaging in this type of activism are almost entirely cut off from any other kind of activism.

In contrast, the left wing just sprinkles political dust on their lifestyle and keeps on moving.  The left doesn’t promote marriage as the optimal vehicle for private retreat.  It doesn’t promote private retreat at all.  The right overwhelmingly does.  It’s not that the right does no explicit activism, it’s that the default setting is to hide away privately and replicate lost social goods within the nuclear family regardless of whether it’s desirable, feasible or possible within the limitations of a nuclear family.

This breaks women.  Women are yelled at for not being able to replicate the social goods of an entire city, town or village, and also yelled at for desiring those goods and also yelled at for not taking on additional community-wide functions as more and more of society breaks down into atomization and isolated individuality.

It also breaks men, but in a more subtle way in which they are told there’s no serious obstacles to their masculine expression or nature except their own will, which is an immensely damaging falsehood.  This is as true of the mainstream right wing media as it is of numerous far right blogs.

I’d expand on this more, like perhaps delving into the trades myth that many in the right cling to but make sure to never put their kids into, or how the conservative stack for women doesn’t (that is, the pieces don’t work with each other and reinforce each other; homeschooling comes at the expense of a clean house, as a very typical example).  But our private retreat means I don’t have another woman or young girl around to keep my youngest from melting down about getting a small spot of soup on one sleeve. So I have to go deal with that.

The super cool 529 expansion was stripped from the final tax bill. Also, better tax plan calculator

I was going to do a effort post on the whole thing, but I just can’t.  I’ve vented enough about how it’s shocked me that so many Republicans are against more flexible spending of education dollars by parents.  But they are.  Some of them are even whiny that it wasn’t RESTRICTED MORE to homeschoolers only.

Congratulations, Dems.  Y’all play to win and know when to hold ’em.

That is a better tax plan calculator.  Only about 1 in 20 taxpayers will see an increase in their taxes, nearly all on the higher income side.