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How Wealthy Is Wealthy?

Sheet of US one hundred dollar bills
Don Farrall | Digital Vision | Getty Images
Sheet of US one hundred dollar bills

Tax cuts for the wealthy lately have been a big bone of contention in the US. Obama says middle class-tax cuts are his number-one priority, but he might be willing to bend on extending tax cuts temporarily for the wealthy. Per the tax cuts, "wealthy" is being defined as $250,000. So we're asking ... is $250,000 really rich?

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Not a Scientific Survey. Results may not total 100% due to rounding.

Take our poll below and tell us what you think! Watch "The Kudlow Report" tonight at 7 PM ET and find out what out caucus members have to say or check back here later for a summary from our caucus members.




The Kudlow Caucus Breakdown

A. $250,000
Jerry BowyerEconomist, CNBC Contributor
Since the question is largely one designed to stoke envy as a tool of political advancement, the answer is that anyone is "wealthy" if they make any more money than the person being asked to question. Since the vast majority of Americans make less that $250,000 per year, than $250,000 is wealthy.

A. $250,000
Kellyanne ConwayCEO and President
the polling company™
And then less and less wealthy as tax and regulatory burdens hit.

D. $5 Million
David P. GoldmanSenior Editor
First Things
To have a family with two children in New York requires a $2 million to $3 million-dollar apartment and $100,000 a year in school fees. After taxes $1 million in New York is $450,000 after taxes. That just pays the bills.

A. $250,000
David GoodfriendLawyer
The national median income, or 50th percentile, is around $45,000 (U.S. Census 2006 survey). About 18 percent of Americans earn $50,000 to $75,000 per year; and about 11 percent earn $75,000 to $100,000. About 15 percent of all Americans earn $100,000 or more. Some people might say that the top 15 percent of the population is a small enough slice to be called "wealthy." But let's look at the percentage of people who make $250,000 or more. That's 1.5 percent of the population. I'm pretty comfortable, as a matter of pure semantics, saying that the upper 1.5 percent of any group is the top. So, everyone on your list is wealthy.

C. $1 Million
Jim LaCampPortfolio Manager, Portfolio Focus, RBC Wealth Management
Co-Host, Opening Bell Radio Show, Biz Radio Network
I know plenty of two-income families making $250,000 to $400,000. They are doing well but after taxes, college expenses, etc., they are upper middle class but not wealthy.

E. More than $5 Million
Donald L. LuskinChief Investment Officer, Trend Macrolytics LLC
Wealth is a stock, salary is a flow. No amount of salary makes you wealthy per se. Warren Buffet gets a modest salary. Yet he is wealthy.

D. $5 Million
Daniel J. Mitchell
Senior Fellow
Cato Institute
It's all subjective, but wealthy presumably means having enough money to do almost anything you want without restrictions, even if you live is an expensive major city.

C. $1 Million
Steve MooreSr. Economics Writer, The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board
If you don’t have seven figures, you aren’t rich.

B. $500,000
Peter Navarro
Business Professor
University of California, Irvine
$250,000 a year is a lot of money – except in states like California and New York where the cost of living is high.

E. More than $5 Million
James Pethokoukis
Money & Politics Columnist
Reuters
It's a level that if you did the job for one year, you theoretically would not have to work again. But I don't believe such folks should be taxed at a higher, confiscatory rate.

B. $500,000
Robert Reich
Former Labor Secretary
Professor of Public Policy, UC Berkeley
Even in a high-cost city like San Francisco or New York, half a million a year is enough for you to live well. Everywhere else in America, you’re flying high.

C. $1 Million
Mark Walsh
Political Strategist and Campaign Innovator
“Salary” is not the yardstick. It is personal net worth.

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