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There's A Debate About Whether People Earning $180,000 A Year Are "Rich"

Well, are they?

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This story begins with the 2014 budget, when the federal government applied a temporary 2% tax on Australians earning over $180,000.

Lukas Coch / AAPIMAGE

It was called the "deficit levy", and the treasurer at the time, Joe Hockey, argued that with the nation's bank account billions of dollars in the red, the country needed a temporary tax on the rich.

Fast forward to 2017 and the "deficit levy" is about to expire on July 1.

Labor is AGAINST removing the deficit levy, arguing that it's essentially green lighting a tax cut for "millionaires".

Sean Davey / AAPIMAGE

But there's been some confusion recently about whether someone on $180,000 a year should be considered "rich".

Last year Labor leader Bill Shorten was asked about it by Neil Mitchell on radio 3AW...

MITCHELL: What level do you look at though, that's why it comes down to what is rich? Is $180,000 a year rich?

SHORTEN: No it's not, but what I would say to you is that if you have $5 million in superannuation and retirement you probably don't need the rest of the taxpayers stuck in the traffic this morning paying for you to get a tax concession.

In parliament on Monday Labor goaded prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who snapped at Shorten, calling his new position "hypocrisy".

Would you call Australians on $180,000/year "rich"?

Some people thought that an INDIVIDUAL would be rich on that amount money. But not a household.

@MarkDiStef individuals or households? Individuals; absolutely. Households; no.

Many thought the "rich" definition would depend on where you're pocketing that $180,000.

@MarkDiStef If I lived in Camooweal, I'd be rich. If I lived in central Sydney and had three kids ...

The average income in Australia is about $80,000. But that is obviously skewed by the mega millionaires raking in the cash.

@MarkDiStef Yes, but I would also not be surprised to learn they had no money spare each pay cycle

Last time this question came up The Guardian's economics guru Greg Jericho crunched some numbers and found the MEDIAN taxable income for a single person is about $50,000 per year.

@MarkDiStef well off, yes. Not rich.

We can all agree that $180,000 is a lot more than someone on welfare benefits receives.

@MarkDiStef @NannanBay If you're on $13,000 Newstart, well then $180,000 is unbelievably rich.

And many people suggested the "rich" part of the equation really depends on how much people SPEND.

@MarkDiStef Income + Wealth are related, but not synonymous. Someone earning $180Kpa may have saved a million or pissed it away. Ditto $80K.

Yes, "lifestyle choices" are a factor.

@MarkDiStef If your family brings in $180k you are doing well. If u are still broke then u need 2 look at your lifestyle choices.

  1. So we'd like to know: Would you call a fellow Australian on $180,000 per year "rich"?

    Pfffft of course
    Pfffft of course
    Nah, it's tough out there
    Nah, it's tough out there
    I will not play your silly semantic game
    I will not play your silly semantic game
    Money can't make someone
    Money can't make someone "rich", only friends and family can do that

There's A Debate About Whether People Earning $180,000 A Year Are "Rich"

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So we'd like to know: Would you call a fellow Australian on $180,000 per year "rich"?
  1. Pfffft of course
     
    vote votes
    Pfffft of course
  2. Nah, it's tough out there
     
    vote votes
    Nah, it's tough out there
  3. I will not play your silly semantic game
     
    vote votes
    I will not play your silly semantic game
  4. Money can't make someone
     
    vote votes
    Money can't make someone "rich", only friends and family can do that

Mark Di Stefano is a political editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Mark Di Stefano at mark.distefano@buzzfeed.com.

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