U.S. President Obama’s plan to apply a “Buffett tax” has been widely described as a millionaire tax. But it doesn’t apply to those who have a net worth of a million dollars; it only kicks in for those whose income is a million dollars per year. These are two very different things.
According to Wikipedia and U.S. census information, one out of every 11 U.S. households has a net worth of a million dollars or more. However, only 1 out of every 230 households has $30 million or more, which is closer to the wealth level needed to generate a million dollars in income per year.
Coming back to Canada, many government workers retire with a pension worth more than a million dollars, but I’m sure that most of them would say they aren’t rich. We’re used to thinking of millionaires as wealthy people, but those who have just $1 million in total assets between a house and retirement savings are quite ordinary.
It is very likely that you routinely meet millionaires, but you may not often come across people whose income is a million dollars per year. Most millionaires live in ordinary neighbourhoods, but the truly wealthy can afford to live in better places than the rest of us.