Here’s how much you need to earn to be in the 1%

  • To be in the top 1% of income earners in the U.S. requires annual adjusted gross earnings of least $ 515,371, the IRS says. 
  • The top 50% of all U.S. taxpayers earn at least $ 41,740, or about 4.1% more than the prior year.
  • The richest Americans, or top 0.001%, have annual income of least $ 63.4 million.    

The rich are getting richer in the U.S., which means that anyone determined to stay in the top 1% of income earners needs to make more money — and make it fast. The minimum for entry into the 1% club in 2017: $ 515,371, up 7.2% from the prior year, according to the most recent IRS data. About 1.4 million taxpayers earned at least that amount.

The uber-rich, or top 0.001% (the highest income group identified by the IRS data), you need annual income of least $ 63.4 million.  

The wealthiest Americans are enjoying strong income growth partly thanks to 2017’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which lowered tax rates on corporate income. The law also gave a 20% deduction on income earned by partnerships and other types of businesses, which also helped many well-heeled taxpayers. Partly as a result, the gap between America’s richest and poorest citizens is the widest it’s been in at least 50 years, according to Census data released last month.   

New economic research has found that the new tax law resulted in a sharp reduction in taxes for the 400 wealthiest Americans. Factoring in all federal, state and local taxes, those ultra-wealthy households pay a total tax rate of about 23%, compared with 24.2% for the bottom half of households, which includes many in the middle class, according to economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman of the University of California at Berkeley.

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As the two lay out in their new book, “The Triumph of Injustice,” the richest families also pay a lower rate than those in the upper middle class and even those in the top 1%, who pay closer to 30% of their income in taxes.

Income inequality is causing poor and middle-class kids to drop out of sports

Reducing inequality is at the center of many Democratic presidential candidates’ platforms, with senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both proposing wealth taxes for taxpayers with multi-million dollar estates. The tax revenue would be directed toward funding social programs such as free college tuition and universal health care. 

Tom Steyer, a billionaire who is running for president, said at Tuesday’s debate that he also backs a wealth tax. “I would undo every Republican tax cut for rich people and major corporations,” he said. “90% of Americans have not had a raise for 40 years.”

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Astros star Carlos Correa dedicates home run to fan with cancer

In the midst of the ALCS, Houston Astros star Carlos Correa made time to visit a teen battling cancer in the hospital and made a promise that filled him with hope. Correa and his fiance, former Miss Texas USA, Daniella Rodriguez, met 16-year-old Jalen Garcia Friday at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, CBS Houston reports

The teen went viral last week after his high school football team traveled some 350 miles from Laredo, Texas to see him.

Garcia was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma when he was in the 8th grade, forcing him to stop playing football, his mom told CBS News. However, the football team still treated him like a player.

So, three years later, his former teammates, who are now in high school, paid Garcia a visit and honored him by retiring his number 42 jersey.

Rodriguez is from Laredo and went to that same high school. After hearing about Garcia, she was compelled to visit him in Houston, too. She and Correa saw Garcia just hours before the MLB star battled the Yankees at Minute Maid Park.

“Nothing else in this world is as rewarding as this,” Rodriguez wrote on Instagram, sharing several photos of herself and Correa with Garcia. 

“As soon as I heard about Jalen being in Houston I made sure we did everything possible to meet him. You are our hero Jalen! Keep fighting we’re right behind you cheering you on thank you,” she wrote.

Rodriguez also shared what Correa told Garcia during their visit: “Next home run I hit will be for you… when you see me pointing, I’ll be pointing at you.”

The visit from his football team lifted Garcia’s spirits, his mom told CBS News. And Correa’s visit gave him something great to look forward to.

And sure enough, Correa hit a walk-off home run in the 11th inning of Sunday night’s game, leading the Astros to a 3-2 win against the Yankees and tying the series at one game apiece. The stadium of fans went wild as Correa led the Astros to victory — but Garcia knew that run was for him.

And of course, Correa pointed to the sky, keeping his promise to the teen. 

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Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros reacts after hitting a walk-off solo home run in the 11th inning in game two of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees at Minute Maid Park on October 13, 2019 in Houston, Texas. / Getty Images

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5.6 pound avocado in Hawaii wins Guinness World Records title

A 5.6-pound Hawaiian avocado has earned the Guinness World Records title for the world’s heaviest avocado. Now that’s a lot of guacamole. 

The Pokini family, who live on the island of Maui, received the certificate from Guinness this week, according to The Maui News. Guinness officials said the average avocado weighs just 6 ounces — a fraction of the size of the new world record holder. 

“It was just for fun,” Juliane Pokini said. “We are showing the world that Hawaii produces record-setting avocados.”

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Mark Pokini planted his family’s avocado tree when his son was born more than 10 years ago. The tree started as a seed from his brother-in-law’s 50-year-old tree on Oahu, but has grown to be 20 feet tall, he said. 

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The Pokini family poses with their giant avocado.  Guinness World Records

Mark and Juliane Pokini and their son Loihi knew they had something special when they saw the size of their avocados. They applied back in December for the world record, going through a rigorous verification process before receiving the title. 

This is the family’s second attempt at claiming the title for world’s heaviest avocado. Unfortunately, their first failed to meet all of the requirements, which include input from a certified horticulturist, witness testimonials, weighing using a state-certified scale, photographs and video footage.

This time around, the family was ready. They gathered a team of people and the proper tools as the avocado grew in size, documenting it over time. 

They did not water or fertilize the tree, instead opting to “kind of just leave it alone,” Juliane said.

The wait was worth it. According to the family, it made enough guacamole to feed all of their family and friends. 

“We were excited,” Juliane Pokini said. “But at the same time, we were like, finally. It was such a long wait.”

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Record-breaking heat threatens southern crops

St. George, South Carolina — A rare October heatwave in the Southeast and Midwest pushed into the Northeast Wednesday and sent temperatures soaring. Records were broken in 164 cities Wednesday as nearly half the country had temperatures above 90.

St. Georgia, South Carolina, is now in the grips of a flash drought, brought on by extreme heat and no rain. To see the effects, CBS News flew a drone over a cornfield. Stanley Gruber said his insurance agent told him his corn crop is a total loss. 

“I mean there’s no ears here,” he said. 
 
Temperatures reached the mid-90s in St. George. On average in the month of October, it would usually be in the mid-70s. 
 
This is the first time in 50 years that Gruber won’t make any money on his corn crop.

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David Begnaud with Stanley Gruber. CBS News

“I’m starting to pay attention to some of this climate change they are talking about,” he said. “Now if you don’t have irrigation, you can’t grow anything,” he said.
 
The heat will break for much of the country on Friday, but in the South, it will not only stay hot, but dry.
 

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Dallas man allegedly kills burglar then heads back to bed

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This booking photo, provided Sunday, September 29, 2019, by the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, shows James Michael Meyer, 72, of Dallas, charged with murder in the fatal shooting early Thursday, September 26, of a man that police say Meyer reported as a burglary. Dallas County Sheriff’s Office

One man’s shot in the dark last week turned into a fatal situation. James Michael Meyer, a 72-year-old man from Dallas, Texas, has been charged with murder after authorities said he fatally shot a suspected robber at his home and headed back to bed before reporting the incident two hours later.

According to The Associated Press, Meyer claims he woke up around 5 a.m. Thursday to the sounds of someone breaking into a storage shed in his backyard with a pickax. The arrest warrant affidavit states that Meyer went outside — shotgun in hand — and yelled at the suspected burglar to stop what he was doing or else Meyer would shoot. 

Meyer said he fired his gun when the burglar allegedly moved toward him. The burglar then ran toward a park behind the home, dropping his pickax in the process. Meyer said he then fired another shot “into the night.” He claims he did not know that he shot the burglar when he returned to bed following the incident. 

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Upon waking up at around 7 a.m., Meyer thought he saw a “black bag” in the park and discovered soon after that the shape was the body of the alleged robber. He and his wife called an attorney for advice before reporting what happened to 911. Police found the alleged robber face down with a gunshot wound on the back of his neck, according to CBS Dallas/Fort Worth. The man was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Meyer was arrested Friday and is being held on $ 150,000 bail.

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GM will cover striking workers’ health care after all

General Motors says the company will now pay for striking workers’ health insurance, nine days after saying coverage would be cut off.

In an email to the United Auto Workers union, GM said that it will keep benefits in place due to what it called significant confusion among members. The letter says employee health and well-being are GM’s top priorities.

“GM has chosen to work with our providers to keep all benefits fully in place for striking hourly employees, so they have no disruption to their medical care, including vision, prescription and dental coverage,” the letter says.

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After the strike began on September 16, the company said it would end benefits, to the fury of workers and politicians alike.

It’s standard procedure for health care costs to shift to the union in a strike. The United Auto Workers’ website says the union would pick up the cost of premiums.

Jason Kaplan, a spokesperson with the UAW, painted the company’s turnaround as a victory: “General Motors thought they could leverage healthcare for tens of thousands of UAW GM workers to force the union to concede to unfair concessions. The only thing GM gained was a tarnished reputation,” he said in a statement.

The strike by about 49,000 factory workers has shut down production at more than 30 GM factories. Talks continued Thursday.

The company’s health benefits had been one of the major areas of discussion before the strike. GM spends about $ 900 million on health benefits for the roughly 49,000 hourly employees and their 69,000 dependents, the company has previously stated.

GM’s initial offer had called for workers to cover 15% of their health costs, well beneath the national average of 28% but about five times higher than the 3% to 4% that autoworkers now pay, according to Automotive News, which cited sources familiar with the talks. 

The UAW balked at the proposal, prompting GM to step back and offer to maintain the status quo, the industry publication reported.

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Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg at U.N.: “How dare you!”

Climate activist Greta Thunberg spoke at the United Nations Climate Action Summit on Monday, where she scolded world leaders for failing to address climate change. The 16-year-old has become one of the leading voices for a generation confronting the consequences of a warmer planet.

“People are suffering. People are dying and dying ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is the money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth,” she said Monday, as she fought back tears. “How dare you! For more than 30 years the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.”

Thunberg recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of the start of her climate change movement. Last August, she began striking by herself outside the Swedish parliament, and soon, students around the world began walking out of school, demanding action from their governments. She’s been called “the voice of the planet,” and has even been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here,” said Thunberg, whose lone protest culminated in Friday’s global climate strikes. “I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you have come to us young people for hope. How dare you.” 

She told the U.N. that even the strictest emission cuts being talked about only gives the world a 50% chance of limiting future warming to another 0.4 degrees Celsius (0.72 degrees Fahrenheit) from now, which is a global goal. Those odds are not good enough, she said.

“We will not let you get away with this,” Thunberg said. “Right now is where we draw the line.”

Environmentalists have grown increasingly alarmed over warming trends that have exceeded scientists’ models. For instance, a climate study in January showed the world’s oceans are warming significantly faster than previously thought. Since 1970, the ocean has warmed 40% more than previous estimates.

The U.N. noted on its website that global emissions “are reaching record levels and show no sign of peaking,” and that the last four years were the the hottest recorded.” And that change, the U.N. said, is beginning to have a “life-threatening impact” as it brings more air pollution, heatwaves and greater risk to food security. 

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Environmental activist Greta Thunberg, of Sweden, addresses the Climate Action Summit in the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. AP

An emotional Thunberg sat in front of the General Assembly and plainly told those in attendance, “You have stolen my dreams.”

“How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” she said. “You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that, because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil and that I refuse to believe.” 

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1-pound baby home after 113 days in NICU

“Fighting Finn” Hill is not a boxer, but he has immeasurable strength that would impress any heavyweight champ. Fighting Finn is about four months old and when he was born, he weighed barely a pound. The preemie spent over 100 days in the NICU at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando – and after a long battle, he’s finally coming home.

Finn’s parents, Jessica and Chris Hill, posted a video of their tiny son on Facebook the day he finally left the hospital. He wore a Georgia Bulldogs gear and boxing gloves. Finn was a vision of strength – but the journey up until that point was not easy.

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“Fighting Finn” Hill was his parents’ miracle baby for many reasons – he was conceived via embryo adoption, and born 15 weeks early. “Fighting Finn”

In fact, the Hill family’s journey wasn’t easy even before Finn was brought into the world. The couple struggled with infertility for “nine long emotional years,” according to a GoFundMe page dedicated to their family.

They almost gave up, then found a new option: Adopting an embryo. They adopted two embryos from a family and transferred them on December 19th, 2018. Though they lost one of the babies’ heartbeats, Jessica soon became pregnant with a son.

Throughout her miracle pregnancy, Jessica dealt with a worrisome large blood clot. Her water broke unexpectedly on May 21 and she gave birth to her extremely premature son.

Finn was brought into the world at 7:36 p.m. – weighing only 1 lb and 2 oz. He was born at just at 24 weeks and 4 days. His footprints were smaller than a penny and he had a compromised immune system.

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Finn had push through several complications including heart surgery, but the little fighter made it through. Fighting Finn

But Finn was a fighter. His parents even created a Facebook page “Fighting Finn” to keep friends and relatives updated on his progress. The Hills captured miraculous milestones —  like the first time Finn opened his eyes — and a surgery to close a hole in his heart. 

It was a slow and steady race, but Finn finally won on September 10 when, after 113 days in the NICU, he was able to go home. Finn already has his first doctor’s appointment and his mom says his checkup went great. 

The “Fighting Finn” Facebook page continues to be updated with news about the Hill’s son. His recent hurdle: acid reflux. But that’s common for babies, so it seems like the worst may be behind him.

And we are out! We cannot thank the staff at Nemours enough for caring for our boy for a long 3 months. The staff is top notch! The Lord truly heard our cry and healed our boy! Praise God for Finn’s life! He truly has mighty plans for him 🙌🏼💙

Posted by Fighting Finn on Tuesday, September 10, 2019

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