Just so we’re clear, none of this stuff will affect the single mom making $250,000 a year with $40,000 of it being investment income? Or the $650,000 a year family of four? Because I don’t want to hurt the average American.
What about someone like me, $490,000 a year from salary, $89,000 from investments, $125,000 a year given to charity?
At the risk of taking the wrath again, COLA makes a huge difference here. I don’t think it’s a good idea comparing someone who makes 10 mil a year to someone who makes 250k. There are areas in this country where 250k might barely make you middle class. Now yes, I know there are McDonald’s there too and those people are ultra screwed but this term rich… it’s used too loosely.
If you want to debate about earned vs investment income, I’m all for that. I think this need to encourage investments is overblown.
I hope the Dems just follow the polling data. You draw the line between “rich enough to tax more” and “middle class” where the voters tell you it is. This is a political question, not a math problem or a moral dilemma.
From the little polling I have seen, it’s $1m+. Warren’s tax on families with $50m in total wealth is also popular. It looks like the public largely draws the line, not at ‘wealthy’ but at ‘really fucking rich.’
In what area is $250k for a household not (well) above the median?
I think the highest median household incomes are 125k.
If you are making 250k, you are doing alright in Loudoun County, VA.
$1M seems pretty damn reasonable to me. That gives a hell of a lot of leeway under $1M for people to get rich and prosper without additional tax. I’m fine with a more aggressive approach too and upping that % taxed at the high end level. The vast wealth that the ultra rich have accumulated is just sickening.
Middle class does not mean makes median income or more.
But where is it “barely middle-class” to make twice the median household income in the richest county in the US? If it is middle-class, a substantial fraction of the population has to have that lifestyle. If you are in the top 10% in a wealthy county, you’re not “barely middle-class”, you’re just not as wealthy as you’d like.
Again, I am not using the median income as a means to determine if someone is middle class.
Also “middle class” may be a bit of an outmoded concept in a society where we are trending strongly towards 1% haves and 99% have-nots.
This could be true. Middle Class was mostly loosely defined too. Have you seen a better or just different model?
There’s a bunch, but they’e all hotly debated. Heck, just the Wiki article alone brings up several;
In Weberian socioeconomic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the working class and upper class. The common measures of what constitutes middle class vary significantly among cultures. One of the narrowest definitions limits it to those in the middle fifth of the nation’s income ladder. A wider characterization includes everyone but the poorest 20% and the wealthiest 20%.
In modern American vernacular usage, the term “middle class” is most often used as a self-description by those persons whom academics and Marxists would otherwise identify as the working class which are below both the upper class and the true middle class, but above those in poverty. This leads to considerable ambiguity over the meaning of the term “middle class” in American usage. Sociologists such as Dennis Gilbert and Joseph Kahl see this American self-described “middle class” (i.e. working class) as the most populous class in the United States.
That’s why some people get rather bent out of shape when someone making six figures describes themselves as middle class; that income level doesn’t match any of the common definitions in the US and therefore makes it seem like they’re “pretenders” even if it’s below average in a given neighborhood.
Well it also doesn’t take into account like student debt which as many, many hear even pointed out, has far outpaced many other things, or the ability to just buy a house, in that city actual city. I mean I get why people don’t like discussing these things and would rather just lump people making 250k in the same ring as those making a million plus a year, but I just can’t do it. And no, I don’t make 250, myself. I am not sure I know anyone who does either.
While I agree it needs a more complicated measure, things like “ability to buy a house” can be laughable when taken to the extremes; someone who can buy a hovel in an overly impoverished neighborhood isn’t better off than someone who has to rent in Manhattan.
Oh, and sorry if my previous comment sounded like a criticism directed at you or anyone. Rather, just an expression of frustration because a common definition among the public could be a great boon toward setting better policy, but it’s so damn elusive.
I didn’t take it that way.
Well yeah, buying a house is a choice. You can rent and be fine or even better off. The thing is, we have industries driven off a certain group of people buying new houses. We encourage home ownership even in out tax system, right or wrong It’s even an economic indicator … and it’s not typically the poor that’s buying those new house permits to build, and we’re not talking about mansions so… it is complicated which I am not taking 250k and some sort of given. Now are they better of than someone making 25k, well of course, and you know what if that person making 25k had a chance to claim the person making 50k is rich because they make twice as much well… yeah they do.
I don’t see how we talk about costs, and flat wages, and housing prices, and student debt and then suddenly the only indicator we use to define the middle class, anywhere, is just the median income, like all those other discussions never happened and don’t matter. That makes no sense.
Fuck me, humans are bad at math.
Yeah. Funny thing was, as a kid I always thought of the rich as what they had instead of what they made. Of course, when I was real young I also thought my parents had to pay their bosses to go work at their jobs; they always talked about how meaningful it was to contribute to society, how good it felt to work, etc. - well, we paid money for these other cool things it just made sense! Yeah, they got a good laugh, too.
The reality is somewhere in between. I wish I had a brilliant economist’s mind to come up with a better mechanism than “I know it when I see it,” because those kinds of judgements—as you pointed out—can easily be wrong just as often as they’re right. Maybe something using the following;
A = income - debt maintenance - base cost of living
B = wealth - total debt
Then some appropriate weighting (likely not linear) for A and B and some kind of plotting algorithm.
You might argue that the middle class is disappearing but I bet a lot of people don’t want to be classified as poor. This is an area where semantics is important.
Invert this, and now that’d be interesting.