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Who is the middle class???

Discussion in 'Hangout' started by luvmyhalo, Oct 12, 2008.

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  1. luvmyhalo
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    by luvmyhalo » Oct 12, 2008
    OK, I''ve heard about a billion times that Obama & McCain are going to do this and that for the middle class. I''ve done a bunch of internet searches for who they consider this to be and I can''t get a clear answer. Does anyone know what income bracket they consider to be middle class???
     
  2. strmrdr
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  3. Ellen
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    by Ellen » Oct 12, 2008
    McCain''s is insane. (Obama''s is included in there)
     
  4. E B
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    by E B » Oct 12, 2008
    SDL,

    From Obama's website:

    Middle class families will see their taxes cut – and no family making less than $250,000 will see their taxes increase. The typical middle class family will receive well over $1,000 in tax relief under the Obama plan, and will pay tax rates that are 20% lower than they faced under President Reagan. According to the Tax Policy Center, the Obama plan provides three times as much tax relief for middle class families as the McCain plan.

    Source
     
  5. strmrdr
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    by strmrdr » Oct 12, 2008
    The Candidates Weigh In

    Sen. Barack Obama''s campaign responded directly to those questions posed by CBN News, saying Obama''s middle class tax cut phases out for families around $150,000.

    Sen. Hillary Clinton''s campaign did not respond, but Hodge believes her proposals give some insight into her thinking.

    "As we look at Hillary Clinton''s proposals, she''s tending to look at people earning under $200,000 a year, maybe $250,000 a year," Hodge said.

    As for Sen. John McCain? His campaign also did not respond, but Hodge says to look at his record.

    "If you look at... his support of extending the Bush tax cuts, he seems to have a much broader view of what the middle class is, taking into account cost of living and standards of living across America," Hodge said.

    http://www.cbn.com/CBNnews/359631.aspx
     
  6. E B
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    by E B » Oct 12, 2008
    With all due respect, strm, that answer is about as clear as mud.
     
  7. strmrdr
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    by strmrdr » Oct 12, 2008
    So is Obama''s because it depends on who and where you read.
     
  8. E B
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    by E B » Oct 12, 2008
    What ''neutral'' sources have said otherwise? I''d love links, if you have them.

    (The Christian Broadcasting Network does not count.)
     
  9. neatfreak
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    by neatfreak » Oct 12, 2008
    Not so sure...every time someone has posed that question to Obama he has clearly said that people under $250K won''t see tax increases. I haven''t seen any other number from his camp personally...
     
  10. strmrdr
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    by strmrdr » Oct 12, 2008
    But his plan does not achieve that the bush tax cuts expiring will see to that.
    A $1000 credit does not cover it.
    His plan is impossible to implement with a trillion dollar deficit on Jan first.
    As is McCain's.
    They are both telling people what they want to hear instead of dealing with the problem.
     
  11. UCLABelle
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    by UCLABelle » Oct 12, 2008
    There is no clear answer----I do not think.

    Despite my husband and I making over $100K a year (not a lot in CA, and with grad school loans from Ivy Leagues), I assume we are the middle class---I HOPE THAT 80K mentioned is per person!!!!


    My parents I consider upper-class, as my Dad makes over $250K a year....

    I have my personal ideas (just PERSONAL):

    $30-80K per person is middle to me---
     
  12. icekid
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    by icekid » Oct 12, 2008
    Well, I think we all have our own personal definition of what middle class is to us and in our area. Folks making >$250,000 will be in for a tax increase though. I find it bizarre that there is no differentiation in the tax code between the "working wealthy" and the truly plain wealthy. We're definitely not there yet, but we will be in a few years. And while in most parts of the country, that income would qualify as upper middle class, it's far from "rich." I've worked my rear end off to put myself in a position to provide comfortably for my family and will continue to do so for the rest of my life (not to mention the paltry $250k in school loans I've wracked up). It makes me sick to think about all of the ridiculous things on which the government (repubs AND dems) will waste my hard-earned money.

    ETA- anyone seen this site before? http://www.electiontaxes.com/ I wonder if it's accurate (based on what they SAY they plan for taxes, anyway)
     
  13. UCLABelle
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    by UCLABelle » Oct 12, 2008
    Wow, 250K in loans (I thought my 90K and my husband''s 60K was bad)....
     
  14. jewelerman
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    by jewelerman » Oct 12, 2008
    It varies from state to state....according to university of Utah data ...if you make $35,000 you are middle class...at 45,000 you are starting the climb to upper middle class...
     
  15. jewelerman
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    by jewelerman » Oct 12, 2008
    sorry...those figures are for the state of Utah.
     
  16. Elmorton
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    by Elmorton » Oct 12, 2008
    I think it''s impossible to set a number in this country just because the cost of living varies so widely. But I will say since I live in an area of the country where the cost of living is relatively low but I work with a population of people who struggle to get ahead, I have a really hard time thinking of someone who makes 250k as being middle class.

    When my husband got his first job, he had a heck of a time finding a good apartment since he was living in a place where a starter home would run you about 50k (he did NOT want to buy there, though). Every complex we''d find that looked clean and well-kept ended up being low-income housing. Finally, we inquired what exactly low-income means, and the answer was I think less than 25-26k a year for an individual (I remember because his right-out-of college earnings were barely more than the cut-off). So, I kinda agree with UCLABelle''s figure of 30-80k per person being middle class - though if that 30k is a single parent supporting more than one child, I don''t think I''d consider that middle class anymore.
     
  17. snowflakeluvr
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    by snowflakeluvr » Oct 12, 2008
    we are upper middle(according to the numbers,i guess) but we have a family of seven, two in college, one with a chronic condition(type 1 diabetes) and one still in diapers...so, no matter how one looks at it, if we continue to get taxed and support BIG government(and it''s BIG), our standard/quality of living with drop...

    another thing, when my hubby and i got married out of college in the late 80''s, we got pg right away and also bought our first home, while saddled with student loans. this is when mortgage rates were 10% and up...we NEVER missed a payment of close to 1000 monthly. we had to quickly learn to live on dh''s salary(under 30k) when we decided i''d stay home with our child. i supplemented our household income by babysitting in my home, cleaning for a bachelor friend, driving an old beater. i realize the cost of living has gone way up, but why do people expect to have what others have without working towards it/for it? we are now in our mid 40''s and hubby''s income has really taken off, but we have all these kids(our choice) and if taxed to the hilt, we will struggle more and more(like everyone else i suppose) so what''s the point???
     
  18. katamari
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    by katamari » Oct 12, 2008
    I study social class and inequality and measuring social class is so difficult that there are hundreds of viable explanations.

    If you want to measure class by income, I think the best measure would be between the 40th and 80th percentile family income earners -- you can look at this chart of family income from the Current Population Index and it would be between the second and the fifth income quartiles (with the fourth being upper middle class and the top five being who is at jeopardy for Obama's tax increase).

    This is what both candidates are talking about. As far as what that means, I think that you have to take them on their word for now. But if we ever expect the national debt to get repaid or the budget to get balanced again, it will only happen through taxation. I assume that whoever is elected will have to raise taxes.

    I think that social class can really only be measured by considering occupation, net worth, and education. A more accurate model to consider that might be this:

    gibert.kahl.model.jpg
     
  19. katamari
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    by katamari » Oct 12, 2008
    And, one other thing about class is that it is a aggregate measure. It can never be measured on an individual basis.
     
  20. LAJennifer
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    by LAJennifer » Oct 12, 2008
    I live in an "ok" neighborhood - safe during daylight hours but not after dark. There is a very average, very small house for sale across the street (2 bedroom, 1.5 bath with a pool). The listing price is $1.3 Million.
     
  21. miraclesrule
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    by miraclesrule » Oct 12, 2008
    Wow, according to that chart, I am upper middle class. Trust me, you could never tell that from my house, bank account and assets. I think the middle class is definately an elusive measurement depending on where you live. Although I would totally support the threshold of <250 as middle class. Personally I think if a couple is making 200K, they are upper, upper middle class. Once one get''s into the hundreds of thousands and millions, well, then...one has gone beyond the middle class ceiling...IMO.

    Except for those few exceptions in which a person has been rendered a quadraplegic as a result of a Ford Explorer accident and was awarded a large sum of money that needs to be invested wisely in order to pay for the horrific lifetime medical expenses and care that one needs. So, again, not everyone fits the mold.
     
  22. crown1
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    by crown1 » Oct 13, 2008
    i think you are probably right about the debt only being repaid thru taxation. i have to say this is why the idea of a flat tax really appeals to me. i don''t think loopholes are fair for the top earners and i don''t think that even low earners should not contribute to the cause. we are all in this together and should all do our fair share.
     
  23. katamari
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    by katamari » Oct 13, 2008
    Miracles, I have to respectfully disagree here. If you look at the CPI link, the top 5% of family incomes is below $200,000. The 'middle' cannot include into the top 5% and still be the middle.

    The Gilbert-Kahl chart is a little dated (2001). I looked up a more recent version and the income categories are more inflated, but their upper middle now is around $110,000. I just couldn't find a .jpg of this model.

    The median family (not individual) income in the U.S. is less than $60,000. In general, people just don't make the money we think they do.
     
  24. JSM
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    by JSM » Oct 13, 2008
    Hmmm... as a grad student I make between working poor and working class. I don''t have a lot, but I certainly have enough to eat, have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, cable television, and a computer! I live with my fiance now but I used to live in a one bedroom apartment.

    Maybe it''s because I''ve lived my whole life in the middle of this country, where the costs of living aren''t as high as the coasts, but I think many people now refuse to see just how far their dollar can go. My parents, with a combined income of less than $70k, have managed to own a nice home outside Chicago and raise four children. If I make that much by myself (and I''m working on a PhD, I hope that will be true), I will have more than my parents ever did and imagine I will live very comfortably.

    I think once you hit the 200k mark you''re no longer middle class, at least where I grew up.
     
  25. swimmer
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    by swimmer » Oct 13, 2008
    A fun online tool to see where you rank in the world wealth link

    I like paved roads, good tap water, bridges that don't collapse (often), police, fire, mail, good public schools, sidewalks, National Guard, all branches of the military, libraries, so I pay taxes with a smile. Such a small price to pay for all these wonderful public workers and amazing services. My apologies to those that I forgot!
     
  26. Italiahaircolor
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    by Italiahaircolor » Oct 13, 2008
    A common thread I saw while reading the posts is that no matter what class you find yourself in, in this economy, everyone feels like they are barely scrapping by.
     
  27. Clio
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    by Clio » Oct 13, 2008
    Swimmer, I''m a federal employee, so thank you for such nice words! At least at my agency, we work very hard and we try to get the most out of every dollar because we don''t want to waste taxpayer funds. It can be frustrating sometimes because what I see around me at work does not match the perception that many seem to have about public servants, so I really do appreciate your statement.
     
  28. basil
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    by basil » Oct 13, 2008
    Icekid, we''re in the same position that you and your husband are in, I think. With our 20s completely wasted in terms of savings because of med school and residency, we struggle to put money in our retirement accounts at this most crucial time. Then once we finally start to make a reasonable salary (reasonable considering my $180k in debt and Mr. Basil''s $100k), we''ll be taxed to death on it.

    Now I know it''s hard for people to have sympathy for people making that salary, but when you consider that we''re paying enough on our "brain mortgage" to buy an very nice house in most areas of the country...I know we''ll be comfortable, but it''s going to be a very long time before we''ll be able to do things some "middle class" people take for granted like buy a new car, take a nice vacation, etc.
     
  29. Tuckins1
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    by Tuckins1 » Oct 13, 2008
    Obama''s own campaign has aid that there will be no tax increase on families making less than 250K per year... In fact there will be a tax cut for those making less than that.
     
  30. Haven
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    by Haven » Oct 13, 2008
    I read somewhere that the differentiation between social classes relies not only on income and net worth, but on the level of autonomy that individuals enjoy in their work. That makes the most sense, to me at least.

    This thread reminds me of Dancing Fire''s thread about young professionals. Everyone seems to have a different opinion on what these terms really mean.

    IMO, you are lower middle class if you own a home, earn enough money to pay your bills (meaning NO regular credit card debt), and can take a family vacation here and there. You probably work in lower or middle management, or some other job where you are managed by a boss. You probably have a bachelor''s degree, and maybe a graduate degree. You are upper class if you own a home, earn enough to pay your bills, invest, go on regular vacations, and purchase large-ticket items without charging them. You do not carry debt. You have a bachelor''s degree, and it''s likely that you have a graduate degree, as well. You probably work as a professional with a high degree of autonomy.

    But, then again, these definitions are fluid. My hubby and I both have a lot of autonomy in our careers, but we are certainly not upper middle class. We have a bit of student loan debt and a mortgage on our home, and we don''t invest as much as I would like to.
     
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