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Feeling Poor? The Democrats Are Redefining Rich

During last week's Democratic debate, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton said they would not raise taxes on families making $200,000 per year, a.k.a. the middle class. Wait a second . . . $200,000 is middle class?

Considering that the 2006 median income for two-income US households is $76,994, Clinton and Obama took a creative license with the term "middle class. In fact, in Manhattan, only 14.2 percent of households make over $200,000. So, both candidates ultimately pledge no new taxes, except on the very rich.

An article in yesterday's SF Chronicle argues that this makes for bad fiscal policy.

With a realistic view of affluence, there are not enough rich people to close the federal deficit or the pending entitlement crisis - even if a Democrat actually ends the war in Iraq. When Democrats redefine rich to cover only the really, really rich, they make their unrealistic promises all that much more unattainable.

Do you buy that analysis? I'm still caught off guard with the assertion that $200,000 is middle class. Of course, depending on where you live, it can be tough to pay all the bills on $200,000 if you have a mortgage, children, food, and a car — arguable staples of the middle class dream. Should other factors be considered in the definition of "middle class"? Do you think this redefinition is simply political pander, or an indication that the US middle class is disappearing?


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