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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?


Join The Conversation
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
not to say that I hate life - I love life... I just don't get people who all they want to do is complain. I hate the "us against them" mentality.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
I couldn't agree with this more: Sometimes it is very apparent that people just want something from the other team to complain about. and it goes for both sides -it's what I hate most about politics, and religion, and education, and oh heck well EVERYTHING, life in general.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Ha! It should have read "Oh and IF Fred Thompson never existed"
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Jill, I was never a true McCain supporter. I am actually a HUGE Fred Thompson fan. If Ron Paul had a different foreign policy plan, and did not come off so crazy I probably would fall under Paul supporter. Oh and Fred Thompson never existed ;)
Jillness Jillness 9 years
It sounds like you lean more Ron Paul than McCain, Cine!
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Thats a good point cine. If all Republicans loved him, his approval rating would be much higher...
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
One more thing. If the Republican party was not fed up with this administration don't you think that Bush would have a much higher approval rating?
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
"I find it interesting that the conservatives aren't more upset with how their own party has let them down for the past 8 years." Jill, most Conservatives are very upset about how and what Republicans have been doing to the party, and a lot of it has to do with economics. But just because we are upset, does not mean we are going to give up and go completely against our political beliefs. lula, it is not just welfare I am against, and to make it clear I am against much of what the Republican party has been spending money on, I am against the unconstitutional spending, such as public schools. So, it is an all around problem for me. And I want to make it known, that I do NOT agree with much of what Bush and the Republican party has become. They are no where near as Conservative as I am. I believe the main function of the federal government should be security of a our nation, and the rest should be left to the states and individuals. So it is not really against Obama OR Hilary as much as we have very different political views.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
lula i see what you mean, but there are a lot of people who don't see this war as a frivolous expense, so thats what i mean by it boiling down to party differences in a lot of ways
lula29 lula29 9 years
But isn't the war what's sucking us most dry, to where we aren't investing in our own infrastructure and security? The argument about social programs is a throw over from the '80s when things like welfare ruled. They don't, and I don't here any Dem today suggesting we go back to that, so I think people need to move on from that argument and start taking a hard look at the true waste that's currently taxing our system.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Most of the conservatives I know are upset about recent spending, but, and I'll speak for myself, if most of the spending has been on homeland security and the war, then it doesn't bother me as much. Though I agree we need to reel in our spending, I don't see Obama doing that and I can see McCain doing it because thats been his platform forever... Actually, yes, I guess Obama would cut spending, but I would assume that the majority of that would be via bringing the troops home, which I think is not a good cut to make... So... once again, it goes back to party differences.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I think it is flawed for a person (not anyone specifically) to suggest that Obama is just going to spend more. He will be cutting spending as well in many areas. For example, right now our own government plans, Medicaid and Medicare, can not buy many generic drugs for the people getting the benefit. Our government has passed legislation forcing OURSELVES, to pay more for these drugs...the only reason I can see would be to help drug companies. Like the No-Bid contracts, our own legislation has been costing the taxpayers billions more dollars. I find it interesting that the conservatives aren't more upset with how their own party has let them down for the past 8 years. The spending has been wasteful and out of control!
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
:coffeecup: I love IT! Thanks Syako. ;)
avneetks avneetks 9 years
One comment came to mind: What. The. Eff.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
I'm sure the middle class will be happy to know that they're going to be earning $200,000!
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
"You can not cut spending enough to make up for the overspending that has occured during the past 8 years. It is not mathematically possible, unless you stop funding it all: wars, bridges, teachers, fire departments, police, etc. We are in trillions of dollars of debt!" I think cutting spending is the first step, not adding more programs or even keeping the ones we have, pay as you go or not.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
You can not cut spending enough to make up for the overspending that has occured during the past 8 years. It is not mathematically possible, unless you stop funding it all: wars, bridges, teachers, fire departments, police, etc. We are in trillions of dollars of debt!
syako syako 9 years
I obviously wasn't referring to roads and bridges. And McCain wants to CUT SPENDING as well as not increasing taxes. "The truth is, in order to get things like universal health care and a revamped education system, then someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more." - Michelle Obama
Jillness Jillness 9 years
This might help answer your question too, Cine... Some of his ideas are private based. I know that he is starting a "fellowship" program, to train volunteers to go into poverty stricken neighborhoods. He is basing it on the work he did as a community organizer, and his campaign is training people to go into these neighborhoods and help them with out costing the government a thing. There are even volunteers who will house the "fellows' while they do their work. Making a difference without spending government money!
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Sorry Jillness, I did not mean to be confusing. I think it is a good theory, if I believed in even 20% of federal programs, but I don't. But I think for a Democratic view, it could work. If that makes any sense. I will have to look into it more, but my computer is acting stupid. "Do private funds usually pay for Federal programs?" Most Federal programs should be private or state programs, that is why I was wondering if he would switch them over to private programs.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
Cine, I believe that it would be federal money for federal programs. Like if he can't get the money to pay for the bridge repairs, they won't get repaired and will just be closed. Do private funds usually pay for Federal programs? I am kind of confused by your question. I might be missing something.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I think it is just a random assumption to suggest that couldn't possibly put forth programs that we could afford. John McCain doesn't want to increase taxes, so it makes me wonder where statements like this come from, "only taxing the "super" rich you won't make nearly enough to fund all the socialistic programs Obama and Clinton want." (Yes, because things like roads and bridges are sooooo socialistic) Where is John McCain going to get the money to cover even basic expenses? We are in trillions of dollars of debt, and the war costs 50 billion every 2 months. What will he do to even cover the war alone? His plans seem very unrealistic to me, especially with Social Security collapsing. His math makes no sense at all.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Um...Can someone fill me in on this Pay as you Go, and tell me if the money is federally funded or from private funds? My search engine is not working well right now and I can't research it.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
No my point with it not being realistic is that it seems like he tries to appear impervious to the political pressures of the white house, and he certainly isn't. So can he really stick to his guns and not put forth a program we can't afford? Probably not, he'll find the funding for it through back handed deals like everyone else...
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"I think its great that he believes in the pay-go system, but is that really realistic?" To work towards anything less would be embracing the Credit addiction that Americans and their government have right now. I think it is less realistic to think that we can continue to spend beyond our means without serious consequences.
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