JIM CREES: So, what’s your “middle class”?
What I’d really like to know is ... Where exactly am I living, and where do our elected representatives most and most politicians live?
Is it the same country?
I mean ...seriously.
Are these folks totally disconnected from reality? Do they have any attachment whatsoever to the country in which they live other than through the fawning sycophants who surround them?
Recently, presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney suggested the middle class was made up of people who basically made less than $250,000 or $200,000 per year.
In other words, middle class people in these United States earn up to $250,000.
Frankly, Mr. Obama is not much more ‘connected.’ The president while discussing Bush era tax cuts has also stated that the $200,000-250,000 range is the upper end of “middle class.”
I want to live where these guys live, ‘cause they certainly don’t live where I do. In fact, they apparently don’t live where most people live - people they hope will vote for them.
In a recent Washington Post article it was noted that even economists such as Harvard’s Martin Feldstein think the upper end cutoff for “middle class” would be in the $100,000 range. The article went on to point out that by the Romney-Obama definitions of “middle class” folks edging upward out of the “middle class” make an average of $426,271 as they moved up the ladder.
This is simply bizarre.
Under the absolute best of circumstances, the Federal Register, (the daily journal of the U.S. government), reports the median income for a family of four in Michigan as $72,937. That’s almost $130,000 lower than what the guys running for president believe “middle class” American’s earn.
CNN figures the median income to be $50,054.
Do they, either of them, Romney or Obama, really think a “middle class” income is “$250,000 or less” or “$200,000 or less” for that matter.
Key word here: LESS.
Maybe out on Long Island. Maybe in 91210.
But not in the real world.
Look, according to CNN Money, “The top 1 percent saw their income grow by 6 percent in 2011, while the highest quintile of earners gained 1.6 percent, according to U.S. Census. But the middle 60 percent of Americans lost ground, falling between 1.6 percent and 1.9 percent. The poorest Americans did not see a significant change.”
Let’s review ...
“The top 1 percent saw their income grow by 6 percent in 2011...” That certainly includes both Obama and Romney, and arguably most members of Congress.
“ But the middle 60 percent of Americans lost ground, falling between 1.6 percent and 1.9 percent ...” That means virtually everyone else, or at least those who have jobs.
The “middle class” regardless of what the median annual income for a family of four actually is, lost money last year, and continue to do so this year ...at a faster rate.
So, no matter how you define “middle class,” (even if you’re foolish enough to consider a quarter-million dollars a year as “middle class”), the largest majority of American bread winners are losing money while the guys setting policy and vying for your vote, (both of ‘em), are doing pretty dang good, thank you very much.
At the same time, “The poorest Americans did not see a significant change.”
Except what they don’t fully explain is that the number of “poorest Americans” has increased dramatically.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury ...
Politicians have always kinda fudged the numbers to make the other guy look bad. This time, however, they both, (or all), end up looking bad.
To sit there bald faced and tell the American public, or at least the folks with whom I live, that “middle class” can even conceptually include someone making $250,000, (or $200,000), is pretty ...offensive.
Both Romney and Obama showed their true colors with those comments.
I know who my friends and neighbors are and how they work and live.
It has nothing to do with $250,000.
They work hard, and lose money.
On the other hand, the two presidential candidates know who their “friends and neighbors” are as well.
You need to be in a totally different league if you think “middle class” is in the $250,000 range.
It’s not my league. Frankly, it’s not the league of anyone I know.
The rest of us ...
Well, I can only speak for myself.
I’m still a little ways off the $200,000 or $250,000 per year.
I hope to reach that mark ...soon.
But truth be known, I’m not holding my breath.