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SPIN METER: 'Middle class' turns fuzzy in politics

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-19-12 02:35 AM
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SPIN METER: 'Middle class' turns fuzzy in politics
I have been posting about this and related issues for a while.

FYI: "The median income for all 233 million persons {in the United States} over the age of 15 was $28,567." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Average_Joe And that is gross income, folks. See also, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_class_in_the_United...

As you know, "median" is more informative than "average." However, even in arriving at a median, you have take into account to some degree the ridiculously high annual incomes of the likes of Gates and Buffet.

Also FYI: according to polls taken in the U.S., over 20% of those polled believe themselves to be in the top 1%.

IMO, politicians of both major parties use "middle class" as an implied exclusion of the poor at least as much as they use it as an implied exclusion of the 1%.


Jul 18, 9:34 PM EDT

SPIN METER: 'Middle class' turns fuzzy in politics

By HOPE YEN
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In a recent speech, President Barack Obama referred to the "middle class" 14 times, defining it as a family that makes up to $250,000 a year. Republican challenger Mitt Romney has looked at it from the other direction, saying that someone who falls into poverty "is still middle class."


<snip>

If anything, a slew of economic data suggests a middle class that's actually shrinking. Mid-wage manufacturing and other jobs are disappearing due to automation and outsourcing, while lower-income positions and poverty spike higher. The White House's chief economist, Alan Krueger, said in January that the middle class fell from 50 percent of U.S. households in 1970 to 42 percent in 2010, as more families moved to the extreme ends of income distribution.

<snip>


"Politicians love to use the term, because it's vague and connotes an image of regular American people." said Dennis Gilbert, a sociology professor at Hamilton College and author of "The American Class Structure in an Age of Growing Inequality." He said, the varying uses of "middle class" on the campaign trail are "dishonest, and it's absurd."

In recent months, the phrase has been popping up with increased frequency. Referring to the election as a "make-or-break" moment for the middle class, Obama used the term repeatedly in his July 9 speech calling for an extension of "middle-class" tax breaks for families making less than $250,000, or $200,000 for individuals - basically everyone but the top 2 percent. He mentioned the phrase seven times at a fundraiser Tuesday in San Antonio.

Romney has suggested that the upper bounds of the middle class include families earning $200,000. He's pushing an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for everyone, including the wealthiest 2 percent. Romney's campaign seeks to highlight a weak economy that he says is a "kick in the gut to the middle class," with a new video this week attacking what he calls an Obama record of "political payoffs and middle-class layoffs."


http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_DEFINING_MIDD...
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