Facing the Nation

Nancy Pelosi appeared on the television show “Face the Nation” over the weekend. Her overriding concern seemed to be all about protecting the “middle class.” This sounded pretty good and it led to the questions: Who are we protecting? Who belongs to the middle class?
Nancy Pelosi
We asked public labor union activist Carter Bundy last week if the “middle class” paid income taxes. He became evasive. Eventually Bundy dodged the question. When pressed for an answer, he suggested that the middle class supports the Medicare and Social Security programs. This is true. But since everyone with earned income pays into those programs, it did not help us define exactly what is meant to be part of the “middle class.”
Carl Jacobi
Carl Jacobi liked to invert tough questions. If we do not know who the “middle class” is, perhaps it would be easier to figure out who the middle class isn’t. Any household that is so indigent in our society that we do not require that household to contribute a dime to the costs of government should NOT be designated as “middle class.” It’s pretty simple. Middle class American households contribute taxes to help fund all of the necessities government provides.
We consulted The National Taxpayers Union to get some simple statistics on who pays federal income taxes. As of 2009, the median (50 percentile) household in the U.S. does not pay any federal income taxes, which means half the nation does not qualify for middle class status.
Within the remaining group of taxpaying households in America:
(1) The lower half of the taxpaying households in the U.S. contributes 13.66% of all federal income taxes collected.
(2) The upper half of all households that pay income taxes accounts for 86.34% of all federal income tax collections.
The next time you hear someone (a politician) talking about “protecting the middle class” it is important to know half of all American households are already PROTECTED from bearing a nickel of the nation’s federal income tax burden. And it is also important to know that of those household that are not “protected” from the burden of federal income taxes, the lower half bears a small fraction of the burden and the upper half carries nearly 90% of the burden. Now that we know who the middle class is and how much protection they are receiving, perhaps defining who the “rich” are, isn’t going to be all that necessary.



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