“Middle Class”

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Both Democrats and Republicans seem to be trying to capture the hearts and minds of people in the ‘middle class’. Who are these people and families that live in the middle class? What characteristics must a person evince to be a member of the ‘middle class’? There is something about the words ‘MIDDLE CLASS’ when accompanied by hand, arm and fist gestures during a political speech that evokes thoughts of shared pain and suffering. Nearly every political speech uses clauses like ‘boost the middle class’ and ‘lower the taxes for the middle class’.

Millions of workers, when opening their first paychecks of 2013 realized that payroll taxes went up! Politicians don’t warn us about the bad news, they only ‘promise’ the good news. It is a fact that no country, including the USA, can operate without taxing everyone that has income. Everyone. It is likewise a fact that for those that don’t work, the benefits they receive are available only because the government has extracted earnings from those who work.

According to NELP (National Employment Insurance Project), the definition of middle class is someone who is paid between $13.84 and $21.13 per hour. These wages turn out to be $28,787 and $43,950 a year. The problem with this definition is that it measures only what a person is paid, not how much is kept (saved, invested). Hourly workers at the Medium Three (formerly the ‘Big Three’) automakers in the Detroit area make $46 to $57 per hour ($95,680 to $118,560 per year) and are probably voting members of the middle class. Many people that are small business entrepreneurs with modest earnings consider themselves ‘middle class’.

The ‘middle class’ must include most government workers (including police, fire/EMS), union members, skilled workers (machinists, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, painters) and most other people that work. And many that don’t work considering that the most recent government reports indicate that in 2009 there were 154,142,000 in the workforce, 139,877,000 employed but only 138,950,000 filed federal income taxes. What happened to the 977,000 who didn’t file and presumably did not pay income taxes? What is the source of sustenance for the 14,265,000 people that are in the workforce but unemployed?

There is no definitive financial, social, religious or occupational profile of a ‘middle class’ person. It may be that the middle class consists of many unhappy workers that feel they have been passed over on the ladder to affluence and good fortune by business and government.

Are politicians simply reaching out to self-proclaimed ‘middle class voters’ that are eager to hear how someone will help them rise above the perceived hardships they must endure?  The expression ‘middle class’ may be simply a political ploy to pull as many voters into their propaganda smokescreen as possible. According to the NTU (National Taxpayers Union) using IRS data, the top 1% of taxpayers pay about 37% of federal income taxes and the top 5% pay about 58% while the bottom 47% pay zero taxes. So, how many people comprise the ‘middle class’ in the USA? Using figures provided by government, if 15% are SNAP (food stamp) recipients and 1% are ‘rich’, and there are 229,690,000 qualified voters, the ‘middle class’ must be comprised of about 193,000,000 voters.

Is it possible that government leaders visualize nearly all of us eventually being voting members of the middle class? Tax the rich (the job creators) until it hurts and turn those assets over to the poor (recipients of food stamps, housing assistance, free cell phones, student loans, preschool assistance, healthcare and retirement benefits) until they feel good? That makes us a true monolithic ‘middle class’! The name of that subterfuge is ‘Socialism’.

by Dick Baynton