Author Topic: Define "middle class"  (Read 1014 times)

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Offline John_5_24

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Define "middle class"
« on: September 16, 2008, 11:17:01 AM »
What is the "middle class"??  When we hear politicians talk about the "middle class", what are they talking about?  Is there a certain income level that defines middle class?  If so, what is it?   If you want to offer a non quantitative definition, that's fine too.


Rom 8:28  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Offline GGBW

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Re: Define "middle class"
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2008, 11:52:32 AM »
Depends on the income levels in the area you live, doesn't it.  It doesn't cost the same to live everywhere...someone considered "middle income" in Amarillo Texas may be dirt poor in Manhattan.

Statistically, they use different variables (indirect) that point to whether we can predict a household is "middle income", i.e., level of education, number of children, even average property taxes of the zip code one lives in.  It is not an exact science precisely because statistical validity of defining income classes is messy and subject to an economist's decision on which variables to account for, and which to exclude.

Generally, I think when an economist studies "middle class" they refer to the purchasing power of the individual/household, as compared to average standard living wages of the area.  Oddly, this tends to be more of a sociological issue sometimes than an economic one.

Offline David

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Re: Define "middle class"
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2008, 12:55:38 PM »
The threshold for middle class is when you can pay your mortgage and buy a big screen TV. As soon as you can afford that S550 you're upper class.
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Re: Define "middle class"
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2008, 12:55:38 PM »

Offline John_5_24

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Re: Define "middle class"
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2008, 12:57:46 PM »
Depends on the income levels in the area you live, doesn't it.  It doesn't cost the same to live everywhere...someone considered "middle income" in Amarillo Texas may be dirt poor in Manhattan.

Statistically, they use different variables (indirect) that point to whether we can predict a household is "middle income", i.e., level of education, number of children, even average property taxes of the zip code one lives in.  It is not an exact science precisely because statistical validity of defining income classes is messy and subject to an economist's decision on which variables to account for, and which to exclude.

Generally, I think when an economist studies "middle class" they refer to the purchasing power of the individual/household, as compared to average standard living wages of the area.  Oddly, this tends to be more of a sociological issue sometimes than an economic one.
All that said, and I take no issue with it, our federal policies do now make for the same allowances you do.  For instance, we have a tax system which taxes people at certain income levels regardless of the cost of living.

So, when Obama/McCain talk about cutting taxes for the "middle class" what is the income level they are talking about?  I guess I was looking more quantitatively.
Rom 8:28  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Offline GGBW

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Re: Define "middle class"
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2008, 01:02:57 PM »
I assume their economists have come up with their way of defining this, or using some sort of IRS-created classification.

To be honest, when politicians talk about these things, I don't take it at face value.  They're kinda talking about the Federal Income Tax, but really, they are talking about Corporate taxes, Capital Gains taxes, Inheritance taxes...and on and on and on and on.  The tax codes in this country are...obviously....ridiculously complex and full of infinite loopholes allowing people like me to pay more taxes in real dollars than say, Halliburton or Microsoft.  It is reform/change of this tax system that I am interested in.

Offline John_5_24

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Re: Define "middle class"
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2008, 01:07:35 PM »
Fair Tax? :)
Rom 8:28  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Offline GGBW

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Re: Define "middle class"
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2008, 01:10:32 PM »
Your definition of "fair" and mine, I think, are quite different.

Offline John_5_24

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Re: Define "middle class"
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2008, 02:00:16 PM »
VERY TRUE.
Rom 8:28  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Offline RadRides

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Re: Define "middle class"
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2008, 09:53:14 PM »
So, if I make between $50,000-$250,000 I'm considered middle class?  Wow! 

Offline Knight

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Re: Define "middle class"
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2008, 10:19:18 PM »
Middle Class: Grades 3&4, Grades 9&10!

 :lol:
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