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What is "middle class"?

Are you middle class?  

10 members have voted

  1. 1. Are you middle class by the table below (ignoring children and expenses)?

    • I'm in the middle class by the table.
    • I'm below middle class by the table.
    • I'm above middle class by the table; but still not voting for that @$$ Trump.
    • I'm above middle class by the table; and voting for Trump - suckahs!
      0


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According to this article from April 2015, you're middle class if your household has between 67% and 200% of your state's median income.

 

That may make no sense at all, since a family with four kids has more expenses than a family with one kid or no kids.

 

 

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I was thinking of a response but then came across a great reply in the discussion area, below the article. This person was thinking along the same lines but probably said it better than I could:--

 

Just because the middle class has shrunk down to size of a Junior Mint, doesn't mean you get to re-define it for convenience sake. Yes, I know you're super at re-defining things like privacy, freedom, and "news." But sorry, you don't get to do it with money. Telling someone over and over like some Orwellian mantra that it's normal to be a hair's breathe away from living on the street, doesn't mean it is actually normal.

 

Middle Class means comfortable. It means being ahead of disaster. It means you own a home in a decent neighborhood and your vehicle isn't on it's last legs. It means you have insurance. It means you can afford not only kids but pets, too. It means you go on vacation, albeit not expensive ones. It means if you need a root canal, you get one, instead of searching the internet for garlic/tee tree oil concoctions to self-treat the pain until you can save up enough money. It means Xmas presents for the holidays, instead of telling your family you're opting out this year. (For the second year).

 

Where I live, Florida, that 30K threshold doesn't mean you're middle class, it means you're sub-middle class. And that's being gracious. It may be more accurate to say that you're poor.

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Bludog, I agree with that writer. $30K, with a family, would be difficult in Tampa. Rent could easily be $1100/month for a decent place.

 

I'm lucky, in that I can write software and my degrees are in mathematics. I'm doing well. But also, I know how to be poor, because I grew up poor. It looks like I'm just above middle class, but it doesn't feel like it. If I lost my job, I'd have to scramble for another. And retirement is 6 or 7 years away.

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Bludog, I also agree with the article you shared. I'm in the upper end of the middle and with kids getting ready for college. We work hard, my wife and I. We are lucky for sure, but I would say we don't spend that much on ourselves. So we just bought a new car, paid cash, and it was no sweat to do so. I felt bad because it's a Pilot, my wife wanted a car that seats eight because we do like to take a bunch of kids here and there. It isn't a good thing for the environment however, the darn thing will be around for ten years or more - a lag on the green renewable energy future the world does truly need. I wished I would have leased, that way we could switch to something better when it becomes available. So sad, no, I know, I know... I grew up very close to poverty. I was always liberal, not because what the right wants either. See the thing is, we are all tied together, we're all in this together, for better or for worse. We need to see that. All people do.

 

I want the best world for all. I'd like to remove as much luck from the pursuit of happiness as possible. I know a lot of folks work harder than we do and get far far less pay, and that troubles me. I used to be a long distance runner, I have a lot of energy and I love the whole idea of working hard for something good that I believe in. Who wouldn't, given the chance to do so? Who wouldn't once they understand in truth how good it makes their own life?

 

One must always ask that personal question, in the end, who am I? Right now I can honestly say, I do not do enough!

 

Peace!

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I voted below middle class even though according to that chart we are supposed to be middle class. When you can't afford health insurance, and settle for paying the fine each year, because it at least allows you to have a roof over your head, you are not in the middle class! Before GWB's depression my family was truly middle class. With the new normal our income is 1/2 what it was 10 years ago. At least we have an income now, as opposed to a few of the years in between.

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When you can't afford health insurance, and settle for paying the fine each year, because it at least allows you to have a roof over your head, you are not in the middle class!

 

There's assistance if you can't afford the ACA premiums:

http://kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/how-much-financial-assistance-are-people-receiving-under-the-affordable-care-act/

http://www.valuepenguin.com/understanding-aca-subsidies

 

Example: A family of two making $47,790 will pay no more than $4,540.05/year or $378.34/month in premiums. And subsidies, to bring it down to that, are applied up front. From the second link:

 

Most consumers receiving premium subsidies will receive it in the form of an advanced tax credit, with the subsidy applied directly to the cost of their insurance. Since these amounts will be based upon your projected income for the year, the actualy amount of subsidies you are eligible will in many cases differ. If you end qualifying for more subsidies than any amount will be received in the form of a tax credit when income taxes are filed.

 

The tax penalty for a family of two with that income is $955.80. So actually having insurance really costs you the difference between the two: $3584.25/year or $298.69/month.

 

The less money you earn, the bigger the cap, i.e. the more is subsidized.

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Middle class means that you can afford all of the basic things that the rich can afford, just not from as expensive of a source or brand, nor as much of it.

You're neither poor nor rich.. and you can't afford to just not go to work to sustain your quality of life.

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We don't have an extra $378 a month. My point was that Middle Class Americans should be able to afford Health insurance. First though we have to pay for housing, utilities, food, and transportation, to get to the job, to pay those bills. Our penalty is a little over $400 a year. I am disable, and receive medicare. Our yearly penalty is just over the cost to insure my husband for 1 month.

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We don't have an extra $378 a month. My point was that Middle Class Americans should be able to afford Health insurance. First though we have to pay for housing, utilities, food, and transportation, to get to the job, to pay those bills. Our penalty is a little over $400 a year. I am disable, and receive medicare. Our yearly penalty is just over the cost to insure my husband for 1 month.

 

If your penalty is only $400 / year, the cap on the monthly health care for your husband would be much lower than $298/month. Please look into it if you haven't already.

 

I'm sure that disability gives extra expenses too. Are you getting Social Security for the disability?

 

I'm sorry for your predicament. I hope something good happens for you and your family.

 

You're right in your point: Middle Class Americans should be able to afford health insurance and a lot more.

 

I like the quote Bluedog made:

 

 

Middle Class means comfortable. It means being ahead of disaster. It means you own a home in a decent neighborhood and your vehicle isn't on it's last legs. It means you have insurance. It means you can afford not only kids but pets, too. It means you go on vacation, albeit not expensive ones. It means if you need a root canal, you get one, instead of searching the internet for garlic/tee tree oil concoctions to self-treat the pain until you can save up enough money. It means Xmas presents for the holidays, instead of telling your family you're opting out this year. (For the second year).

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We have looked into it. In fact we had insurance on my husband for a while, but had to cancel because we got behind on the rest of our bills..

I completely agree with what Bluedog said.

It is sad that in what is supposed to be the "greatest" nation in the world, those they call the Middle Class, can not afford the basic necessities, let alone be comfortable, and ahead of disaster.

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In the post WWII years, on into the late 1980s the US middle class was the envy of the world. The decline started under Reagan who took office in 1980. His anti middle class policies like union busting and massive outsourcing of jobs began taking their toll during his administration. Since then, most of his policies have continued, unabated.

 

Now the middle class is in trouble. All across the Nation, people are slipping from middle to lower class. More kids are living into adulthood, with their parents, in ancestral homes. And middle class debt has become massive. We are still the richest country in the world but most of the Nation's wealth is being shoveled to the very top. Much of it goes to offshore banks for the purpose of illegally avoiding taxes.... All with a wink and a nod from a deeply corrupt government, on the take from Big Interests.

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In the post WWII years, on into the late 1980s the US middle class was the envy of the world. The decline started under Reagan who took office in 1980. His anti middle class policies like union busting and massive outsourcing of jobs began taking their toll during his administration. Since then, most of his policies have continued, unabated.

 

Now the middle class is in trouble. All across the Nation, people are slipping from middle to lower class. More kids are living into adulthood, with their parents, in ancestral homes. And middle class debt has become massive. We are still the richest country in the world but most of the Nation's wealth is being shoveled to the very top. Much of it goes to offshore banks for the purpose of illegally avoiding taxes.... All with a wink and a nod from a deeply corrupt government, on the take from Big Interests.

The government has also let the classifications of income fall behind inflation. Many who live in poverty are classified as doing better than they are. When you have housing costs starting at over $800 a month in most areas, add in utilities, that have for me tripled in costs over the past 20 years, the cost of owning, and running a car, and food, it is hard for a family to survive on the low end of the middle class wages, let alone those who aren't even there, but are above the income guidelines for assistance.

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In the post WWII years, on into the late 1980s the US middle class was the envy of the world. The decline started under Reagan who took office in 1980. His anti middle class policies like union busting and massive outsourcing of jobs began taking their toll during his administration. Since then, most of his policies have continued, unabated.

 

Now the middle class is in trouble. All across the Nation, people are slipping from middle to lower class. More kids are living into adulthood, with their parents, in ancestral homes. And middle class debt has become massive. We are still the richest country in the world but most of the Nation's wealth is being shoveled to the very top. Much of it goes to offshore banks for the purpose of illegally avoiding taxes.... All with a wink and a nod from a deeply corrupt government, on the take from Big Interests.

I think the crumbling of the middle class started well before Reagan hit the scene. I think it started with LBJ giving up on the fight against poverty and with the Vietnam war. Also, at about this time, women started to really enter into the job force in big numbers. Real full employment without looking at the numbers became what economist warned was perilous and juxtapose to hyper inflation and this pushed trade agreements which led to the loss of what were once thought to be middle class jobs. The argument was then that we were tied to cheap fossil fuels/ that cheap fossil fuels were in effect the catalyst of all industry/ and in effect the main reason behind lack of continued growth.

 

So this made everyone worry, they worry because while productivity goes ever upwards wages failed to follow, and when if ever they seemed as though they did, inflation would follow - or so they were being told. The real question is of course, what is full-employment, and what would it, if ever truly achieved look like. This leads one to take a look at the banking system, where and how it failed during the great depression where farmers could no longer sell their goods because the markets crashed.

 

So we have markets and consumers today in the U.S.today where corporations like Walmart become the low cost drivers adversely affecting all suppliers ushering in an economy that is completely rigged towards the rich. We have systematically kept inflation below 2%. The shift is designed to lower wages so that they no longer keep pace with productivity gains, even though the pressure is always on to increase productivity. And so this leads to over speculation.

Man oh man, I wished I would have bought Apple stock in 1985, then becomes, man on man, I wish I would have bought Apple stock in 1999, and so on... Wall Street doesn't care that Apple started big time manufacturing in China afta that...

But maybe, starting with Reagan, the mantra that the stock holder is king did grow a tad more than it ever should have. I'm just kidding, it grew one heck of a lot more than it should have. Yet, and this is completely true, that was always, always, part of the design. It's not free capitalism, which of course is not good, it's more perverse, it's a rigged capitalism.

 

Look, I'm no numbers guy. I'm just a fifty five year old with a halfway decent memory. Too many times we look at economy of scale, like it solves the problems of this world when it just won't. The current system is designed as an engine that depletes resources and keeps poverty, or just below the middle class spectra, for the multitudes as a constant. It does this by instilling a fabric of fear along with cheaper consumer goods, and free choice in how you think you might choose to live... In this scenario there's always something missing that no one seems to put their arms around and change in any major way.

 

So we have a crumbling infrastructure, too much pollution, increasingly cost prohibitive higher education, shorter lifespans, and more and more TV. We have politicians running for the presidency who say they will destroy the IRS and a media that calls Bernie Sanders a "socialist", as though he was Joseph Stalin himself. And when they hold a town meeting and ordinary people ask Bernie ("the socialist") what it truly means to the consumer if we raise the federal minimum wage, there is no concrete message he can put into words, there is no sound bite that would suffice it to say make complete sense with any factual data on this or any planet.

 

So, let me slide back here a bit, talk about resources and the way full employment should work. In Greece they have the best olive that makes the very best olive oils and they also have hard workers, just like they do here in the U.S, and many places all around the world. The people in Greece are not lazy... let's just say. Neither are the poor migrant workers who travel to Mexico or the Mexican workers who travel to the U.S. Coffee is good, we like our coffee, the best coffee comes from places where coffee farmers toil hard and live in a way many in the U.S. would consider dirt poor.

 

And if this way of being should ever come to an end, well, then you are faced with a Gigantic Depression... A gigantic cataclysmic event. No, this is not how full employment should work. That's just our current world construct. In truth, people who aren't fully employed still do work. People work two jobs while caring for their aging parents and children to boot. Something is missing, full employment means choice of lifestyle and that would mean the choice to achieve a busy work ethic, a higher education and innovative success, or the choice to be an actor or any type of artist, or possibly a care giver --- either way, either choice would afford one

a so-called middle class life style. In truth, we have people like that all over this world. We stifle what we could be while wasting resources and fooling ourselves.

 

Innovation is not limited to any class

 

Peace!

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I agree with the conclusions reached by other posters on the things that lead to the destruction of the Middle Class.

One thing I think helped really push things over the edge was the shift from pensions to self funded retirement. You have to invest in the stock market to participate, which puts our money in the hands of Wall Street speculators.

The wide spread speculation of the 1920s lead to the Great Depression. We have designed a system where everyone is contributing to today's speculation. Because of this mass investment, companies are given higher, and higher stock values. When these companies start to show they aren't worth the investment made in them we end up with a crash.

When it all crashes Wall Street keeps our investment, and then many don't have the funds they need for retirement, putting additional strain on our social services.

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I agree with the conclusions reached by other posters on the things that lead to the destruction of the Middle Class.

One thing I think helped really push things over the edge was the shift from pensions to self funded retirement. You have to invest in the stock market to participate, which puts our money in the hands of Wall Street speculators.

The wide spread speculation of the 1920s lead to the Great Depression. We have designed a system where everyone is contributing to today's speculation. Because of this mass investment, companies are given higher, and higher stock values. When these companies start to show they aren't worth the investment made in them we end up with a crash.

When it all crashes Wall Street keeps our investment, and then many don't have the funds they need for retirement, putting additional strain on our social services.

stock holder is king, is the the mantra. This pushes out the need for a corporate pension. The state worker robs the state because of the pension that is on a curve other than the markets. The pension curve versus the market curve. Call it unfair, yet, this is the way it currently works. How much in capital should a bank hold, how much should a corporation hold in its pension fund, who writes the laws that go into affect...

 

Peace!

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stock holder is king, is the the mantra. This pushes out the need for a corporate pension. The state worker robs the state because of the pension that is on a curve other than the markets. The pension curve versus the market curve. Call it unfair, yet, this is the way it currently works. How much in capital should a bank hold, how much should a corporation hold in its pension fund, who writes the laws that go into affect...

 

Peace!

How much? I'm not sure I can answer that. Maybe the answer isn't either option. Instead of taking from the Social Security system, if our legislators shored up, and enhanced the system it could provide a better option.

I don't claim to be an expert on this stuff so I could be wrong. I just like the idea, of our seniors being able to retire comfortably after their many years of contribution.

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