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The Middle Class, What is It?

Discussion in 'The OT' started by Rich, Oct 12, 2012.

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  1. Oct 17, 2012 #61 of 108
    Rich

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    I recorded the debate and haven't seen it yet. If history repeats itself, I'll probably watch ten minutes of it and delete it. I have a problem with politics. I just don't believe politicians.

    Just the use of the phrase "middle class" in a national debate makes me wonder what the hell they're talking about.

    Rich
     
  2. Oct 17, 2012 #62 of 108
    BattleScott

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    Isn't "household" a specific residential location?
     
  3. Oct 17, 2012 #63 of 108
    Rich

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    A household in western PA would have a different income than a household in NJ or NYC. My wife's from WPA and they don't make that much nor does it cost as much to live.

    Probably too much of a PITA to actually set down parameters for the definition of MC for the whole country. Too many variables.

    Rich
     
  4. Oct 17, 2012 #64 of 108
    BattleScott

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    Don't ignore it all together, just take it for what it means.
     
  5. Oct 17, 2012 #65 of 108
    Rich

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    I don't know what it means, that's the point of this thread.

    Rich
     
  6. Oct 17, 2012 #66 of 108
    4HiMarks

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    Well, let's say that middle class people don't worry about where their next meal is coming from on the low end, and don't employ a household staff at the high end.
     
  7. Oct 17, 2012 #67 of 108
    hdtvfan0001

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    Yes...BINGO.
     
  8. Oct 17, 2012 #68 of 108
    wilbur_the_goose

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    4HiMarks - AMEN.
    I was shopping for homeowners insurance a few years ago and the agent asked if I had any household staff. I laughed out loud and asked him who he thought I was :)

    Rich - absolutely right. I live well here in the western burbs of Philly, but I'd be poor in metro San Fransisco or LA.
     
  9. Oct 17, 2012 #69 of 108
    BattleScott

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    So do you think an income range of 50% to 200% of the national average would effectively trap both the NJ and the NYC incomes for the same basic household parameters?
     
  10. Oct 18, 2012 #70 of 108
    Rich

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    Not sure, but it's a lot cheaper to live in NJ than NYC (which really ought to be a state). All the commuters that clog our highways in the morning and evening are evidence of that. I'd imagine the same thing applies to towns upstate of NYC.

    I gotta admit that I don't have a clue as to what the MC is. I know what "poor" is, been there, done that. I never paid much attention to what folks' salaries were, as long as I wasn't hurting for money. All this talk about the MC has made me curious for the first time.

    I'm kinda surprised by the ambiguity of the term.

    Rich
     
  11. Oct 18, 2012 #71 of 108
    Rich

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    What would those basic household parameters be? Perhaps that would help, but it's gotta vary by region, no?

    Rich
     
  12. Oct 18, 2012 #72 of 108
    4HiMarks

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    That is the distribution. So it is roughly the middle 40% of the population (from 30th percentile to 70th). Although I think a lot of people above the 70th also think of themselves as middle class.
     
  13. Oct 18, 2012 #73 of 108
    Rich

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    I can't imagine having a household staff. The lack of privacy would be appalling to me.

    Rich
     
  14. Oct 18, 2012 #74 of 108
    Rich

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    Until the Presidential debates focused so much on the MC, I thought we were in the MC, never considered any other classification. Never gave it much thought. Your opinion seems to fit the description of MC rather well, as a rule of thumb. Doesn't work well if you consider various regions of the country, just a broad definition. I dunno, it all seems rather vague and I don't like vague. I keep hearing the MC is shrinking. Is that shrinkage towards "poor" or "wealthy"? I don't even know that. If I had to guess, I'd guess towards "poor" or nobody would be talking about it.

    Rich
     
  15. Oct 18, 2012 #75 of 108
    BattleScott

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    It doesn't really matter what they are as long as you compare apples to apples. A married couple with 2.3 kids living in an area with a lower cost of living will likely have a proportionally lower income than that same family living in a higher cost area such as Long Island since prevailing wages generally are influenced greatly by the costs of living in those markets.

    For 2011, the average household income is right around $50K. So if we take the "defintion" of middle-class as 50% to 200%, then we can consider the definition to be $25K to $100K annual houshold income. If both of the families above land within that range, then it is ok to view them both as "middle-class" even though there incomes and costs vary greatly.

    If you prefer a more political or socialogic definition, then I would go with 4HiMarks interpretaion of it. The middle class is basically the segment that is self-sufficient in terms of not needing (or qualifying for) government assistance to make their way, yet not affluent enough to be fairly insulated from bad economic conditions or policies.
     
  16. Oct 18, 2012 #76 of 108
    Rich

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    I'd be surprised if Long Island had a high median income based on the folks who live there year round. The Jersey Shore certainly doesn't.

    A family such as you posit would have a terrible time making ends meet in NJ, never mind NYC, if they were in the $25-30,000 range. And San Francisco would be even worse, I'd think. But, including the whole country, your argument might be true. I just don't know.

    Families making over $50,000 qualify for many government assistance programs and tax rebates and many other things here in NJ. Again, regional adjustments seem to be needed. Someone making $100,000 a year in the Pittsburgh area lives very well, while folks in NJ with the same salary just scrape by. OK, most of that scraping by is their own fault, but it's still there.

    Rich
     
  17. Oct 18, 2012 #77 of 108
    4HiMarks

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    That is not to say that a MC family does not receive any government assistance at all, like the mortgage interest deduction, or subsidized student loans, or various tax breaks on retirement investing (IRA, 401(k) etc.). Just that they are not entirely dependent on it to "make their way".

    Living in one of the highest income, and cost of living, areas (DC Metro), I would extend that $100k quite a bit higher if you want to cover all the middle class. Even both presidential candidates estimates of $200k-250k for a 2-earner household is not all that affluent around here.

    We don't make that much, but we "can see it from where we are" and the difference would not change our lifestyle drastically. We'd just be able to take somewhat nicer vacations and put away a little more for retirement.

    So consider this range: Don't have to worry about next meal, but DO have to worry about retirement.
     
  18. Oct 18, 2012 #78 of 108
    wilbur_the_goose

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    Move to Mullen,NE. Less than 500 residents and some of the best golf in the world"
     
  19. Oct 19, 2012 #79 of 108
    Matt9876

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    Before the year 2000 I considered myself middle class, since 2009 I consider myself as part of the working poor.

    Mandated health insurance will most likely bankrupt me as I know that even the best insurance (If I could afford the payments) only covers 80% and the other 20% will surely sink my financial boat.

    I will always be looking for a better job, problem is jobs are scarce and my high stress low paying job is all I have.

    Looking forward to better times, but also prepared in case they get worse.
     
  20. Oct 19, 2012 #80 of 108
    Davenlr

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    20% is a heck of a lot smaller bill than the 100% you would pay now.
     
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