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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press The New York Times Redefines Middle Class Upwards

The New York Times Redefines Middle Class Upwards

Monday, 13 December 2010 05:37

In an article that discussed the benefits of the tax deal for the middle class the NYT told readers:

"And other provisions that benefit the middle class have gotten virtually no attention, including a temporary repeal of a limit on itemized deductions and repeal of the phaseout for personal exemptions. Together, those tax breaks will cost nearly $21 billion."

The phaseout of the personal exemption only begins to kick in for couples with incomes over $250,000. This places them above 98 percent of the population in income.

Comments (9)Add Comment
No Surprise There
written by libhomo, December 13, 2010 7:32
The NY Times is a rightist, GOP propaganda rag.
middle class disappearing etymologically as well
written by frankenduf, December 13, 2010 9:30
reminds me of the mcain debate where he defined someone wealthy at $5million of income- he even made a pastor blush!
written by liberal, December 13, 2010 10:21
Wealth is accurately defined in terms of assets, not income.
Shows Reporter's bias, not the facts
written by betsy, December 13, 2010 11:37
Reporters have to be much more careful in putting their own class-based assumptions into their stories. I'd bet that this one thinks that since it's expensive to live in NYC, $250K is middle class. I'd also bet that most of this reporter's friends make that much money yearly, so they don't consider their daily privileged living to be upper class.

The fact is that even in NYC that salary still gives one access to luxuries, like private school, that these folks are taking for granted. Moreover, the divide between the rich and poor in NYC is now a chasm, so it only reinforces the fact that this person lives in a bubble, not the real world.
written by umass1993, December 13, 2010 12:52
This insensitivy displayed by the NYT shows how they truly are NOT liberal. They say all the right liberal things but they don't truly understand it. So when an issue arises that is not in their liberal doctrine (oxymoron?) they fail to respond appropriately.

As I said. What passes for liberalism today isn't really liberalism, it's Great Society doctrine, from circa 1965, when the Boomers identity was formed.

No doubt the Boomers in charge of the NYT yearn to still be what they were in 1965, but they aren't. They are a corporate-driven perversion of their former modest middle class upbringing.
written by Chris Nielsen, December 13, 2010 1:00
I wish reporters (including Dean) would emphasize more often how skewed the income scale is, and most people's idea of middle class. Only 1/4 of Americans make over $75 a year. Another 1/4 make less than $20K, the poverty line for a family of 4. "Middle" of what?
written by David, December 13, 2010 1:07

written by liberal, December 13, 2010 10:21 AM
Wealth is accurately defined in terms of assets, not income.

True, but "middle-class" is a slipperier concept than that.

Meaning of middle-class
written by jwo, December 13, 2010 1:18
It is amusing how people change the meaning of middle-class to fit there agenda.

We should define middle class as adults in families that earn between the 20 percentile and 80th percentile.

Also it is amazing how out of touch with regular Joes are these high profile people. It is like the think everybody make $250K per year and has an IQ about 110 etc.
Taxable income, please
written by urban legend, December 13, 2010 2:32
While I might even concede that someone "making" $250,000 a year in Manhattan is still in the middle class, that because we mean gross income when we say that. Will some liberal commentator please, please, please make the point that it is $250,000 in TAXABLE INCOME, and that such a person is probably "making" in the neighborhood of $400,000 before personal exemptions, exempt income and deductions are applied.

When we are reminded of that, the argument that we are talking about people still in the middle class is reduced to sheer silliness. Continuously failing to eliminate that right-wing talking point is, in my opinion, political commentary malpractice.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.