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What is the middle class?
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Mindslicer



Joined: 04 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:15 pm    Post subject: What is the middle class? Reply with quote

Interesting article about the definition of the middle class as the presidential candidates describe them.



But...

Quote:
In fairness, this is the same cutoff for “middle income” that Barack Obama has used in talking about the Bush tax cuts.


What sort of income does the real middle class make?

Quote:
One plausible definition of “middle-class” is those households in the middle quintile of the income distribution, or between the 40th and 60th percentiles. Under this view, 0-20th percentile is lower class, 20th-40th is lower-middle class, 40th-60th is middle class, 60th-80th is upper middle class, and 80th to 99th is upper class. The lower classes make under $20,262, in this view, and the upper classes above $101,582, according to the latest Census data.


Is that a better definition? If so, this is what those income numbers look like:



When politicians bloviate about the middle class, who are they really talking about, and do you think they should be talking about?
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Adyon



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My family was always considered upper-middle class in my mind, and my dad pulled in about $100 grand alone from the feedlot he manages. Also my mom works directly under him out there. He should make that much honestly. He pulls close to 80 hours a week some weeks and rarely less than 65. (Sometimes more since they usually call him out to work at least one night a week too, where he afterwards works through the day until 6 like normal anyway.) What's so important? He feeds cows for a living! =P But he doesn't even just get to sit around like what we think of as a "manager" in most places. He's up on top of the feed towers, repairing things, mixing up the feed batches, and basically doing more work than the people that work under him even.

The idea is that I think of, middle class when they say it, they mean, middle, upper middle, and lower middle in one lump. And I still think of people like my parents as upper-middle, because many people are like my parents in that they have decent incomes even just from hard work at a less than prestigious job. They're still worried about their future and having enough money to retire in a couple years. Basically they try and not lump them in with people who make a bit more and have no problems or worries. Think of it this way, many who make more than $200 grand have had plenty saved with access to better savings investments and if not live jobs they could even keep working. You can almost literally watch my dad wasting away as he tries to maintain working his job at the pace he always has.

I think the reason the politicians draw this line, is ALL of the middle classes are where we focus our attention. The "upper class" (not upper-middle) as we put it, makes enough that they shouldn't have money issues other than if they buy too much stuff. Even though people like my parents are considered "upper-middle" and thus don't fall into the part of middle class that gets support, they still fall in a certain area that keeps them the focus of where tax cuts should fall when politicians start debating.



Tl;dr version:

Basically, I think middle class is a standard we use for people who no matter what they make, are not set in a place to be free of money worries and does not stick people like my parents who kill themselves working to make the decent amount they do bring in into some "rich" demographic.

To think of it in old world times, it's the majority of laborers and shop-keeps, instead of the nobility. http://www.docstoc.com/docs/33540421/Social-Hierarchy-in-the-Middle-Ages
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Sam



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are useful socioeconomic classes, but politicians have aggregated the concept of a 'middle class' into uselessness, and the new political version of 'middle class' has no relation to markedly observable social demographic markers (like how there are ways to differentiate 'lower uppers' from 'upper uppers' and ways to differentiate 'working poor' from 'working class') and instead now is an aggregate pander to everyone short of the underclass/indigent.
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like what the one comment from the article stated:

Quote:
Income should be adjusted for cost-of-living of the locality. "Middle class income" in NYC is drastically higher than in Madison, WI, or Lincoln, NE, etc.

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kame



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Every variable that impacts you affects what 'class' you belong to: children, state taxes, medical insurance premiums, food, student loans, travel, health (co-pays, prescription medication, etc.), utilities, state taxes, property taxes, and mortage/rent.

I think discretionary income is a better indicator of financial health, preferably in some ratio with household debt.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i'll go along with that. where you are, realistically, is a function of not only how much you make, but how much essential expenses cost you - so housing, number of people you are supporting, etc. but it gets tricky drawing lines - how much you spend on housing, for example, is to a certain extent, your choice - do you get the smallest place you can live in, or the biggest place you can afford? that determines how much money you have left over for other things, which in turn determines whether having a sudden large bill is something you weather easily, or something that puts you in a tailspin.

i always figures middle class was what we used to call "comfortable". one way or another, you have enough money that you don't have to go on foodstamps, but you don't have so much money that you don't need to keep an eye on the budget.

that said, i think there is a fundamental difference in how romney and obama came up with the $200-250K number. obama is looking for a place to draw the line on tax cuts; romney is telling us something about how much money he thinks the average citizen makes.
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Thy Brilliance



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:54 am    Post subject: It was all in your head silly. Reply with quote

People actually still believe there's a middle class?
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Monkey Mcdermott



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

75,000 a year.

There was some study that said that beyond that point people don't seem to feel measurably more content with their lives. I CBA to dig it up.
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fritterdonut



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always figured middle class was that point where you made enough to comfortably pay for day-to-day life and still have some left over for non-necessity luxuries.

Just going to throw it out there that 200-250K a year seems ridiculously high for "middle" class... If you are making a quarter of a million bucks in a year, you aren't an average worker.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

definitely not - since something like 95% of the country makes less than that.

'middle' <> 'almost the top'.
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Sam



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fritterdonut wrote:
I always figured middle class was that point where you made enough to comfortably pay for day-to-day life and still have some left over for non-necessity luxuries.


Middle Class is commonly divided up in socioeconomic models between upper middle class and lower middle class and its primary socioeconomic models work around how the middle class begins on the lower (lmc) end by a transition into semipros and craftsmen that have moved from the two categories of working class (working class/working poor in the Gilbert model of socioeconomic classes) into a median range of economic prosperity relatively separate from the hand-to-mouth or otherwise volatile economic condition of working class individuals. In short, it's largely that distinct point where there's enough economic buttressing and security from volatility to bring about interest and capacity towards things like substantial payments to cars, self-owned households, and the first level of American health coverage that you could describe as 'adequate.' It then moves over the bell curve of income distribution into people with a great degree of individual work autonomy and well-salaried positions, typically with people with graduate degrees.

After that you're moving into classes that fit broadly into the categorization of "rich."

/edit - this all fits into sociological definitions that agree with and underscore the point you have that modern day politicized descriptions of the 'middle class' are useless and stupid
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Willem



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are only two classes, comrades.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

those with class, and those without it?
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Willem



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If only we were at a state where we could live without class, comrade mouse.

Alas, we are doomed to be classy motherfuckers for the time being.
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In a democratic society, shouldn't the middle class represent the majority of people, like the second, third, and fourth quintiles?
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