2008 October 28 Tuesday
Joe Biden Lowers Barrier For Entry Into Upper Class

Joe Biden says you only have to make over $150k to escape the middle class. This is great news for people who aspire to become upper class.

But in an interview Monday with a Scranton television station, WNEP, Biden was explaining how the Obama tax policy would no longer give tax breaks to the “very very wealthy” and appeared to set the bar lower.

“What we’re saying is that $87 billion tax break doesn’t need to go to people making an average of $1.4 million. It should go like it used to. It should go to middle class people — people making under $150,000 a year,” he said.

Those comments fit into the Republican narrative aimed at voters who, are promised a tax break under the Obama plan. They argue that in order to pay for his spending initiatives, he’ll wind up taxing a lot more people than he says, a charge the Obama campaign disputes.

You might have thought you needed to make a half million or even a million a year to be upper class. After decades of inflation I would think even a million just isn't that much. But Joe Biden, supporter of the working class, wants to give us a more achievable goal to shoot for. $150k for entry into the upper class becomes a possible goal for a large fraction of the population. Work 2 jobs. Get your spouse to work 2 jobs. You too can enter the upper class.

America. What a great country.

Under Obama the top federal tax rate will probably hit 43%.

Under Obama's plan, the marginal federal income tax rate for those with the highest incomes would go back to 39.6 percent from 35 percent, perhaps earlier than already scheduled under the Bush tax-cut legislation for the end of 2010. Also, Obama would impose a smaller payroll tax, perhaps 2 to 4 percent but not yet specified by the Obama campaign, on income above $200,000 and $250,000. So the marginal federal tax rate – the rate on the last dollar earned – could climb as high as perhaps 43 percent.

Mind you, if you live in a state with a high state income tax then your marginal income tax rate could surpass 50%. That is just plain wrong. You are also going to pay sales taxes and assorted fee taxes on your utilities as well as property taxes and still other taxes.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 October 28 06:36 PM  Politics Absurdity


Comments
Bob Badour said at October 28, 2008 8:08 PM:

As far as political absurdity goes, I have always been fond of the panicked exhortations by the left that even after decades of <insert bogeyman here> 20% of Canadians still live beneath the poverty line. (Statistics Canada arbitrarily defines the poverty line as the bottom income quintile.)

I keep waiting for some savvy politician to force StatsCan to change the definition and then claim a huge victory against poverty.

Winston Smith said at October 28, 2008 8:40 PM:

I'm sorry, but all this talk about taxes is ridiculous. Circumstance has determined that Americans will cut spending AND increase taxation if the country is to remain solvent. Anyone who thinks otherwise is as deluted as Joe the plumber's dreams of earning over $250,000 per year.

HellKaiserRyo said at October 29, 2008 12:39 AM:

"Mind you, if you live in a state with a high state income tax then your marginal income tax rate could surpass 50%. That is just plain wrong."

Randall, why is it "plain wrong"? I do not see anything from that statement that would justify such a normative claim. (I am not implying that it is "right" either.) Just say that you do not prefer it and do not translate your preferences into normative claims.

Sgt. Joe Friday said at October 29, 2008 7:08 AM:

OK HKR, I'll take a swing at your premise. If you own 49% of a business, and your partner owns 51%, you're SOL - your partner can do whatever he wants, and your only recourse if you don't like it is to sell your part of the business. You may have a stake in the company, but you don't own it in any meaningful sense.

Same idea here. If the government has a claim on more than half of your earnings, are you working for yourself, or do you have a "partner" who's calling the shots?

This is why I think steeply progressive taxation is a bad idea. Everybody should pay at least some income taxes, no matter how poor they may be. It's only when people have a tangible connection to the system that they take an informed interest in how the public's tax dollars are spent.

clayton said at October 29, 2008 8:03 AM:

Interesting, currently 1/3 of our taxes goes to national debt (and it's getting higher) If we as a society could gather the will to pay off that debt, taxes could drop fully by 1/3 the present levels and not shrink the government. Pay more in the short term, to pay less in the long term. It's a winning strategy for paying off debt, ask rich dad's advisers. or do a combination, shrink the largest segment of government spending, the military by say 1% and shift it to paying off the debt. better than slashing education funding or continuing with that no child left behind program.

Aghast said at October 29, 2008 8:27 AM:

Randall, why is it "plain wrong"? I do not see anything from that statement that would justify such a normative claim. (I am not implying that it is "right" either.) Just say that you do not prefer it and do not translate your preferences into normative claims.

What could be wrong about handing over the money you earn to the gov't so that it can be given to NAMs, non-hackers and failed programs? Thankfully, we have moved beyond such outmoded concepts such as people keeping what they earn! I mean seriously, HellKaiserRyo, you seem like an intelligent guy, but that comment makes me wonder...

Bob Badour said at October 29, 2008 8:33 AM:

HKR,

do not translate your preferences into normative claims.

The socialists and political left turn every petulant fucking whim into a normative claim. Why shouldn't the rest of us say something is wrong when it is just plain wrong?

Stopped Clock said at October 30, 2008 7:15 PM:

Personally I cannot consider a person who regularly earns $150,000 a year to be middle class. There are very many different ideas of where the boundaries of middle class are, but few of them go that high. I think that it makes sense that "middle class" should be centered around the national median income of about $30,000 per year and should take into account differences in cost of living and the number of wage earners in the household. $150,000 would be in the top 10 percent or so, and so I wouldnt call it middle class unless middle class would also extend down to the bottom 10 percent as well ... which would be silly. I agree though that the term "upper class" implies a person who is so rich that they dont even need an income because they can just sit around and do nothing all year. And there arent many people like that ... so essentially the US consists of the lower class and the middle class, with a very very small number of "upper class" people. Perhaps it's a problem of bad associations ... no one who works for a living wants to associate themselves with the imagery of the idle rich, so they say "upper middle class" instead. If this is so, then I'd say that by popular definition the upper middle class is not part of the middle class.


Randall Parker said at November 1, 2008 9:55 AM:

Aghast, HellKaiserRyo,

I see nothing wrong with making normative claims. In fact, I did. You both think I should prove a normative claim? It isn't even possible.

As for why I think it is just plain wrong: I do not want to be a slave.

averros said at November 8, 2008 4:08 PM:

> Personally I cannot consider a person who regularly earns $150,000 a year to be middle class.

I can. In California, its just about enough to stay out of debts if you have a mortgage to pay.

averros said at November 8, 2008 4:11 PM:

> As for why I think it is just plain wrong: I do not want to be a slave.

So... 50% slave is plain wrong, but, say 10% slave isn't?

All taxation is plain wrong, period.

Randall Parker said at November 9, 2008 12:35 PM:

averros,

So then you do not think that the government should tax people to pay for the police and prisons and courts? Do you deny the need for police, prisons, and courts?


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