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Romney: 'middle-Income' Is $200K To $250K And Less


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By STEVE PEOPLES

The Associated Press

BOSTON —

Mitt Romney is promising to reduce taxes on middle-income Americans.

But how does he define "middle-income"? The Republican presidential nominee defined it Friday as income of $200,000 to $250,000 a year and less.

The definition of "middle income" or the "middle class" is politically charged as Romney and President Barack Obamafight to win over working-class voters. Romney would be among the wealthiest presidents, if elected, and Democrats have repeatedly painted him as out of touch with average people.

Obama also has set his definition for "middle class" as families with income of up to $250,000 a year.

Romney's comments came an interview broadcast Friday on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"No one can say my plan is going to raise taxes on middle-income people, because principle number one is (to) keep the burden down on middle-income taxpayers," Romney told host George Stephanopoulos.

"Is $100,000 middle income?" Stephanopoulos asked.

"No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less," Romney responded.

His campaign later clarified that Romney was referencing household income, not individual income.

The Census Bureau reported this week that the median household income — the midpoint for the nation — is just over $50,000.

Obama wants to extend Bush-era tax cuts for those making less than $250,000, while Romney wants to extend the tax cuts for everyone.

Romney has not explained how he would keep his plan from growing the nation's deficit.

Copyright The Associated Press

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He didn't say rich. He said middle income. $200k is not middle income.

Though there is a difference between middle income and average income. Like I said above, technically his statement was not false, he just was in the high sector of the "middle income range".

Still he made quite a mistake saying it this way, especially since he corrected the interviewer. If that happens within the TV debates, Obama will not be that forgiving.

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Though there is a difference between middle income and average income. Like I said above, technically his statement was not false, he just was in the high sector of the "middle income range".

Still he made quite a mistake saying it this way, especially since he corrected the interviewer. If that happens within the TV debates, Obama will not be that forgiving.

I don't know of anyone who would say that the upper 5% of something is "middle" anything.

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It depends on the definition: political or a statistical. In a statistical definition people with 200k are probably still considered middle because the upper 2% are extending the range of income so much.

Actually, the common statistical threshold is the upper/lower 5%. Someone who makes more than 95% of the rest of the country is not "middle income". He's not right.

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you are confusing average with middle. Income ranges between $0 (we'll exclude losses for now) and several billion. By that standard, it is less than "middle."

I never mentioned an average at all, so not sure how I can be confused by that. Everybody uses median income for a reason.

Nonetheless, technically, I'm talking about percentiles of income earners. 95% of the country makes less than $200k a year. That is not "middle" by any definition of the word.

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Actually, the common statistical threshold is the upper/lower 5%. Someone who makes more than 95% of the rest of the country is not "middle income". He's not right.

No idea how it is usually defined in the US but setting fixed upper/lower percentages is usually problematic. Usually you have a bigger range for the definition of poor than just the lowest 5%.

I prefer to compare those numbers to reality. 200k is probably what my dentist makes and I consider him as much "middle" as I am, even though I make much less.

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No idea how it is usually defined in the US but setting fixed upper/lower percentages is usually problematic. Usually you have a bigger range for the definition of poor than just the lowest 5%.

I prefer to compare those numbers to reality. 200k is probably what my dentist makes and I consider him as much "middle" as I am, even though I make much less.

You are talking about subjective concepts such as "poor" and "rich" and "middle class". I am not saying people in the upper 5% are "rich" nor am I saying that those in the bottom 5% are "poor". I'm talking about the distribution of income in this country. 95% of people make less than $200k. That is not the "middle" of the distribution, not by a long shot. People who make more money than 85% of the country are not "middle", either. The middle is the middle of the distribution. It's not the upper 5%, by definition.

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This is simple mathematics. The last two columns on the right are people making over $200k. That is not "middle" income. That is nowhere close to the "middle" of the income distribution.

Distribution_of_Annual_Household_Income_in_the_United_States.png

The only problem is that this table leaves out the aggregated income of those groups, which I believe is what is more important and telling. Then you would notice that column of the last group (250k+) is about 100x higher and is a more likely to exclusively define "rich".

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The only problem is that this table leaves out the aggregated income of those groups, which I believe is what is more important and telling. Then you would notice that column of the last group (250k+) is about 100x higher and is a more likely to exclusively define "rich".

I think that kind of makes my point. A very small number of people making hundreds of times more money than 95% of the country is not "middle" anything. Even at $200k, a small percentage of people making four times more than half the income earners in the entire country is not "middle" anything.

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I think that kind of makes my point. A very small number of people making hundreds of times more money than 95% of the country is not "middle" anything. Even at $200k, a small percentage of people making four times more than half the income earners in the entire country is not "middle" anything.

I think we can agree that the last group (250k+) is not in any definition of the middle range. Totally different story.

But to his defense, Romney did not say that 200-250 is the middle, he added the "and less". If he would have said middle is "30-50+ and more", nobody would care. As I mentioned above, his emphasis was very unlucky and revealing and it might haunt him but at least I personally believe that 200-250 is the upper end of middle. But of course it depends on the political definition which statistical definition you prefer.

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