Mitt Romney Thinks America's "Middle Income" Is $200,000 to $250,000

Comments

1
This is a non-issue. Romney has enough missteps to make fun of, there's no reason to over-inflate this one.
2
To be slightly generous, I think his false, tone deaf comment parses as "middle income is ($200,000 - 250,000) or less", not as "middle income is $200,000 - $250,000 (or less)", as your headline would suggest.

But, yeah, even parsed in a generous manner he's including most of the people in the 95th percentile as "middle income"
3
You realize that the Democrats also define it the same way?
4
1 - we could have used your statement a month ago. So be it, making fun of MR or poking holes in his policies is the way us Sloggers feel good about ourselves.
5
can't we just say "bourgeois"?

i'm not going to get upset here, "middle class" tax brackets go up to 250K. america has defined middle class so broadly as to be meaningless - just another way to deny that class exists.
6
What about the actual statement? Is his plan going to raise taxes on middle-income people? What about low-income people? (Obviously he's not going to raise taxes on high income families). So the real question should have been, "how are you going to pay off the deficit without increasing anyone's taxes?"

Also, does anyone know what the bottom of the "middle income" category is? Because he says, $250k or less, which means poor people are "middle income" too. I googled this and couldn't find an answer. Or are we all 'above average' these days?
7
@2 I don't know. That's a logical, but maybe overly generous interpretation of a comment seeking to define that $100,000 in household income as not being "middle income". What a weird robot the Republicans have chosen to be their standard bearer.
8
The more important part of that interview: Romney is already starting to pre-emptively excuse the gaffes he will make and begin lowering expectations for his performance in the debates by saying that he expects Obama to lie. He talks about agonizing over whether to respond to Obama's "untruths" in limited time or to convey his own message (such as it is). Either one is a winner for Obama.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/14…

Pathetic.
9
@5 Well, if middle class is the middle 50% then yeah, it is pretty broad.
10
I think you can credibly call the middle three fifths of incomes "Middle Class," with the fifth on either side being upper or lower class. As of 2004 (the latest data I can find), any household with more than $88k (roughly equivalent to $107k in 2012 dollars) is in the top fifth. Because incomes have stagnated since the Great Recession, $100k is probably a pretty good dividing line between middle class and upper class.

The low end of that top fifth still includes many people who aren't saving a lot and feel like they're living month-to-month, but that just underscores what middle class actually means. Romney isn't just upper class, he's ruling class. He's the 1% of the 1%. He has no idea what a middle class life is like firsthand, and lacks the empathy to gain insight into how other people live. Thus, he cannot credibly lead in the interests of anyone who is not in his rarefied wealth and income cohort.
11
@2 - Agreed, and yet Mitt answers the question directly and says $100,000/year isn't middle income.

It's all so damned tone-deaf. Maybe instead of having spokespeople repeatedly tell us what "Mitt really means", maybe, just maybe, Mitt himself could just fucking say what he really means in the first place.
12
@2: I would agree with you, except for when you read the question first:

Q: “Is $100,000 middle income?”
A: "No, middle income is..."
13
6- I'm not above average. Occasionally I find myself in line with my fellow pathetic low-life dreamers waiting to throw my money away on a lottery ticket.
14
Oh, and the same source (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_i…, which uses 2004 US Census data) has the low end of the 2nd quintile of household income at $18.5k, which works out to about $22.5k in current dollars. The federal poverty level for a family of four is currently $23k, so this is consistent.

To simplify: if you meet federal poverty guidelines, you're lower class. If your family makes $100k or more, you're upper class. Otherwise, you're in the vast middle. And there's a huge disparity even among that 60%.
15
Anyone who hopes to participate in politics at the national level needs to memorize the correct answers to a handful of basic questions. One of them is the answer to the question "What is a middle-class income?"

It isn't only about parsing his stilted language. It's the more basic question of whether he's a good enough politician to be President.
16

100K or less is poor.

Anyone thinking otherwise is fooling themselves.

17
@10: Thanks for putting in that legwork. It's enlightening.
I think Mitt probably believes (rightfully) that no family can live comfortably on less than 200k a year. He doesn't realize that very, very few families are living comfortably now. If the median household income had continued to rise consistently since the 1950's, middle income for a household *would* be $200-250k. But it's not. And he doesn't get that.
18
@11, @12, @others
Fair enough, good point about Rmoney saying $100,000 isn't middle-income but under $250,000 is. I guess to Rmoney anyone in the bottom 80% of the income distribution isn't middle income.
19
@11 -- If Mitt just said what he actually means in the first place, he would have to make up his mind, which would pretty much destroy his m.o. of making a statement one day and doing a 180 on it the next. Except when the statement is so wrong his own party derides it, and then of course he just intensifies his commitment to it.
20
@10: I think there's confusion between the concepts of "middle income" and "middle class". Statistically parsing out quintiles of income can define middle income, but not middle class. It is entirely possible for a middle class family to have a household income approaching $200K or $250K.

I would say that the middle class is defined as those with more-or-less steady jobs and the capacity to have some savings and property - a family with a house, a couple of cars, some retirement savings, etc. At the upper end of the scale - dual-income professional families - you'll have a high household income, but they still need to work to support themselves.

What defines upper class is that they don't need to work to support themselves - it's the class that has investment capital to live off of. Someone making $250K a year from investments is upper class; someone making $250K a year from working is middle class (upper middle, but still middle.)
21
@1 +1
22
@9 - Not only is that pretty broad, it's pretty Canadian.
23
Meanwhile, no small number of Republican voters who themselves make around $50k are utterly convinced when pols talk about "taxing job creators/producers/etc." that that means them.
24
@6,
If Mitt is elected, he's not going to pay off the deficit.

When republicans get elected, they spend like drunken sailors. They charge everything on the national credit card and then wait until a democrat is elected to demand it be paid off (with spending cuts).

How the republicans ever convinced people they're fiscally responsible baffles me. They're not.

The republican party is the party of spend spend spend.
25
Pretty excellent, @22.
26
I want Cascadian to be president.

@24, he's more or less promised to skyrocket the deficit, with his absurd and thoughtless promise to keep military spending at 4% of GDP. That's double what it is now, though of course Romney has no idea what the military budget is now, nor does he care.
27
@4 and anyone else who thinks it, no, criticizing Romney doesn't make us feel good. The fact that he could actually become President -- the fact that he's even a candidate -- is disgusting and depressing.
28
I'm with @ 8. The big story is that Romney is debasing the debates in advance. It is a despicable tactic and is so unusual as to smack of desperation. Paul Ryan has a veracity problem? Romney seems shady because he lacks financial transparency? Fine, claim that debates will be meaningless because President Obama "won't tell the truth." It is a new low in campaigning and reinforces the image of romeney as un-presidential.
29
This is worth a look for putting that figure into perspective:

http://wakingupnow.com/blog/mitts-idea-o…
30
If Willard Mitt Thurston Howell Moneybags Magoo Romney wants to be able to discuss income levels and not sound like a complete putz, he should familiarize himself with the numbers for Mean and Median incomes and a breakdown of typical living expenses in this country. For a supposed finance guy running for our highest office, how he can't bother to memorize one stinking page of figures is just one more proof of his disdain for America.
31
@26--"I want Cascadian to be president."

We'll have to secede, first.
32
@32 first we have to make DC, PR, and Seattle states.
33
Was the interviewers next statement "but the median household income is only 50K and has been for more than a decade"? It should have been.
34
Talking to yourself Will?
35
@16: Then most of the people in this country are poor? I can kind of see that argument, but I'm not sure what your point really was.