What does it really mean to be 'middle class' in America?

There has been a lot of talk coming out of Washington in the past several months about the "middle class," specifically that the middle class should not pay more in taxes. But what does the adjective "middle" mean when used by Washington and the media to modify the noun "class"?

Here is my definition. The adjective "middle" requires that this class be placed between other classes of equal size. I assume there are only three classes, lower, middle and upper. All three classes do not have to be the same size, but to be in the middle, there must be the same number in the lower class as in the upper class.

I define the classes according to what is filed on our income tax returns. Using the taxable income charts, I would arrange the list with the highest income to the lowest income and divide the population of households into five equal parts. Each part would represent 20 percent.

I would put the bottom 20 percent in the lower class, the top 20 percent in the upper class and the remaining 60 percent in the middle class.

Using IRS data, IBM's supercomputer could do that chore in the blink of an eye and publish the dollar figures that represent the dividing lines between the three classes. It is a simple plan and shows no bias.


What is your opinion?

William Plummer


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