On the campaign trail, we've heard a lot about the middle class. But the candidates' definition of middle class is pretty broad.
(Image source: Teamster Nation) BY CHRISTINA HARTMAN On the campaign trail, we’ve heard a lot about the middle class. MITT ROMNEY, VIA WJMN : “I will not under any circumstances increase taxes on the middle class.” OBAMA: “I want to give middle class families and folks striving to get into the middle class some relief.” So who exac tly is this “middle class?” In political terms, it’s really only been defined in terms of tax policy. ROMNEY, VIA ABC : “Middle income is $200-250,000 or less.” PRES. OBAMA, VIA CBS : “I’m calling on Congress to extend the tax cuts for the 98 percent of Americans who make less than $250,000.” But a 2009 study from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center found only 5 percent of the population makes more than $180,000. And experts estimate only 2 percent make more than $250,000. According to 2011 Census Bureau figures — the median family household income is $62,273. So both candidates’ ceiling of $250,000 is — to put it mildly — a bit high. A Senior Economist at the Center for American Progress offered this: “I broadly define middle class as anyone who has to work for a living.” Which — when meeting voters on the campaign trail — is pretty much everybody.