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Middle class is $35k to $53k -- NYT's Leonhardt

Focusing on the statistical middle class -- the middle 20 percent of households, as ranked by income -- underlines this point. Households in this group made $35,400 to $52,100 in 2006, the last year for which the Congressional Budget Office has released data. That would describe a household with one full-time worker earning about $17 to $25 an hour. Such hourly pay is typical for firefighters, preschool teachers, computer support specialists, farmers, members of the clergy, mail carriers, secretaries and truck drivers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Taking into account both taxes and tax credits, the average household in this group paid a total income tax rate of just 3 percent. A good number of people, in fact, paid no net income taxes. They are among the alleged free riders.

Yes, 47% of Households Owe No Taxes. Look Closer.
Published: April 13, 2010
The portion of households that owe no income tax is a popular talking point on cable television and talk radio but relies on a cleverly selective reading of the facts.


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