For Parade Magazine, the Middle Class Starts at 100K

Claiming that “something needs to be done–and fast” to save Social Security, Parade magazine’s Gary Weiss (11/22/09) suggests a downside to the idea of raising the ceiling on taxed income, so that income above the current $106,800 would be subject to the Social Security tax: “Raising the cap is popular among Social Security reformers but would increase the tax burden on the middle class, since more of their income would be subject to the tax. ” (By contrast, “Raising the payroll tax rate would disproportionately affect lower-income workers.”)

According to the Census Bureau, less than 5 percent of individuals over the age of 15 in the U.S. have incomes exceeding $100,000 a year. That’s a peculiar definition of “the middle class.”

If Weiss truly believes that “experts agree that the longer we wait, the more difficult it will be to solve the systemâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s financial ills,” he ought to read Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot’s Social Security: The Phony Crisis.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.