Who's Rich? New CTJ Paper Analyzes Presidential Candidates' Definitions of "Rich"

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Several Presidential candidates have proposed allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for wealthy Americans. For Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, "wealthy" means those with income above $250,000, while for former Senator John Edwards, this means those who make more than $200,000. John Edwards thinks people with incomes higher than $200,000 should pay more in Social Security payroll taxes, while Mitt Romney thinks that people with incomes below $200,000 need a new tax break for investments.

There seems to be a perception that people with incomes below $200,000 or $250,000, depending on who you talk to, are "middle-class" people who deserve every tax break they have ever received.

A new paper from Citizens for Tax Justice finds that in 2008, only 3.2 percent of taxpayers nationwide will have adjusted gross income (AGI) greater than $200,000 and only 2.1 percent will have AGI over $250,000. The paper also shows how many taxpayers have incomes higher than these levels in each state.

It further explores how people are often even more confused when the discussion revolves around the "richest one percent," partly because about a fifth of the public seems to believe they're in the top one percent.

Thank you for visiting Tax Justice Blog. CTJ and ITEP staff will soon retire this domain. But ITEP staff are still blogging! You can find the same level of insight and analysis and select Tax Justice Blog archives at our new blog, http://www.justtaxesblog.org/

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