+ An increase in middle-class incomes is the real myth
The writer of a recent letter entitled, “The shrinking middle class is a myth,” surely thought that his facts would prove the headline conclusion but, ironically, he has equally proven the opposite. He believes that because the number of people earning more than $100,000 has doubled and a reduced percentage of Americans now earn between $30,000 and $100,000, the middle class must be getting richer. Sadly, his statistics, even if true, are a mix of percentages, gross numbers and omissions that can only distort reality.
To demonstrate the fallacy of the writer’s thinking, let us suppose that 30 years ago there were 1,000 people in the middle class of whom 990 earned an average of $60,000 while the other 10 earned $120,000 each. This would be a total of $60.6 million earned. Now, let the number of this population earning $120,000 double, while the average real income of those earning less than $100,000 falls by just 5%. This would be comparable to the actual loss of real income due to additional payroll taxes paid by working people. Twenty are now earning $120,000 each, and the other 980 are averaging $57,000. Those earning the lesser amount are a reduced percentage of the whole, and all 1,000 people now earn only $58.26 million. Income of the middle class has shrunk by $2.34 million, and this is completely according to the writer’s “facts.” The writer has proved exactly what he set out to disprove. His conclusion that middle-class incomes have increased is the real myth.
T. Guy Spencer
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