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In Romney’s World, Middle-Income Americans Make $200,000-$250,000

by Cynthia McCabe  |  September 14, 2012

Mitt RomneyThose concerned that Mitt Romney is out of touch with the realities facing most of us in America got a powerful ally on Friday in the form of… Mitt Romney.

On ABC’s Good Morning America, interviewer George Stephanopoulos asked Romney if $100,000 was middle income. Romney responded, “No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less.”

That’ll be news to middle-income households, who actually earn about $50,000, according to a new report from the Census Bureau.

It’s getting harder for those at the very top of the country’s economic ladder, like Mitt Romney, to see the reality for those further down. That’s because the chasm between the richest Americans and the rest of us has more than doubled during the last 50 years, according to a new study out this week from the Economic Policy Institute.

The top 1% of the wealthiest Americans earned 125 times what a typical American family did in 1962. In 2010 that skyrocketed to 288 times the average family’s net worth.

EPI says the cause is twofold (and entirely unsurprising if you ask us): the rich are hauling in more money and the middle class are getting poorer. The median household’s net worth dropped to $57,000 in 2010, down from $73,000 in 1983.

That got Los Angeles Times Money & Co. scribe David Lazarus mulling possible solutions:

What's to be done? Well, we could leave things as they are and watch as the middle class continues to dwindle while more wealth accumulates among the 1%.

Or we can look at tax reform that would attempt to level the playing field and tax all income levels fairly.

Man, tough call.

Learn more about AFSCME’s work for economic equality at afscme.org.

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