When the late Tony Snow stepped down from his position as President George W. Bush’s press secretary, he explained that he simply could not “make it on $168,000 a year.” The comment didn’t play well in Peoria.
The media downplays the enormous wealth enjoyed by disgraced chief executive officers of bankrupted companies, special-interest moguls, lobbying giants, and too many members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. At the same time, it vastly exaggerates grinding poverty in America, which, compared with that of other nations, is virtually nonexistent.
The middle class, on the other hand, gets no respect.
Both parties know that, of course, and when they attempted to capitalize on it during the 2008 election season, they wound up showcasing their ignorance.
Sarah Palin used the term middle class interchangeably with working class, which actually equates to blue collar. The usually astute Thomas Sowell, in a column criticizing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), reported that some people who qualified for the program were making “as much as $80,000”—the implication being that a family making $80,000 is well off and can easily afford health insurance. SCHIP may well be just another redistribution of wealth, but in today’s economy, $80,000 does not mean that you are well off.