Are You Middle Class?

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When CNN's John Avalon asked the nation's leaders to consider the real but uncelebrated struggles of families making $250K in expensive cities, my response was: "I don't doubt it can be challenging to put two kids through private school and pay a mortgage on $250,000 a year in an expensive urban area, but I'm not convinced that those families' experience should guide our tax policy."

The Daily Dish put the story to its readers, who have responded with interesting testimonials. Like some families I know, many of them write from the perspective of a very wealthy person living amongst extremely wealthy people. They're trying to keep up with the Jones when the Jones are the Rockefellers. I think Patrick Appel hits the right note:

Living in expensive areas is a sign of wealth; it doesn't make a family middle-class. As of 2008 the median household income in New York County was $68,402. Even in relative terms, $200,000 isn't middle-class in NYC.