As a fan of Garrison Keillor’s “News from Lake Wobegone” where, “all of the children are above average,” I’m always intrigued to find some reference to an ‘average’ so off the mark it strikes me as comical. Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) helped me find a recent example. They quote Senators Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama as referring to ‘wealthy’ as meaning those with incomes above $250,000. Now, according to the census bureau, the 2005 median family income was $44,389. So, maybe these two senators are a bit out of touch, but let’s see by how much. Only 15.7% of families made more than $100,000. They may not consider themselves wealthy, but the rest of the world does, and half the people back home probably do. Moving along, 5.84% make $150,000 or greater, and only 1.5% more than $250,000. Are these people so out of touch that they believe that wealthy only applies to the top 1.5%, or that a much higher number of families are making $200,000 or more?
To be fair, the same article from CTJ tells us that a Time Magazine poll found that 19 percent of those surveyed thought they were in the top 1%. Lake Wobegone, here I come.