I’m not sure what I make of the deal Pelosi and the House leadership made with Bush to sacrifice a unemployment benefit extension and a food stamp boost for a tax rebate worth between $300 to $1,200 for every person making between $3,000 and $75,000, and every family making between $3,000 and $150,000. On the one hand, it does put money in the hands of those most likely to spend it; then again, food stamps and unemployment benefits do the same thing, and give help to people who are actually suffering, as opposed to all lower and middle-income people. On the one hand, it does apply to people who don’t pay income tax; on the other hand, it isn’t fully refundable. I would have liked both this and unemployment/food stamp hikes, but something’s better than nothing, I suppose.
That means that if you make $75,000 or more a year, no check for you. Forget that fact that you live in NYC or DC or San Francisco, where prices from property to food are outrageous. No, forget that. Some guy living in a mansion in Topeka making $74,999 a year will get his little gift from the US Treasury and you, living in NYC making $75,001 out of a 300 sq ft studio apartment will get nothing. How about my friend who bought an entire house in Baltimore for $275,000 when that would get you a very small studio in DC. I know someone who got an entire house in Ohio for $2000 a month when that would get you a one-bedroom apartment in DC. I have a friend who moved to North Carolina and got offered a bit over $75k a year. He said it was a king’s ransom in NC. In DC, well, again, keep checking out those studios. And another friend has a 900 sq ft condo, and paid more for it than another friend’s parents paid for their 6000 sq ft house.
That’s because far too often the Democrats don’t give a damn about anybody who isn’t a minority or starving to death (both valid causes to be sure, but are they the ONLY causes out there?). If you’re in the middle, you’re on your own.
Suffice it to say, this is bullshit. For one thing, families making $150,000 are, nationally, not the middle. They’re near the top. Really. Median household income in the US is $48,000. Families making three times that much will be getting help from this package. Same for individuals. The median personal income is $25,149, whose ratio with the $75,000 limit is equivalent to that for families. Moreover, individuals making over $75,000 a year represent a grand total of 10.29% of all personal income-earners. Same goes for families; 5.84% of families make over $150,000 a year. Again, these people are not the middle class. They’re rich.
As for the expense of DC apartments, I can’t say I have much sympathy. Living in a city, rather than in a suburb, is a choice. It’s reasonable, yes, but it’s also an expensive choice, one that brings with it higher rental, food, and other prices. A house in Baltimore is worth the same as a studio in DC because the studio’s in DC, which is a luxury in itself. Someone living in a studio in DC on $75,001 isn’t middle-class; he’s just a rich person making an expensive housing decision.
So excuse me if I don’t think much of Aravosis’ plea for the top 10% of singles and top 6% of families.