Media figures argue that $250,000 in income is "not wealthy"

››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

Several media figures have asserted that annual income of more than $250,000 is -- in the words of Rush Limbaugh -- "not wealthy" in order to attack President Obama's 2011 budget proposal to allow the Bush tax cuts on families earning more than $250,000 per year to expire as scheduled. According to 2006 Census data, households that earn more than $250,000 per year make up approximately two percent of all U.S. households.

Media figures assert that income of $250,000 is not wealthy

Limbaugh: "$250,000 is not wealthy." On the February 1 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, Limbaugh said, "Ladies and gentlemen, $250,000 is not wealthy. And I know that you families, $250,000 -- you're not wealthy. Wealthy -- but Obama calls, the Democrats have always called those kind of people wealthy." [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 2/1/10]

Fox's MacCallum: "[P]eople who make $250,000 -- in some parts of this country, they may not consider themselves rich." During the February 2 broadcast of Fox News' America's Newsroom, co-host Martha MacCallum stated that the revenue provisions in Obama's budget would affect "the rich, that is people who make over $250,000," adding, "in some parts of this country, they might not consider themselves rich." [America's Newsroom, 2/2/10]

CNN's Chetry: "Some would argue that in some parts of the country that [$250,000] is middle class." On the February 1 edition of CNN's American Morning, anchor Kiran Chetry discussed "letting taxes expire for families that make over $250,000," and stated, "Some would argue that in some parts of the country that is middle class." [American Morning, 2/1/10]

Less than 2 percent of households earn more than $250,000 per year

Census data shows that only 2 percent of households earn more than $250,000 annually. According to the 2006 Current Population Survey by the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.2 million out of 116 million households -- less than two percent of all U.S. households -- earn more than $250,000 annually.

Limbaugh reportedly makes $50 million per year

Limbaugh "will be paid about $400 million" through 2016. As Media Matters previously documented, Rush Limbaugh reportedly signed an eight-year, $400 million contract with Clear Channel Communications and its syndication subsidiary, Premiere Radio Networks, in July 2008. According to The New York Times, Limbaugh's "$50 million a year paycheck represents a raise of about $14.4 million a year over his current contract, which was paying him $285 million over eight years and was set to expire in 2009."

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