Media Conservatives Redefine Middle Class To Shield Wealthy Taxpayers From Slightly Higher Rates

Fox Business

Conservative media outlets have falsely suggested that President Obama's tax plan will negatively affect a broad range of taxpayers, while ignoring Obama's own statements that clearly indicate otherwise. In reality, only a small portion of earners would be affected by his proposed tax increases.

Fox Business host Gerri Willis reacted to President Obama's November 9 remarks on the economy by claiming that he plans to raise taxes on “lots and lots” of middle-income people. From Fox Business' Markets Now:

The speculation that Obama's tax plans will affect a large proportion of earners was also put forth in a National Review Online article, claiming that he “seemed especially intractable on tax hikes for the 'wealthy,' a rather broadly defined term.”

However, Obama's statements do not suggest that a large number of earners would be affected by his tax plan. Here's what Obama actually said in his November 9 speech about asking the wealthiest Americans to pay slightly higher taxes on some of their income: 

OBAMA: I am not going to ask students and seniors and middle class families to pay down the entire deficit, while people like me making over $250,000 aren't asked to pay a dime more in taxes.

According to most recent Census data, median household income in the U.S. is $50,054, well below the $250,000 threshold suggested by Obama, and only 2 percent of households earn more than $250,000 a year, leaving the vast majority of Americans unaffected by the proposed tax increases. Furthermore, Obama's tax aspirations have a negligible effect on the economy. According to a recent Congressional Budget Office report, allowing upper-income tax cuts to expire would have a modest effect on growth.