Our guest blogger is James Kvaal, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
In a now-famous political moment, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) suggested Saturday that the definition of “rich” is earning $5 million or more a year. As Ezra Klein pointed out, by this definition more than 99.9 percent of Americans are poor or middle class.
McCain said it doesn’t matter what he considers rich because “I don’t want to raise anybody’s taxes. I really don’t. In fact, I want to give working Americans a better shot at having a better life.” So which households does he give a better shot at having a better life? According to data from the Tax Policy Center:
— The top 0.1 percent of households – which include a handful of “middle-class” families under McCain’s definition — earn an average of $6.7 million. They would collect at least 18 percent of McCain’s tax cuts, including the extension of the Bush tax cuts.
— Under McCain, each of these super-rich households would receive $992,000, on average.
— In contrast, McCain’s tax plan gives no help to tens of millions of American families, including nearly all middle-class families without dependents and another 34 million who do not owe income taxes (although they do pay other taxes).