GOP Sen. Rob Portman's assessment of what "middle class" means in terms of income is further proof of how out of touch the Republican Party is from the reality of most Americans' lives.
According to a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau, middle class incomes in America are the highest on average that they have ever been.
Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman must have gotten a little confused by that report, though.
Because while the Bureau notes that between 2015 and 2016, median income in the U.S. rose to $59,039 — an increase of 3.2 percent — Portman offered a very different assessment of what classifies as a “middle class income.”
During a discussion of the tax scheme being pushed by the Trump administration and Republican Party leaders, Fox News host Leland Vittert pressed Portman to give the American people a clear explanation of what a “middle class tax cut” means.
“The only thing everybody in Washington seems to agree on is that this tax cut should be for the middle class, which begs the next question: What is the middle class?,” Vittert asked. “When will the Senate finally define for Americans who gets the tax cuts and what the income brackets are?”
Portman tried to dodge the direct request, saying that “it is focused on the middle class” before going on to talk about job creation and “[bringing] back investments to America.” And he again used the vague phrase “middle class tax cut” without offering any actual numbers.
Vittert didn’t let it drop, though, and when he finally got Portman to cough up a number, it was obvious why the senator had been trying to avoid doing so.
“You can’t put in a bill — you know better than I do — ‘middle class tax cut,’ Vittert stated. “Don’t the American people have a right to hear something other than just ‘middle class tax cut’ over and over?”
Portman rambled on about having the proposals analyzed and claimed that “the actual numbers are not all in place yet.” But when Vittert asked where Portman would draw the line for middle-class incomes for his constituents in Ohio, Portman finally offered up a number.
“About $150 grand for a family,” he declared.
Considering that number is about $100,000 over the median income, a whole lot of middle class families, in Ohio and across the nation, would likely beg to differ with Portman.
It is unsurprising for a Republican politician to evince such a disconnect with the reality of daily life for the vast majority of the country. After all, this is a party currently led by a man who thinks health insurance only costs $12 a month and who has on his staff an economic adviser who thinks you can buy a new car or renovate a kitchen for $1,000.
A party that keeps telling people afraid of losing health care coverage to just go to the emergency room for whatever medical care they need, and that claims any and all birth control needs can be met at the local grocery store, clearly does not exactly have its finger on the pulse of middle class lives.
A whole lot of working Americans would love to be making what Portman thinks they’re earning. But the tax scam he and his party are pushing sure isn’t going to get them there.