In a nation where median household income hovers just above $50,000 a year and jobless claims are soaring, one would think the political and financial elite might be mindful of stepping on the little guy when they’re speaking in public.
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele? Not so much.
At a recent debate with possible Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford, Jr., Steele boasted that after taxes, $1 million “is not a lot of money,” apparently trying to leverage a rhetorical attack against President Obama’s tax policies.
President Obama has said he wants the Bush-era tax cuts on wealthy Americans to expire, returning tax rates to Clinton-era levels and shifting more of the burden from poor families to those earning over $250,000 per year.
“Trust me, after taxes, a million dollars is not a lot of money,” Steele said, according to the Associated Press.
Ford reportedly retorted, “Who in here makes a million dollars a year?” No hands were raised, to which Steele asked, “How many of you want to make a million dollars a year?”
Just two percent of Americans earn over $250,000 per year, with membership in higher income brackets growing even thinner, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Current rates tax people making over $372,950 per year some 35%. Think Progress notes that taxes on $1 million would still leave about $675,000 — a total which Steele apparently scoffs at.
The RNC chairman earns as much as $20,000 for every speaking engagement, according to The Washington Times.