What does it mean to be ‘middle class’ today? Plus: unemployment, tax plans, tax break and pre-k.

November 3, 2008 | Alex Stone

Who Is in the Middle Class?: “Middle class” has become less a position on the income scale than a state of being. Forget the money, for many people, to be “middle class” is to work hard, to struggle to succeed, often against unfair forces.

A Comparison of the Candidates’ Tax Plans: With the election a day away, today seems to be the appropriate time to summarize the differences in the candidates’ plans. The main differences are two:  first, McCain proposes much larger tax cuts than Obama; and second, Obama’s plan tends to favor low- and middle-income taxpayers while McCain’s plan is more beneficial to those with higher incomes.

Small Business: A potential tax break goes wanting in weak economy: When Congress passed the economic stimulus package back in February, the measure contained a huge tax break for small businesses, dramatically increasing a popular deduction on equipment purchases. Now, with a faltering economy, many companies are likely finding that they have to forgo the deduction because they can’t afford to buy or finance a vehicle or computer gear.

Schwarzenegger Wants Unemployment Fund Bolstered: The governor added California’s unemployment insurance fund to a growing to-do list for fixing the state’s faltering finances that he hopes lawmakers will tackle when he calls a special session of the Legislature next week.

Pre-K Spending Moving Forward Despite Tough Times: Headlines proclaiming cutbacks in pre-kindergarten expansions and other education programs are common in these tough times, as are editorials questioning the extent states can afford them. Journalists who are covering stories of strapped state legislatures are reporting on governors like Deval Patrick, who is scaling back early childhood education reforms in Massachusetts.

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Posted in Early Learning, State Economy, Tax and Budget, Work & Family

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