Note that the figure includes all federal taxes—the income tax rate faced by these households, meanwhile, is much, much lower. In 2011, for example, the total federal tax rate for the lower-middle fifth of households was 7.9 percent, but the income tax rate was actually negative; the total federal tax rate for the middle-fifth of households in 2011 was 12.3 percent, while their income tax rate averaged just 2.4 percent.
Hmm … if rising federal taxes aren’t the reason middle-class families are feeling such a squeeze—and they are feeling a squeeze—what could it be? Maybe wages, as companies squeeze workers to increase CEO pay and profits?
While contract workers at Amazon still won’t receive paid leave under the company’s new policy, it has made strides toward ensuring that at least some of its lower-wage workers see some benefits. Nestled in the new Amazon announcement on paid leave for fathers in October was a new category of covered workers: more than 100,000 warehouse and customer service workers who will receive the benefit for the first time.
This move to cover both salaried and hourly workers (though not part-time or temporary employees) makes Amazon a tech outlier when it comes to paid leave. New birth or adoptive parents who have worked for the company for more than a year will now receive six weeks of paid leave, and new birth mothers may now take up to 20 weeks off, including four weeks prior to giving birth.
● Leaving out contract workers is a big deal, but this is still a significant advance in the unequal world of paid leave.