Tax cuts: what is the middle cl, and are you part of it?

It is on them that the government now wishes to focus its efforts, even if the president says he has already done a lot. Asked about TF1, Emmanuel Macron promised that the tax cut of two billion euros by the end of his five-year term will be “focused” on “the middle cles”. “We must pursue a trajectory of lower taxes on our middle cles,” he had already said in an interview. But one question remains: what is the “middle cl”?

Face to Gilles Bouleau, Monday evening, Emmanuel Macron described in his own way what the “middle cl” corresponds to in France, without however giving figures as to his income. They are “the French men and women who work hard, who want to bring up their children well and who, today, the cost of living has increasedbecause the wage dynamic is not always there, are struggling to make ends meet.

In his interview with L’Opinion, Sunday, Emmanuel Macron had sown some clues and given the elements of a more precise and quantified definition of this part of the population. “The taxation of middle-cl income is too high and is accelerating too quickly, he lamented, laying the groundwork for his announcement. It crushes purchasing power gains between 1500 and 2500 euros. “I’m talking about those who are too rich to be helped and not rich enough to live well,” he summed up.

What income does the middle cl earn?

Preceding the announcements of Emmanuel Macron, Gabriel Attal had also made an eye at the beginning of May to these same French in an interview with Le Monde. “The middle cles are those who run our economy through their work and finance our public services through their taxes, without benefiting from social istance or income,” he explained. And the Minister of Public Accounts to place these middle-cl French people “between the 4th and 8th deciles” in terms of income.

So what does this correspond to? These deciles are calculated by the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (Insee). According the most recent data, concerning the year 2019, French households in the fourth decile have an annual standard of living above 20,850 euros. The “richest” in the 8th decile earn at most 35,309 euros. The “middle cl”, according to the definition of Gabriel Attal, would therefore have a standard of living between 20,850 euros and 35,309 euros each year.

According INSEE’s definitionthe standard of living corresponds to the disposable income of the household divided by the number of consumption units (1 when it is an adult, + 0.5 per person over 14 years of age and + 0.3 for children under 14).

Variable definitions

The Observatory of Inequalities thus estimates that the middle cles correspond to 50% of the population, i.e. French people whose standard of living is situated between the poorest 30% of households and the top 20%. Thus, according to his figures, a single person would be in the middle cl if he earns after taxes and social benefits between 1495 euros and 2693 euros net each month; a single-parent family if they earn between 1944 and 3501 euros per month; a childless couple if the household earns between 2243 and 4040 euros…

Other definitions of the “middle cl” exist. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) believes that “people living in middle-income households” are households earning between 75% and 200% of the median national income. Because in France, the median standard of living is 22,040 euros (according to INSEE), a household would be middle cl according to this definition if it earns between 16,530 and 44,080 euros. In the United States, the Pew Research Center estimates that the middle cl earns between 66% and 200% of the median income.

What will the government’s definition of the “middle cl” be? We will have to look at who the government will actually concentrate the tax cuts on to find the answer.

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