James Steele: And it's" I think we use the term forty five million in the book. I think it's 45 million in the book that we consider the heart of the middle class. And the fact that the middle class is shrinking, I mean there's"
Donald Barlett: There's no debate on that.
James Steele: In fact there's a recent survey by the Pew Foundation, that's got an awful lot of ink. And more people fell out of middle class in the last ten years than any other time in American history. So the fact that, you know the middle class is hurting, shrinking, I think is pretty widely established at this point.
Rob Kall: Okay. When you say that 45 million number, that's the number of people who have tax returns, I think? Not..
James Steele: Right.
Rob Kall: Not" it doesn't count families or children?
James Steele: That's with everything. Yeah.
Rob Kall: [inaudible in background 06.57] I think more than a 100
James Steele: That would be more than... That's right, it would be more than 45.
Rob Kall: Okay.
James Steele: Million persons, it would be families. In some cases it would be an individual. Other cases, a couple. Another case is a family with kids. Right?
Rob Kall: When we talked about the middle class, we talked about the poor. Now what makes us wealthy? The wealthy people? The rich? The.. Your...
James Steele: We talk about" the only month we really quantify in the book are what IRS calls the "richest American'. "The 400 richest tax payers." And we make the point in the book that in the mid '50s the richest Americans paid 51% of their income in federal taxes. By 2007 on the edge of the meltdown, that percentage was down to 16%. And that's the richest ones. I mean there's obviously tons of very, very wealthy people who aren't in that top 400. But that's one quantifiable group that shows very dramatically how taxes have lowered floors to the very wealthiest in this country.
Rob Kall: Now I wanted to ask you about this, because back in the '50s when Dwight Eisenhower was President, there was a 92% tax category.
Donald Barlett: That's exactly right. [James inaudible in background]
Rob Kall: Now what's the story with that? Where does that fit in?