What government handout programs help the middle class only?

Cash for clunkers seems that way. Too rich, you have no clunker. Too poor you can’t qualify or want a new car.

College loans are the same way. Rich have savings, so why pay interest. Poor can’t afford any of it, even the books.

FHA only helps those who have saved for a down payment and qualify for a loan. Once intended to lift lower-middle to middle class housing, with the grand inflation of entry level prices, it now it only helps middle class.

What others?

I don’t think your college loan example qualifies literally based on the title of your thread. Plenty of poor kids get a combination of scholarships/grants/students loans/work-study programs to go through college. I was raised with middle-class values but my parents were legally bankrupt when I started college and I basically put myself through a very expensive and private undergraduate school on all the types of financial aid mentioned above. Grad school was similar. I certainly wasn’t the only one who did things like that.

I don’t know about middle-class only, but SBA loans require a certain amount of capital be raised before they’ll get you a loan to start a business. (That’s one reason why the military’s new offer of $40,000 to veterans is so significant. Use it as your contribution on an SBA loan and you can get $400,000.)

ARC loans were part of the stimulus and designed to help businesses hurt by high interest payments. You had to be between certain sizes, have been in business for at least a certain time, and show a history of financial health and profitability.

And I’m not so sure about your student loan example either. I’m sure Bill Gates’ kids will not need student loans, but a lot of people who are far richer than middle class do not have the kind of savings required for college tuition.

Finally… is it really fair to call any loan a “handout”? Student loans, mortgages, SBA loans and ARC loans are all designed to be paid back with interest. The government guarantees the loan, but they’re not exactly unprofitable. The SBA in particular gets pathetic amounts of financing from the government.

Loans and grants are different. Loans require the ability to pay back, so you can’t get them if you have bad credit or bankruptcy within 7 years.

Until recently, Larry Ellison drove a 1998 Lincoln Continental. Trust me, it qualified as a clunker (unfortunately the Taurus SHO didn’t qualify as a valid replacement).

Poor can get loans and grants.

Prices have dropped, and I’m not sure about now, but until recently you could do 100% financing with FHA. Of course you may be confusing the distinction of classes. I’d still say FHA is for the working class, and the lower-end of the middle class.

Poor qualify for Pell Grants and student loans are based on the money you will earn after graduation with a degree/certificate, not ability to pay it back at the time of the loan.

Subsidies for home improvments/energy conservation tax rebates only benefit homeowners.

Tax breaks tend to only benefit the middle class. The poor don’t pay taxes and the percentage of difference is not a significant dollar amount to the wealthy.

Plus many deductions phase out with rising income/become irrelevant as you move into AMT territory.

Farm subsidies?

Those greatly benefit very large corporate farms, so it’s not middle class only.

That’s not really true. Loans need to be paid back and grants don’t - that’s a better distinction.

Stafford student loan annual limits, for instance, are based on dependent/independent status and the number of years you’ve been in school, not credit worthiness.

Only most loans, even government loans, are based on credit worthiness.

As many have pointed out, poor college students get grants. Middle-class kids don’t get grants. Contrast me and my husband–we both went to the same eminent public university:

Husband–poor. 6 kids, no assets, little income. Gov-t grants and work-study = excellent college education, no debt. 2 brothers did the same at the same time (same college too).

Me–middle-class. 5 kids, no extra money, but a house. Though my parents could not pay the costs of college, the gov’t is of the opinion that they could take out a second mortgage. I got a grant/loan from a foundation, worked, and sometimes asked for a few hundred bucks to pay the rent. Graduated with moderate debt and paid off in ~5 years. Thanks, Santa Barbara Foundation! :slight_smile:

This.

The mortgage interest deduction is probably the single most valued middle class “handout.” Too poor to buy a house, or too rich to notice a difference (IIRC, the deduction phases out on home loans over $1 million-- which, interestingly enough, isn’t a ridiculously expensive home on the coasts these days, certainly within the upper range of what passes for the middle class in cities like Washington, D.C., L.A., San Fran, etc.).

Also-- the wage cap on Social Security for 2009 is $106,800. Make over that and you’re not paying any additional $$$ for Social Security. If you’re rich you won’t notice it, but again, six figures in a high-cost-of-living state isn’t luxurious by any stretch, so once you hit that number for the year, you get a little “raise” for the rest of the year (helps with Christmas gifts).

Finally, the AMT is evil, and I hope to avoid it for as long as I can. EVIL.

I’d give up every single tax break in the world-- including my very helpful mortgage interest deduction-- in exchange for a flat tax. Enough with the social engineering through a loophole-ridden tax code, above the poverty level every American citizen should pay their fair share, no less, no more.

Take it to GD if you want, but a flat tax is not “everyone paying their fair share.”

As a middle-class college student who got zero help from the federal or state government since my “parents made too much money,” or didn’t have a litter of kids, I must also disagree. No, instead the poor, inner city students get all the grants and most end up dropping out after a semester or two anyway once they realize they didn’t want to go to college anyway. Thanks for choosing to give the free ride to them, Uncle Sam!

Poor people pay about 30% in taxes. The destitute with almost nothing only pay sales tax. I don’t know how you think poor people pay no taxes.

Almost 70% of households making under $50k will have no tax liability for 2009:
http://money.cnn.com/2009/09/30/pf/taxes/who_pays_taxes/index.htm

From that article they have no Federal Income Tax. They still have State Income Tax and other taxes.

As was just said, that’s no Federal income tax liability. Households making under $17,000 have a total Federal tax rate of about 4%, those making more than $17 grand but less than $39,000 pay about 10%, and those making between $39 and $50,000 pay about a 14% Federal tax rate.

The total Federal tax rates calculated include payroll taxes, corporate taxes, and excise taxes.

Cite.

Ironically, the AMT is a virtually flat tax. It starts at 26% and goes up to 28%. It allows fewer tax breaks. And it makes sure not to affect anyone below the poverty line.

So, the AMT is exactly what you ask for in the paragraph after you hope to avoid it and blast it for being evil.

Well yeah unless they live in a state with no state income tax. Therefore, poor people should just move to one of these states! :wink: