Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
The news this Tax Day is that, for the second year in a row, a family of four earning the median income is paying less in federal income taxes than at any time since at least 1955, according to the Tax Policy Center.
But does this actually mean anything? After all, since 1955, a multiplicity of family types has proliferated, with many different earning situations. Does “family of four” mean anything like what it meant back then?
In 1955 “family of four” described a single-earner nuclear unit: a married man and woman with two children.
“We’re certainly more heterogeneous these days,” New York University’s Wayne Professor of Taxation, Daniel Shaviro, told Salon.
Yet, look to the footnotes of the Census Bureau information, and you will note that despite demographic changes, a “family of four” today still means the very same thing it did over 60 years ago: Mommy, Daddy and two kids.
“All calculations are for a married couple and income is assumed to be earned by one spouse,” the Tax Policy Center website notes.
But in 2005, according to census data, 42 percent of families had two income earners, and around 34 percent of children lived in single-parent families. Of course, this does not change the fact that taxes are historically low. But the “four person family” statistic does not pay attention to the fact that a dual-earner family is dually burdened with Social Security taxes and cannot claim the same spousal benefits. As Shaviro noted, “Secondary earners are taxed fairly highly.”
There is nothing misleading about analyzing the income tax burden of a married couple with two children with just one earning spouse. It is mistaken, however, to assume that is what’s understood by the term “family of four” in 2011.
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email firstname.lastname@example.org.More Natasha Lennard.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.