Should TransIncomed people be able to identify with their lower-income identities?

If Karl Marx (or Bernie Sanders) looked at my tax returns, he would call me "middle-class."  But that term makes me very upset.  Ever since I got my first job, I've always identified, however much I made, with poor people.  Even in years when I've made a solid five-figure income, I have felt like a person who makes about $5,000 a year, below the taxable level.

That's why I get very upset when I am asked to pay taxes every year.  It seems to go against my self-declared income identity.  I feel as though the government is forcing me to be something I'm not.  I pay  five or ten times the taxes of many other taxpayers, but I feel like the poor person who gets the same highways and national security benefits but pays nothing for them.

I suspect that there are a lot of people like this out there.  I call us the TransIncomed.  We are people who make five- or six-figure incomes but identify more with people making less than $5,000 a year.  I know I do.  Whenever I go shopping, I always buy the least expensive supermarket brands of food.  I buy clothes at Target even though a perfectly good Macy's is not far.  I've put on my best pajamas to buy genuine imitation furniture from my local urban Walmart.  I've even fantasized about riding on a public bus.  In my mind, I know I am a poor person.

I remember feeling this way as young as a five years old.  I remember that my father was sitting, frustrated, with a stack of papers.  I said, "What are you doing, Daddy?"

And he said, "Son" (remember, I've only changed my income identity, not my gender identity!), "I'm paying taxes.  Because I work hard, the government demands I be punished for it by taking away my money."

"That's not fair!" I said.

"The worst part is, the tax system is so complicated, they take not only my money, but my time as well," said my father.

At that moment, I knew I was poor. I never wanted to be in my father's situation, giving away a large portion of my hard-earned money to nameless people, sweating over a stack of papers for days for the privilege of figuring out how to do so.  I have felt this way since I was five years old – born into a middle-class family, but with a TransIncomed indentity.

And yet the government insists on assigning me an Income identity born from my work, rather than how I feel.

I think this is discrimination.  I think Washington should pass legislation outlawing discrimination based on income identity.  We should not be judged by how much money is in our bank account; income identity is based not on arbitrary financial figures, but psychological feelings.

I suspect there are  many more like myself out there.  Let me know in the comments section if you, too, may be TransIncomed.  Are you middle-class but feel as though you've always been poor?  Do you suffer discrimination for being labeled based on your financial identity rather than your self-described one?

This article was written by Ed Straker, senior writer of, the conservative news site.

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