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<<<< But I wonder how many people are (a) eligible for a fully deductible
IRA >>Well over half.In 1998 the limit for full deductibility for a
couple is $50K, well over the $42K median household income. In addition
many couples with higher incomes will be able to deduct a spousal IRA
because the primary breadwinners pension plan no longer taints the
<<(b) are able to afford it.
>>IMHO, almost all of the above.
However, many people choose not to fund the IRA. In 1996 the IRS reports 3.9 million tax returns deducted about $7.7 billion. This is 3.5% of tax returns.

Well, we have a problem here. You claim that "almost all who are eligible for an IRA can afford it." But when we look at the actual figures, it would appear that the people, themselves, _don't_ seem to think that they can afford it.

In several decades of beating my head into the wall, I have finally resigned myself to the fact that other people think that they are more of an expert in their own life than I am. And this is why I said that most people who are eligible for a deductable IRA can't afford to fund it. The evidence supports this statement (although, of course, there could be alternative explanations.)
Nonetheless, the fact is that very few people put money into a deductible IRA, for whatever reasons, so it's not worth spending much time on that subject.
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