How Much Will Your Taxes Jump?
January 16, 2013 8:47 PM   Subscribe

The Wall Street Journal put together this helpful infographic showing how recent tax changes will affect the typical American tax payer.
posted by j03 (125 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Divide that single person figure by... a lot, and it starts to become relevant to me.
posted by codacorolla at 8:48 PM on January 16, 2013 [49 favorites]


Yeah, married with three kids here. I will never ever ever see $650,000 in one year. Way to not write for 98% of the country.

Also? Generally an "interactive graphic" is... interactive. What that is, is a picture.
posted by nushustu at 8:53 PM on January 16, 2013 [57 favorites]


Seriously, why do the people in that picture look so sad? Even after the tax increase, they're all making so much money!
posted by nushustu at 8:54 PM on January 16, 2013 [50 favorites]


Single parent makes $260k per year? Hah! Oh Wall Street Journal, you're the living end!
posted by wormwood23 at 8:55 PM on January 16, 2013 [83 favorites]


I was ready to jump on the graphic as well, but it seems to be a link problem - there is a slightly more interactive section that includes the effects on low income folks and college students, in addition to the harried-looking rich people.

To get there, you have to scroll halfway down the article and click on "how does the tax increase effect you."

In short, taxes are going up for everyone
posted by blahblahblah at 8:56 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can't help but think that the "single mother" illustration is a riff on this iconic photo.
posted by j03 at 8:56 PM on January 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


Lumpenproletariat. You tell me.
posted by telstar at 8:57 PM on January 16, 2013


Oh those poor, sad looking, people with their sad, six figure incomes. How can that couple making half a million a year possibly pay for their four doe-eyed children now that their taxes will increase by 20K a year, or three whole percent of their income?
posted by Dreadnought at 8:58 PM on January 16, 2013 [32 favorites]


Ah, hello one percenters!
posted by crapmatic at 8:58 PM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


WTF, WSJ? Did Anon take over your site?
posted by bh at 9:01 PM on January 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


How the fuck do retired people make $180k/yr with only $52k/yr of investment income?
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:02 PM on January 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


Oh, so the black couple pays nothing extra but the miserable looking white family of four eking out a life on a mere 650k will pay more.
posted by munchingzombie at 9:02 PM on January 16, 2013 [12 favorites]


How nice all these people have investments.
posted by Mezentian at 9:03 PM on January 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Hilariously stupid.
posted by empath at 9:04 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also... don't read the comments.
An example: The 1% worked hard and in our free society and they are punished. Oh maybe we are not free but just another socialist state.
posted by Mezentian at 9:05 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Even on the interactive one, it entirely skips the middle class. You're either a college student, retired, or very rich. Weird.
posted by MythMaker at 9:06 PM on January 16, 2013 [12 favorites]


Holy shit... way to reveal your real audience, NYT. Notice the article headline wasn't, "Hey! We're going to let you keep your food stamps, you lucky so-and-so!"
posted by tripping daisy at 9:06 PM on January 16, 2013


they forgot a graphic/tab somewhere between the higher income professional and the retired people. there's like a 100K gap in there (is this what they mean by the disappearing middle class)
posted by fuzzypantalones at 9:07 PM on January 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Even the retired couple with zero tax increase are unhappy! Because their grandchildren never write or call.
posted by roger ackroyd at 9:08 PM on January 16, 2013 [30 favorites]


Typical? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
posted by Garm at 9:08 PM on January 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


Well taxes are actually going up for most everyone because the payroll tax holiday, which was in effect for the last two years, was allowed to expire.
posted by shivohum at 9:08 PM on January 16, 2013


YOU MONSTERS! LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE!
posted by !Jim at 9:11 PM on January 16, 2013 [19 favorites]


whelp, looks like its 'up against the wall' time again. you'd think they'd try and space out the 'let them eat cake'-style self-immolation events.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:15 PM on January 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the frowny faces are more than a little hard to take seriously.

"A family with four kids can hardly put food on the table making $650k a year. Thurston, Jr., has fencing lessons, Buffy has both sculpture and equestrian, and the twins have to travel for lacrosse. Add in the vacation home and the timeshare and we're barely making ends meet, and yet you're going to raise our taxes?! But what do you expect with a Goddamn socialist in the White House..."
posted by mosk at 9:17 PM on January 16, 2013 [22 favorites]


How the fuck do retired people make $180k/yr with only $52k/yr of investment income?

That family is part of the Familes. It wasn't me that told you, but she's actually called Cinzia the Knife, and is the best jewel thief in the 5 boroughs.
posted by jaduncan at 9:17 PM on January 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


No household making less than $180,000 a year?

"Epistemic closure."

Oh, I just got the the interactive portion. What about any households or persons making between $40,000 and $150,000? Do they not exist?

Or does including them destroy the "all of your taxes are going up, ALL OF THEM" thesis?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:19 PM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was sure this was a joke. I keep looking for the Onion logo.
posted by docpops at 9:19 PM on January 16, 2013 [18 favorites]


I live in a two-income household and we are not really even close to six figures.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:21 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know what's extra dumb about this -- the payroll tax hike genuinely hurts people on the lower end of the income scale, because they're already living paycheck to paycheck, so I don't know why they didn't include any of them. (I guess because they don't read the journal.)
posted by empath at 9:24 PM on January 16, 2013


Wait is there an interactive part? All I see is an image.
posted by !Jim at 9:24 PM on January 16, 2013


Wall Street Journal caters to monied bourgeoisie. News at 11.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:24 PM on January 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


I hope I can make them sadder in the interactive part. Sadder, then happier.
posted by !Jim at 9:24 PM on January 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


(We down here in the 5-digit range can't actually read)
posted by shakespeherian at 9:25 PM on January 16, 2013 [15 favorites]


Ah, the average WSJ-reader household income is $230k.
posted by empath at 9:25 PM on January 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


After years and years of training, I make six figures. It's nice. Expenses have gone up, but I'm also saving quite a bit of money and paying down debt. I never ever want to be the douchebag who whines about what he can't buy. I'm secure now for the first time, ever, and I can goddamn wait to get a new TV. A little bit more in taxes? Okay. Just make it easier on my sister, who ekes by on two incomes, or my mom, who's medically disabled and has insane gas bills.
posted by adoarns at 9:27 PM on January 16, 2013 [82 favorites]


Wait is there an interactive part?

You look at the amount of tax increase these poor schleps have to bear and you feel their sadness well up inside you.

HOW THE HELL MORE INTERACTIVE DO YOU WANT IT TO GET ?!?
posted by mazola at 9:30 PM on January 16, 2013 [39 favorites]


I finally found the real interactive interactive bit (scroll down to the orange silhouettes in the article tab and click "View Interactive"). They do show a larger range of incomes, but the wording -- well:
Lower-Income Working Couple - Income: $20,000 - $30,000

This couple gets socked by the loss of the payroll tax break for people who work. They could also take a hit from new limits on health-care flexible spending plan contributions, part of the 2010 health care overhaul.

Average tax rate under new law: 1.3%

Average federal tax change: Up $279, or 446%
Yes, that is real money for people in that income bracket, but note how scary that 446% is. And how many people earning that kind of money would be contributing to a health-care flexible spending plan?

(Were Republicans really trying to keep the payroll tax break? I thought that the Democrats had to fight to keep it last time around.)
posted by maudlin at 9:31 PM on January 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


I finally got the "interactive" portion working and...
They could also take a hit from new limits on health-care flexible spending plan contributions, part of the 2010 health care overhaul.

I'm thinking that's that damned, socialist Obamacare, making it so couples on less than $30k can actually afford healthcare.

Also, nice trucker hat, poor person. But don't poor people have oodles of kids and suck on the welfare teat? I am concerned this graph is inaccurate.
posted by Mezentian at 9:33 PM on January 16, 2013


So the point of this picture is that all these people can quite reasonably afford a small tax hike, right? Because that's what I'm seeing here.
posted by sparkletone at 9:35 PM on January 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


There is an actual interactive graphic, and it is here.

The only thing is, the tax increases are pretty slight, but most laughable are the large increases showing for people making over 1mil per year. The thing that is funny to me is that everyone I know that is a "millionaire" just lives off their investment income, which is taxed at capital gains, in the 15-20% range instead of this 39+% range.

So I don't know who is actually making more than a mil per year in income. CEOs is pretty much it, right?
posted by mathowie at 9:36 PM on January 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


Counting deductions, all four families on the first page are in the top 3% of earners. My heart, it bleeds for them.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 9:37 PM on January 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


No, the point is that millionaires are hit hardest with an average increase of 3.6%!
posted by Mezentian at 9:37 PM on January 16, 2013


So the point of this picture is that all these people can quite reasonably afford a small tax hike, right? Because that's what I'm seeing here.

Reasonably? Well.... Yes.

By any definition of "fairly"? Also yes.

But happily? Well, I think the pictures speak for themselves.
posted by graphnerd at 9:38 PM on January 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


So I don't know who is actually making more than a mil per year in income. CEOs is pretty much it, right?

Technically, yes. But even then, CEOs (at least of publicly-traded companies) make much, much more in capital gains than income. So even they have little reason to frown.
posted by graphnerd at 9:42 PM on January 16, 2013


So I don't know who is actually making more than a mil per year in income. CEOs is pretty much it, right?

Often not even them, due to payment via stock options.
posted by jaduncan at 9:51 PM on January 16, 2013


I remember the one year I worked like 3 months and my parents paid less taxes than I did because the capital gains tax rate was so low.

Yeah, capitalism only seems to work if you have a lot of money in the first place.
posted by hellojed at 9:59 PM on January 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm just left wondering who are these people? What does that single mother do for a living?
posted by wotsac at 10:00 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


blahblahblah: "taxes are going up for everyone"

Not for people invested in hedge funds and private equity with "carry". That's still at 15%. And tech and IP-laden corporations still get tax credit for income hiding through transfer pricing to tax-free regions outside the U.S. Basically, payroll tax as a proportion of the total govt take went up, which is in line with the historical trend that has proportionately reduced corporate taxes as a proportion of the take by nearly 70% since the 1950s.
posted by meehawl at 10:02 PM on January 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


Oh no! The US tax rates are now only the second lowest they've ever been ever! However will anyone cope???
posted by Sys Rq at 10:07 PM on January 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


Wow, it looks like all of those folks are going to be hit hard by taxes! It's going to be a tough year for the purveyors of monocles, bags stenciled with dollar signs, and SkyMall.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:09 PM on January 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


I feel so bad for these sad sad people that I want to pull them out of their limo and end their misery.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:09 PM on January 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


My single mother made about that much when my sister and I were in middle and high school.

We had a cute little summer house on Cape Cod and she bought us a nice used car when I got my license.

Maybe if she'd paid an extra three grand in taxes, we would't have been able to afford to go skiing quite so often.

Which is all to say that those sad-faced infographics are some serious bullshit.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:14 PM on January 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


Taxes will jump, and then all these sad, rich people will jump from the windows of their Wall Street office buildings. The good news is that they still have so much cash that they'll land safely in piles of $50's and $100's, giggling like 7 year olds in raked-up leaves.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:29 PM on January 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Why did the Wall Street Journal make it impossible to link to their fancy interactive thing, replacing it instead with a crappy infographic about rich people? This seems like a really dumb thing to do.

Meanwhile, blahblahblah is right. You have to click here, then scroll down to the orange silhouettes of people on the left side. On those orange silhouettes, click the button that says "View Interactive." That'll take you to the actual interactive thing that is a bit more balanced than whatever it is we're taken to in the main link.

I tried everything I could, but there's really no way to deep-link to it. You have to click that stupid "View Interactive" button.
posted by koeselitz at 10:43 PM on January 16, 2013


I finally get this infographic: those children are put to work in the salt mines, which helps their single mom make a six-figure salary. No wonder they look so sad!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:44 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


tylerkaraszewski: "How the fuck do retired people make $180k/yr with only $52k/yr of investment income?"

When you withdraw from a traditional IRA of 401k that is tax deferred, those withdrawals are considered taxable income.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:01 PM on January 16, 2013


When I saw this on Kevin Drum's blog I first thought it was a joke. I mean, c'mon! All those frowny faces over their huge 6 figure incomes? A joke! Surely? ... surely? No?

Jesus christ, these folks are terrible. Not only do they want even lower taxes for their megabux, but they think the rest of us proles should retire later, too. Pitchforks: too good for 'em.
posted by barnacles at 11:11 PM on January 16, 2013


"Oh, so the black couple pays nothing extra but the miserable looking white family of four eking out a life on a mere 650k will pay more."

Aw, man, shared helicopter rides. That's the worst.

(Can all of us who remember the bromides about how Murdoch's purchase of the WSJ wouldn't impact journalistic standards have a good giggle now? At least prior to his takeover, the families wouldn't be as po' faced.)
posted by klangklangston at 11:16 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Those kids have every reason to look sad. Do you have any idea how little they get to see their parents? It takes some serious hours to get into those income brackets. But those parents made their choices themselves.

But otherwise, Metafilter always shocks me when you get into this topic. For such an amazing bunch of intelligent people, you really seem to leave your brains in lost-luggage when it comes time to discuss folks that earn good salaries.

I'll grant you all manner of sympathy, because I know how hard it hurts just to imagine making money like that. But still people, you are a HUGE part of the problem. Yep. Hate to say it, but it's true. I've said it before, more or less: These are not the "rich" people you need want to hate on. These are people with jobs that earn a high salary. These are people who are just as likely to get laid-off in the next corporate merger as anyone else. In some regards, even more.

More importantly, these are the people you need on your side, if you want to accomplish any meaningful lasting change. These are the upper-middle class, educated professionals.

Every time you all start screaming for the blood of these folks, you drive them hard into supporting the interests of the real rich folks, the ones that own everything and pay scant capital gains taxes. And the rich folks are there, assuring them that Conservatives are the only thing preventing them getting dragged into the public square and beaten, or worse.

Every time they manipulate the public debate about taxes such that these high-salary earners complain, and you all froth at the mouth over it, the rich get to laugh their considerable asses off. It's all so predictable, and it makes you smart folk look so stupid. You really ought to learn better who you need as allies, and how to win them. Until you get these UMC folks on your side, you'll gain damn little.

And all because you think it feels good to get your hate on. Counter productive waste of time and effort, and it's the "dark side".
posted by Goofyy at 11:18 PM on January 16, 2013 [27 favorites]


I truly loathe this kind of manipulative graphic. Even though you look at this and know it presents a distorted view of the income distribution, it's really difficult to avoid being subtly influenced by it. It's an anchoring effect, and we've known about those since Tversky and Kahneman's work in the early 1970s. Sure, you know that a 250k household income is on the high side, but most of us don't know the true numbers, so we revise downward a bit. Maybe we guess that 150k is reasonable for a middle class household income. After all, that's what the WSJ "interactive" graphic lists as a professional (higher income) salary. And for just a brief second, that's exactly what I did.

But the psychology literature tells me that people never adjust downward enough, and bitter past experience tells me that the WSJ lies. I couldn't be bothered looking up the US numbers, but I went and looked up on the ABS website where $150k household income with 2 kids would put you in terms of equivalised net income in Australia. And hey, it turns out to be somewhere in the 80th-90th percentile range, depending on who earns what. Median household income in Australia is only about $70k. Maybe median US income is higher but I'm guessing not by enough to save the WSJ graphic from being anything other than deeply misleading.

I can't help thinking that it's not just a lie about incomes, it's a huge lie about incomes that helps you believe a smaller lie about incomes.
posted by mixing at 11:24 PM on January 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


And all because you think it feels good to get your hate on. Counter productive waste of time and effort, and it's the "dark side".

The semiotics of this graphic are pretty insidious. The people pictured are all sad. So sad! Their tiny tax increases, which they will not even notice, have made them sad. OBAMA MAKES LITTLE CHILDREN OF SINGLE MOTHERS SAD!

The only people pictured not getting a tax increase are black. 'COS OBAMA TAKES CARE OF HIS OWN, YO! They still look sad though, for consistency, I suppose

This thread, to me, is about hating on the WSJ and it's misleading, crypto-yet-bleedingly-obvious-racist-classist bullshit, not upper middle class people per se. And that hate is really not unreasonable. Don't mistake holding someone to account as mindless 'hating'.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:44 PM on January 16, 2013 [29 favorites]


Notice the article headline wasn't, "Hey! We're going to let you keep your food stamps, you lucky so-and-so!"

I can only assume you were joking, but truthfully, you were not.
posted by dhartung at 11:47 PM on January 16, 2013


Oh wow...I'll just show this article to payroll at work so that they know I should be making 150,000 dollars a year as a professional and not the WAY LESS I get paid. I'm sure they'll adjust accordingly...
posted by jnnla at 11:55 PM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Maybe median US income is higher

Percentile ranges for US household income can be roughly pegged at: $50K = 50th, $100k = 85th, $150 = 95th. Of course, these numbers are wildly different between rich states and poor ones.

(all numbers rounded directly from Wikipedia...)
posted by rh at 12:10 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sadly, I was looking up the same numbers... US household median income is about $50k (census pdf, p5). Okay, a bit higher than Australia on PPP terms, double the $20-30k that the WSJ lists for a lower-income family, one-third of the $150k that WSJ lists for a single professional salary, and one-seventh of the $350k that the WSJ lists for a higher-income couple. I wonder if the WSJ writers actually believe this stuff, or if they're just pandering to the readership?
posted by mixing at 12:14 AM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Goofyy, if these representatives of the top 3% are so precarious in their jobs, and could be on the street with no prospects tomorrow, why is it such a big issue for them to have a small tax increase? That's nothing in comparison. I don't think they're at the risk you suggest: most have resources, credentials, and contacts to fall back on.

If small tax increases could help the economy--after all everyone's saying the deficit is so bad in the long-term--and could help people stay employed, why the frowny face over taxes?

Why should we be so solicitous of their political support when they are such a small percentage of the population? What people are railing against here is the cluelessness expressed that they and the interests of people like them are all that's out there.

Political power should flow from demographic size. You're only saying we should make common cause with such rich folk (yeah they are rich) because their political influence is out of proportion because so much of their money flows in politics, which is not a good thing.

And their interests are not the same as those of most Americans. A reinvigorated labor movement? More public transportation (in my county, close to a major city, cuts in transportation left many unable to commute to their jobs)? Public school funding when their kids will never set foot in one?
posted by Schmucko at 12:50 AM on January 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


"YOU MONSTERS! LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE!"
posted by markkraft at 1:12 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


From the Lucky Duckies wiki link dhartung posted:
"One of the things that has fascinated me about The Wall Street Journal editorial page is its occasional capacity to rise above the routine moral callousness of hack conservative punditry and attain a level of exquisite depravity normally reserved for villains in James Bond movies.

No change there then.
posted by Mezentian at 1:38 AM on January 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yeah, married with three kids here. I will never ever ever see $650,000 in one year. Way to not write for 98% of the country.

But this IS written for the 98% who aren't going to pay any more tax. See how Obama is soaking those RICH people!

You know there is the socialism like here in Sweden which is based on the idea that it's efficient to pool our money together and spend it through the elected government. Everyone pays tax in this country. Real taxes.

Up to about USD44k the average Swede pays 28% "communal" income tax and her employer pays an additional 32% in so-called social fees to cover healthcare, retirement, etc. Incomes over this amount suffer an additional tax of 31% - "national" tax. There are very, very few deductions and most people fill in a return of two pages.

And then there is a 25% Value added tax (sales tax) on basically everything except food and books which are taxed somewhat lower.

You want to finance a big government, that's how you do it. EVERYONE PAYS. Not just the rich.

So listening to the debate in America over taxes is both amusing and depressing.

Amusing because the tax burden is so light to begin with and depressing because American "liberals" only seem to wish to soak the rich while preserving the GOP's tax cuts for everyone else. Obama has taken the worst of each party's tax theories and combined it into one, but, like health care, that is becoming par for the course for him.
posted by three blind mice at 1:49 AM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


"And their interests are not the same as those of most Americans."

...and don't forget corporate welfare, moving jobs overseas, minimum wages, overseas tax havens, offshore investments, outsourcing, employer healthcare requirements, targeting tax breaks towards capital gains and inheritance tax vs. income and sales tax, environmental standards, global warming legislation, tenant rights, voting rights, corporate personhood, "limited time" restrictions on copyright law, limits on the right to sue / damages, building codes, legislation for the disabled, anti-discrimination requirements.

Sure, it's possible to partner with the 1% on these issues., but how will it turn out? Ever heard the parable of the scorpion and the frog?
posted by markkraft at 2:10 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Goofy, the investment bankers, doctors, and lawyers in my acquaintance have their own political opinions, they don't just sit around getting their feelings hurt by Metafilter threads. Shocking, I know.

I used to be a Tea Party Republican, but after reading your comment I'm now a radical socialist. You should be more careful in how you phrase your comments here.
posted by leopard at 2:16 AM on January 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Every time I look at anything to do with taxes and the USA I want to scream. We're struggling by on so little and slipping further and further behind every damn day. I cannot believe that their picture would focus on such high damn salaries.

No one I know makes anywhere near those ranges. We're all down here struggling from paycheck to paycheck, hoping nothing goes wrong.

Until it does, then you have to spend every dime you had in savings to buy a cheap used car that might last you a couple months.

Yeah, that's where we're at right now. Boohoo one percenters have to pay a tiny bit more in taxes. They can kiss my poor ass.
posted by SuzySmith at 2:27 AM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh look. The Koch Brothers and the other Tea Party Funder/Founders are still paying the same rate as before, 15%.

Oh look. They're not mentioned.
posted by surplus at 2:30 AM on January 17, 2013 [14 favorites]


I'll grant you all manner of sympathy, because I know how hard it hurts just to imagine making money like that. But still people, you are a HUGE part of the problem. Yep. Hate to say it, but it's true. I've said it before, more or less: These are not the "rich" people you need want to hate on.

I think we're mainly laughing at the amazingly bad illustrations and clueless separation between "college student" and "six-figure income" here, not the improbable fictional characters they're depicting. Besides, you know what? I know a lot of people in higher tax brackets. Generally speaking, they're doing just fine. My parents are not really worried about 3% or whatever. My old classmates at Google are going to pull through, I think! The couple of really well-off people I know who are real jerks about taxes already have money stashed away in a lot of places, so I really think they're going to be okay too!
posted by jetlagaddict at 4:55 AM on January 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Nobody is hating on anyone except the WSJ.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:13 AM on January 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


"taxes are going up for everyone"

Not for people invested in hedge funds and private equity with "carry". That's still at 15%.

Oh look. The Koch Brothers and the other Tea Party Funder/Founders are still paying the same rate as before, 15%.

Just FYI because there seems to be some confusion about this, but the top rate for capital gains and dividends was raised to 20 percent for those making more than $400,000 ($450,000 for joint filers), which is where it was before the Bush tax cuts, while the 15 percent rate still applies for those making below that, unless you're in the bottom two tax brackets(<$36,250 or $72,500 for joint filers), in which case you pay zero taxes on capital gains and dividends, as before. This is not including the new 3.8 percent tax on investment income in the healthcare reform law for those making more than $200,000 ($250,000 joint) that went into affect Jan. 1.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 5:16 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's fascinating that you waste your time arguing my point, while completely failing to realize that you're still attacking the target of convenience, without regard to whether it gains you anything more than some semblance of revenge.

Your complaint is with the ownership class. Your circumstance cause you a failure of perspective. It's those 6-figure numbers. They are mind boggling to anyone living paycheck to paycheck, like so damn many of us do. Relative to yourselves, an annual income of 300k doesn't make a person significantly closer to the ownership class. (It does encourage them to not rob the owners at any opportunity).
posted by Goofyy at 5:18 AM on January 17, 2013


It's fascinating that you waste your time arguing my point

No, it's depressing, like watching someone write an angry letter to T. Herman Zweibel.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 5:20 AM on January 17, 2013


Oh and people with these incomes are usually well educated. Education seems to go together with progressive politics. And lets be serious: The wsj does not speak for upper middle class salary earners. LOL!
posted by Goofyy at 5:24 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here is what I think happened. The illustrator made everybody happy and the editor took one look and said, "Change it. They look smug." So the illustrator went back to the drawing board and made everyone look serene and the editor took one look and said, "Change it. They look smug." So the illustrator made them sad and worried. The end.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:26 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think anyone is attacking the salary-earners, goofyy, they're just pointing out the absurdity of the dire frowny faces and sad children of people making that much money having to pay a little bit extra in taxes.
posted by empath at 5:26 AM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Taxes will jump, and then all these sad, rich people will jump from the windows of their Wall Street office buildings. The good news is that they still have so much cash that they'll land safely in piles of $50's and $100's, giggling like 7 year olds in raked-up leaves.

I hope those piles of 50's and 100's they land in are full of ants.
posted by notreally at 5:27 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Amusing because the tax burden is so light to begin with and depressing because American "liberals" only seem to wish to soak the rich while preserving the GOP's tax cuts for everyone else. Obama has taken the worst of each party's tax theories and combined it into one, but, like health care, that is becoming par for the course for him.

This bears repeating. Obama's embrace of Bush's middle class tax cuts is the death of any hope for social democracy in the U.S. We're left fighting for scraps of the "new deal" and the "great society"...
posted by ennui.bz at 5:29 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


MythMaker: "Even on the interactive one, it entirely skips the middle class."

So it's just like policy then.
posted by chavenet at 5:30 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Amusing because the tax burden is so light to begin with and depressing because American "liberals" only seem to wish to soak the rich while preserving the GOP's tax cuts for everyone else.

The difference between here and Sweden is when you're poor on Sweden you aren't facing shit schools for your kids, massive healthcare costs, potential homelessness, slums, etc, at least not the way poor people in America do. The poor have far more potential financial burdens on them because of the way our society is set up, so the tax structure was set up to reflect this. If we had a truly socialist state where everyone was taxed but those taxes were going somewhere that would be different.
posted by schroedinger at 5:34 AM on January 17, 2013


The difference between here and Sweden is when you're poor on Sweden you aren't facing shit schools for your kids, massive healthcare costs, potential homelessness, slums, etc, at least not the way poor people in America do.

The thing is, even if you aren't poor in the US you face shit-schools and massive health-care costs and, increasingly, the sense that you are living on a precipice from which you would fall if you lost your job. But after 30 years of Reaganism it's become reflexive that "socialism" is about giving poor people things, even if that's not what you meant.
posted by ennui.bz at 5:42 AM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've said it before, more or less: These are not the "rich" people you need want to hate on.

Goofyy, I don't hate on the upper-middle income earners. I have a problem with the New York Times thinking these incomes are the norm. My problem with this is that the upper-middle class editors at the New York Times apparently seems to think that "you" are upper-middle class. Most people in America are not. Not even close. It's a prime example of insular, elitist, inside-the-bubble myopia.
posted by zardoz at 5:45 AM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Those kids have every reason to look sad. Do you have any idea how little they get to see their parents? It takes some serious hours to get into those income brackets.

This skirts dangerously close to sounding like a "bootstraps" argument. There's no correlation between number of hours worked and income. Maybe the mom and dad are both working hard and putting in a lot of overtime, but newsflash: So does everyone in this economy.

At least these kids have their nannies and horse trainers and coaches as role models while mom and dad is away, while the child of a single mom working three waitress jobs to make ends meet don't have anything but the TV and a second hand Playstation.
posted by ymgve at 5:56 AM on January 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


mind blowing fact: you can go to college, get a masters and PHD all to make the blazing salary of $35,000 a year.

That is to say: being highly educated does not equate to high income.

We aren't hating on high-income earners, we're hating on WSJ thinking that $150,000 a year is a normal salary of household. We're also saying that taxes should be equal, very much like in Sweden.

I would love to pay 60% of my paycheck in taxes if that meant free education, utilities, healthcare, ... but many in the US don't share that belief. I believe I saw this exemplified in a Metafilter comment a while back as "F U I got mine!" as the user channeling the essence of some horrendously rich republican.
posted by zombieApoc at 5:59 AM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Okay so... although I think the rich people side of the equation deserves a lot of attention I'm also curious about the poor end of the spectrum. If you go to the graphic blahblahblah found it shows the >$10k, $10-20k, and $20k-40k groups.

The unemployed single person making >$10k per year has a 6.9% tax rate? Which is an increase of 20.9% what they would've paid before?

Similar with the part-time-work college student, who despite getting paid more in this scenario ($10-20k) has a lower tax rate of 6.4% but will still be paying 14.7% more.

And then how are $20-30k income working couples paying a drastically lower 1.3% (approximately equivalent to two single part-time students who have a much higher rate each)?

I honestly don't understand this and need someone to explain, so someone please help me out. How are unemployed or part-time workers (who are additionally dumping a LOT of money into tuition and book costs) supposed to pay this much in taxes, and why are they expected to do so? Is it meant as an incentive of some kind (for the unemployed to find a job for example, and if so, what's the supposed incentive for college students)? Is it because they're 'saving' somewhere else (don't have some of the expenses full time workers do)? I guess it just doesn't make sense to me that we're having unemployed people paying tax when they're already (supposedly?) being supported financially by the welfare system? Like I don't know, that just seems really unnecessary I guess.

I'm definitely not saying the low-income working couple, for example, should have to pay more, mind, I just don't understand this discrepancy.

Also I'm pretty sure I'm still sore about how married people making equivalent income (per person) pay a lower percent than a single person. Probably because I don't plan on getting married but again, is there a good reason for this?

I need someone to explain to me. Like I'm an ignorant child would be preferred.

But yeah it would've been really freakin' nice if they'd have bothered including any group making between $50k and $150k per year because what the fuck.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 6:07 AM on January 17, 2013


Goofyy, I don't hate on the upper-middle income earners. I have a problem with the New York Times thinking these incomes are the norm. My problem with this is that the upper-middle class editors at the New York Times apparently seems to think that "you" are upper-middle class.

Wall Street Journal put this out, not the NYT. Though by their Style and Home sections it's apparent the NYT suffers from the same delusion.
posted by schroedinger at 6:09 AM on January 17, 2013


You know, it's funny - I actually took a good look at my first 2013 pay statement and, unlike this whole WSJ line of nonsense suggests, it's neither painful nor confusing. Because I am not a plutocrat, I make a modest amount; my taxes have gone up modestly. Honestly, I have a bigger bite from the insurance increase here at work. And if we had, like, the things that a normal country has - decent national health care, secure retirement system, help for the mentally ill and addicted, etc - I would be the first in line to pay even more in taxes.

This whole "OMG, I make better than several hundred thousand dollars a year - otherwise known as somewhere over $20,000 per month before taxes - and now I will take home $250 less per month, it's just like we elected Chavez" routine....well, I wonder if it couldn't be taken down simply by saying "before taxes you make more than $20,000 per month and you're whining about $250 per month". Many people would reflect that they actually earn something like 1.5 months of this person's salary every year and maybe the clamor for the guillotine would increase. A la lanterne, that's what I say.
posted by Frowner at 6:29 AM on January 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


...and the WSJ is writing for their audience, which is high-income earners. This is not a USA Today infographic. Yes, it's crass and callow, but it's written for their audience where the income slices they're showing are representative of their readership.

The 'scaling' issues with income in the US are nuts. 650k is a fabulous sum of money in say, Dubuque or Reno, NV, but given Manhattan residence (a large part of the WSJ's readership) you're in the top 5% of earners -- to make it into the top 1% of wage earners in the city you're earning greater than $2.2mil a year in salary. 650k in a two salary household gives you two actual working folks (high-level folks in media/advertising, a partner at a law firm, a doctor or successful architect, etc.) not folks that are purely living on investment income. To be sure, these people are not impoverished, but to classify those folks as rolling around in Scrooge McDuck like piles of money (especially with 4 kids -- ye gods) is inane.
posted by fet at 6:31 AM on January 17, 2013


My wife and I almost jumped for joy when we realized that between her raise and my new job our combined income was now in the low six figures, but apparently the WSJ thinks we might as well be in the poorhouse.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:32 AM on January 17, 2013


The Wall Street Journal put together this helpful infographic showing how recent tax changes will affect the typical American tax payer.

Where in the article or graphic does it state that these are "typical" taxpayers?

Both sides characterize the recent tax changes as targeting rich families, so I don't see why it's surprising or off-base to use examples of rich families to illustrate the impact of the changes.
posted by brain_drain at 6:41 AM on January 17, 2013


More like they put together this helpful graphic showing how recent tax changes will affect their readership
posted by Renoroc at 6:44 AM on January 17, 2013


I would be happy to participate yet again in a discussion how making $650k in Manhattan is rich, but we seriously just had that fight.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:45 AM on January 17, 2013


Goofyy's derail has already been beaten to death, but I'll add that I don't think "the true enemy is the 0.1%" argument really holds up, given that the republicans control the House and are hardly outclassed in democratic elections. That's a lot of false consciousness to presume.
posted by leopard at 6:57 AM on January 17, 2013


And then how are $20-30k income working couples paying a drastically lower 1.3%

It's all in their assumptions, which they're not telling you. Most likely they're assuming that they get the EITC or child tax credits.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:03 AM on January 17, 2013


Amusing because the tax burden is so light to begin with and depressing because American "liberals" only seem to wish to soak the rich while preserving the GOP's tax cuts for everyone else.

Oh, I'm sorry. Were you under the impression that rich people actually pay the amounts listed in the infographic? Have you already forgotten the comedy that was Mitt Romney's tax return?

At any rate, all of us who earn our money through work saw our taxes rise 2% due to the expiration of the payroll tax holiday. That rate gets progressively (or should I say regressively) smaller for the sad sacks in the graphic because the payroll tax only applies to the first $100k or so of income, and not at all to investment income.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:23 AM on January 17, 2013


I love the flagrant ballsy dishonesty - for instance, the very high earners category (1M+) - they construct this to suggest that someone making a million a year is going to pay $170,000 more per year because of the new 39.6 bracket. But of course that's not the case. Those poor 1M per year suckers will pay a much lower increase; the $170,000 average is based on the average of ALL people making more than 1M per year., including some making much, much more.

I also question their math on this top category - how does a change of 35 --> 39.6 on the top part of their taxable income translate to an average 15% increase in federal taxes? Were there additional loopholes cut out in this deal? WSJ is just e-fishwrap at this point.
posted by Mister_A at 7:25 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sorry, blinded by rage - just noticed this: higher tax rates on capital gains and dividends, and face new limits on exemptions and deductions.

So people making multiple millions per year are going to pay a little more, even on investment income (!). I will trade fiscal places with those poor schmucks any day. This graphic is still a misleading construct. And shit user interface to boot!
posted by Mister_A at 7:29 AM on January 17, 2013


Let's see we will put a graphic of some blacks and give them the lowest income, next comes another minority, let's give her the second lowest income.....

add to that the sad faces all around, the incomes all well into the top percentages....

I am getting more information from this graphic about the authors than about the subject, but perhaps I am just over thinking this plate of beans.
posted by caddis at 7:55 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]



Seriously, why do the people in that picture look so sad? Even after the tax increase, they're all making so much money!


Because we have a black president who hates America and wants to give your money to welfare mothers and illegal immigrants. Obviously!

BTW I also would have accepted a crying eagle with a tattered American flag in its beak for the illustration.
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:58 AM on January 17, 2013


My $10k annual income doesn't leave me with a lot of empathy for these six figure salary families, even the ones whose tax increase is more than I bring in all year.


My years and years of hard work and my advanced education are really paying off, aren't they?
posted by _paegan_ at 8:08 AM on January 17, 2013


"These are the upper-middle class, educated professionals. "

Bullshit. They're actually the upper class, and just because they're not the Sun King and Versailles and Americans have an aversion to describing themselves as anything but Middle Class doesn't mean that they're in the top quintile, making between 8 and 10 times what the median American makes.

Being rich doesn't excuse you from math.
posted by klangklangston at 8:52 AM on January 17, 2013 [12 favorites]


"not in the top quintile" sorry edit fail
posted by klangklangston at 9:07 AM on January 17, 2013


Goofyy seems to miss the point, that the "ownership class"traditionally hands the whip to his subordinates, while he sits on the porch enjoying his mint juleps. For mini-revelation of this dynamic notice the middle managers. They don't make policy. They enforce it.

Putting the hate is not the same as noticing. Self-interest is at stake. "They" are not in control, so who are they going to appease? Certainly not their subordinates. They will do the bidding of the guys that sign the paychecks.
posted by mule98J at 9:46 AM on January 17, 2013


The article talks about the Kogod School of Business and the Tax Policy Centre (part owned by Brookings). Are these right or left leaning, or do I need to ask, seeing as its the WSJ.
posted by marienbad at 9:52 AM on January 17, 2013


The Tax Policy Center is nonpartisan but is seen by Republicans as left-leaning because they were behind the report saying that Mitt Romney's tax plan doesn't add up. Never mind that they were also behind the infamous 47 percent figure that Republicans love to repeat and which got Romney into trouble.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 9:59 AM on January 17, 2013


Brookings is nominally center left, though in a generally tepid way. They are more centrist than the Heritage Foundation, with whom they are frequently contrasted.
posted by klangklangston at 10:22 AM on January 17, 2013


three blind mice: You want to finance a big government, that's how you do it. EVERYONE PAYS. Not just the rich... Amusing because the tax burden is so light to begin with and depressing because American "liberals" only seem to wish to soak the rich while preserving the GOP's tax cuts for everyone else.

The reason a flatter tax works in Sweden is because income is relatively flat. In the U.S. the top 1% take home 25% of all income. Sweden does not have the wide disparity of income as in the U.S. If you are going to fund the government, you have to go where all the money is and that is at the top. You can't take it from the bottom where people are already living in poverty without making their lives even worse.

What you fail to realize is that redistribution is exactly what makes Sweden's relatively flat tax rate progressive. In other words, Sweden is flat on the front end, collection of taxes, but massively progressive in distribution of benefits on the back end. Sweden collects taxes at about twice the rate of the U.S. and then redistributes it so that everyone lives at non-poverty levels -- free pre-natal to grave medical care, paid maternity leave, subsidized childcare, good schools for everyone, subsidized college education, strong labor unions, very generous unemployment insurance plus child allowances, generous retirement pensions. None of this stuff is available to Americans.

Sweden has flatter taxes than the U.S. but it all goes back to the public in a progressive manner that equalizes public welfare. Compare that to the U.S. in which more than 20% of children live in poverty.
posted by JackFlash at 11:20 AM on January 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


The ultra-wealthy managed to make high-income earners the boogie-man in the tax debate. And the ultra-wealthy are laughing at all us suckers.

From the link
And even better, there hasn’t been a word mentioned about the carried interest loophole.

Most of the money I make now comes from investments from CrunchFund. And the vast majority of that is what’s called carried interest. Even though I’m investing other people’s money, the government calls it a capital gain. So instead of paying 39.6 percent on that money (I won’t call it income), I pay only 15 percent (or maybe 20 percent under the new rules – it isn’t clear to me).

In other words, income is a sucker’s game. Carried interest rocks.

Everyone wants the rich to pay more in taxes. They’re thinking about Mitt Romney and Warren Buffett when they say “rich people.” But really rich people like that are totally protected. Their accumulated wealth can only be touched by inflation. And if they’re in the hedge fund game, most of their “income” is taxed at just 15 percent.
posted by braksandwich at 11:45 AM on January 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


It must be a requirement of retirement for men to wear their sweaters over the shoulders, with arms tied across chest.
posted by VicNebulous at 12:24 PM on January 17, 2013


(We down here in the 5-digit range can't actually read)

Man, I wish I knew what that said...
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 12:57 PM on January 17, 2013


Oops, I meant WSJ, not NYT.
posted by zardoz at 2:03 PM on January 17, 2013


Comedy gold.
1. nothing in the real salary/real life situation
2. interactive not interactive

I'm guessing they have web strategies like I have to deal with.

first, come up with an idea
second, come up with a date that is ....within 2 weeks
third, have no content, just concepts.
forth, build the site. Content? Pffft just build it. Nebulous concepts.
Fifth, ok day before launch? Here's content.
Sixth, pop that puppy live.
posted by stormpooper at 2:44 PM on January 17, 2013


I really want to know: how many single parents of children in the USA make at least $260,000 a year? What is the estimated number of households?
posted by ovvl at 4:07 PM on January 17, 2013


I really want to know: how many single parents of children in the USA make at least $260,000 a year? What is the estimated number of households?

Well, single mothers in the US apparently have a median income of $24K per year.

So, like, 3?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:47 PM on January 17, 2013


This is the best I can find right now, from the US Census Bureau - about 1.5 million single mothers earned more than $40,000 a year in 1995.

But 7.6 million earned less than $20,000.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:59 PM on January 17, 2013


The ultra-wealthy managed to make high-income earners the boogie-man in the tax debate.

Raising taxes isn't punishment. It doesn't require villains.
posted by empath at 7:39 PM on January 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


More importantly, these are the people you need on your side, if you want to accomplish any meaningful lasting change. These are the upper-middle class, educated professionals.

Hey, that's swell.

They're still overpaid and undertaxed.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:46 PM on January 17, 2013


and the WSJ is writing for their audience, which is [advertisers who want to sell things to] high-income earners.

Anil Dash, on the twitters, rightly called it a signalling device: the WSJ saying to its advertisers that yes, these are our readers, so you should definitely place a full pager for your Bentley dealership. As others have said, the NYT's Style section pieces on the struggles of Brick Waspington IV to get Brick V into the right $50k/yr kindergarten fulfil the same goal.

it's a huge lie about incomes that helps you believe a smaller lie about incomes.

Yep. It's a kind of elite signalling to any plebs among the readership struggling on $150k/year that their rightful place is on that board, reflecting Steinbeck's line that "the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires."

given Manhattan residence (a large part of the WSJ's readership) you're in the top 5% of earners

Not a given. Median household income in Manhattan is higher than the national median, but not by a massive amount. Manhattan residence in professional employment may correlate with high earnings; residence alone does not. The Manhattan of Post and Daily News readers is perhaps less visible to outsiders than the one of the NYT and WSJ, but it's very definitely there.
posted by holgate at 8:25 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


ultraviolet catastrophe: "the top rate for capital gains and dividends was raised to 20 percent"

My understanding is that carry is not capital gain. Capital gains are for suckers. Carry is for pros.
posted by meehawl at 11:46 PM on January 17, 2013


It's not capital gain, but it's taxed at the same rate as capital gains, as explained in the article you linked earlier.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 7:08 AM on January 18, 2013


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