18 January 2013

Who will suffer from the new tax increases?

First, look at the data in the cartoon above, published several weeks ago in the Wall Street Journal.  The numbers can be assumed to be correct.  Think about and decide where your sympathies lie.  The Wall Street Journal article notes that "the new law's effects will be highly individualized—and in some cases highly painful."

Then (if you want) you can read a rant about the WSJ article at Hullabaloo:

The Onion couldn't top this. Whether it's the sad faces of all these put-upon dejected rich people, or the elderly minority couple who is depressed despite not paying extra taxes (or was that the point?), or the distressed single Asian lady making $230,000 who might not be able to buy that extra designer pantsuit this year, or the "single mother" making $260,000 whose kids presumably have a deadbeat, indigent dad just like any other poor family, or that struggling family of six making $650,000 including $180,000 of pure passive income and wondering how to make ends meet, mockery is almost superfluous...

Beyond mockery, though, that the Wall Street Journal would even dare publish such a thing without irony is indicative of the reality that the wealthy don't live in the same country as the rest of us... They're people who see a single individual making $230,000 as struggling to get by, and severely put upon by the loss of a couple thousand dollars to help pay for decrepit infrastructure and basic healthcare for the indigent.
More at the links.


  1. Yeah, I don't know any of those people. The tax increase seems to be costing me about $50 a paycheck, which I can live with.

  2. There should be a word to distinguish "making" and "earning" (which implies productivity or deservedness) and "being paid". I'm not sure anyone "earns" that much money. I feel like I am lucky to get paid well (a notch below the examples) but I fully understand that I don't earn or deserve it. I just got lucky I'm able to do something that is in demand (software).

  3. I read the article -- certainly, its not quite what its portrayed here.

    The article's emphasis is upon "Who will get hit the biggest by the tax increase?" Which as that one graphic focuses on, are people with over $250,000 in income, or $300,000 as couples.

    If you look at the interactive graphics part of the article (and not just that one color picture) it gives like 6 different responses, starting with
    - Single unemployed person, Income under $10,000/ year Tax increase = $60, or +20%,
    - College student, Income $10-20,000/ year. Tax increase = +$123 or +14.7%

    etc etc.

    Now these don't have the really nice color graphics, but then the context of the article is to focus on whose getting hit the hardest. But its not quite the on-sided article as described.

  4. When the richest 400 people in America have more than the poorest 150,000,000 citizens of the U.S., I really have very little sympathy with some relatively paltry amount that the rich may have to pay in extra taxes.

    When a billionaire has enough (if he has only one billion dollars) to spend $100,000 a day for TWENTY-SEVEN YEARS...I could really care less if his taxes go up 20%.

    Here's the deal: I have no problem with people being rich. That's all part of the way we do things. More power to 'em. But don't ask me to feel sorry for them! And especially don't ask me to do that when they have more than enough for a hundred lifetimes...while some can barely keep body and soul together in our nation.

    And to think I'm a conservative!

  5. My sympathies lie with all of them, because A. taxation is theft B. this is on top of inflation, which is taxation via subterfuge and is already strangling out growth, and C. almost certainly, none of them really understand the principles behind their discontent.

    1. Please, go to a country where they don't really collect taxes, as soon as you can... and stay there.

      Tell us how you like it, nevermind, don't. Just stay there.

    2. That's like telling me that if I don't like the zoo, I can move to another cage. Thanks. Very original. Why have dialogue at all, when you can just throw out anyone who questions the morality of taxes? This is why our founders simply left the colonies; because opposing the monarchy would have been really dumb.

      500 years also you'd have been hard pressed to find a country without slavery, infanticide, or torture as accepted practices. These things don't change until people stop accepting them.

  6. If you only knew the stress in selling bonds to pension funds or agglomerating subprime mortgages into packages to sell to the French or how hard it is to make cold calls to dentists four five even six hours a day you'd have some real sympathy for those folks struggling to get by on $500k a year.

  7. I wish NONE of them were being affected . . . the government already has way more than enough money to do the things that it OUGHT to be doing. I'm not advocating elimination of taxes, I'm just saying they already have plenty. Both parties are spending money like drunken sailors on items that have absolutely no connection to the constitutional duties of the federal government. If we cut all unconstitutional items that are receiving our tax dollars, the we could balance the budget and have a massive surplus. Two problems . . . 1) Almost no one has the guts to make the cuts 2)There is overwhelming corruption.

  8. WOH! Average people actually make that much money in a year!? Damn, I knew I wasn't making much.. but damn.

  9. Interesting point of view—well, one has to consider the ownership of Wallstreet Journal to understand the amazingly unrealistic portrayal above.

    Most single parents I know make around $26,000 per year, not an incredible $260K per year. Their investment income comes from interest in their savings accounts, which might amount to about $4 per year. (If I had investment income of $35,000 per year, I wouldn't have to work!)

    The lowest investment income listed is the single person making an unrealistic $230,000 per year. Her "investment income" is listed as $25K per year. In order to have a yield like that, she would need around $500,000 invested in a portfolio yielding roughly 5% per year. To save up $500K, would take her almost nine years packing away 25% of her income each year to reach that amount. That's over $51K per year, vastly more than what 70% of the people I know make in wages per year.

    The retired couple makes $52K per year in investment income, which means they have at least a $1 million cash principal available to generate that income. That translates into they were pretty damned rich to begin with to be able to afford to sock away that kind of nest egg.

    None of their examples reflect upon the lives and wages of REAL Americans, whose average wages are BELOW $45K per year.

  10. I can't even fathom those incomes. That's my income for about 15 yrs.

  11. People making half a million dollars of more should give up half or more of their income? So that those of us making less can give up less?

    Sounds a bit selfish, if you ask me.

    Before demanding that the 'rich' give up their riches, maybe we should all think more about who the rich really are. 80% of the world lives on less than $10/day.

    If the people in the graphic should give up half their wealth, why not us?

    None of us should complain. Anyone with the ability to read this blog is just as out of touch with reality as the people in the graphic are being accused of being.

    1. "People making half a million dollars of more should give up half or more of their income? So that those of us making less can give up less?"

      74K is not half of 260K.

      Also, percentages are not helpful here. 20% in taxes (just a number I'm pulling out of the air) has a radical impact on an individual's survival when they are earning 25K a year. Not so much when they're earning 150K. So yes, someone making enough to survive on should pay less in taxes than someone else who has enough left over after basic needs are met that they can afford a second or even third home.

      "Sounds a bit selfish, if you ask me."

      Whereas sitting on vast sums of wealth and not helping your fellow Americans is -- ?

      "Before demanding that the 'rich' give up their riches, maybe we should all think more about who the rich really are. 80% of the world lives on less than $10/day."

      So because I was fortunate enough to be born poor in America, I cannot agitate for reform because I'm not poor *enough*? Also, you presume that I do NOT think about trash pickers or sweat shops or other poverty-stricken people in the world. This is a false presumption.

      "If the people in the graphic should give up half their wealth, why not us?"

      Again, they are not being asked to give up half their wealth. But who on this thread has said "You and not me"? I will be hit by the payroll taxes just like everyone else and you know what? I'm okay with that. We're in a crisis. Anyone who can afford to help, should. I don't like it. I'll have to adjust my spending. But I can do it and so should EVERYONE. If only we COULD go by percentages. My $50 - $60 as a percentage of my paycheck could multiply out to some helpful money from the wealthiest earners.

      "None of us should complain. Anyone with the ability to read this blog is just as out of touch with reality as the people in the graphic are being accused of being."

      This statement is nonsense. It is possible to be homeless and ill and have access to this blog through our public libraries. Is that 'real' enough for you?

      I'm tired of the "you're lucky to have X" argument. It is a pointless statement because it supposes there is a stopping point for happiness or contentment. And as we can all see from the mufti-millionaires complaining about paying a few thousand more in taxes, there is no such thing.

  12. Ah yes - the dreaded end of the rollback of payroll taxes - 2.2 percent more for Social Security.

    It's costing me $10 per week.

    I am making a quarter of what I made two years ago when the company I work for (owned by Bain) fired another couple thousand workers and asked even more from those remaining.

    And I never even approached half of what any of these folks made. And I was happy.

    I still am. It's just a hell of a lot harder to feel sympathy for anyone.

  13. And he's taking away all our guns!!!

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  15. The 100 richest people in the world earned enough last year to end extreme poverty suffered by the poorest on the planet four times over, Oxfam has said.


  16. The single parent with 2 children above makes $260,000 per year. Take out $73,000 in taxes, she's taking home $189,291. That's nearly five times more than I make *pre-tax* with 1 child. Sign me up.

  17. Am I supposed to feel sorry for any of these people simply because the cartoons make them look oh so sad? I'd gladly pay the tax increase if I had any of their salaries.


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