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Your Take: WSJ’s Image of the American Taxpayer

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Sad Rich People

So the Wall Street Journal ran an article earlier in the year, just after the fiscal cliff was “averted” and the American Taxpayer Relief Act was passed, in which they talked about how much your taxes will go up. I don’t read the WSJ all that often but I was a little surprised how out of touch they were with this graphic.

Let’s see who the WSJ chose as their “example people.” The first person in the top right is a single parent with two children who makes… $260,000 a year. To the right you’ll see a retired couple who makes $180,000 a year. In the lower left there’s a single person who makes $230,000 and then you have the family of six (!!!) making $650,000.

Surprisingly out of touch with real life… what do you think when you see this?

{ 49 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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49 Responses to “Your Take: WSJ’s Image of the American Taxpayer”

  1. Steph says:

    First of all, they definitely don’t represent the average American households. However, when we look at their tax increases as a percentage of income, both single households show in increase of 1.3%, the married couple has an increase of 3.3%, and I (single, no kids making <20% of the single household represented) will see an increase of 2.0% in my taxes. While my taxes will increase a mere $840, I'm barely above water as it is due to student loan debt, so it's hard to have sympathy for these households, no matter how many more dollars they will contribute compared to me. In the end, my $840 will result in more damage to my budget than their $3,000-$22,000 could to their budgets.

    However, I do think it's unfair that the married couple in this example is subject to a higher percent increase in taxes than any of the other examples, including myself.

  2. What I get from this is The Wall Street Journal must not be for the average person.

  3. Jackie says:

    They all look so sad! I thought at first it was something from the Onion.

  4. Like Jackie, what strikes me is how miserable these abused wealthy people look. Why, the single Mom’s clearly depressed children might actually have to attend a public university. Horrors! :-0

    • MJB says:

      That’s a mom? Here I thought the WSJ had decided to represent single families with a dad but on second look, I think you’re right.

  5. Shirley says:

    Well, we’re retired but we sure don’t make as much as the graphic shows.

  6. elloo says:

    Understand that these are the incomes of THEIR readers. The WSJ journal’s readership has a high income demographic. So this is not surprise. My finance Wall Street and other corporate management friends certainly do make that kind of money.

  7. elloo says:

    And yes, they do look unhappy.

  8. Steve says:

    Sorry, but someone didn’t do their homework. If you read the original article it appears to be referring to affluent Americans. Yeah the graphic is a bit weird, but go to the original source and read for yourself: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323689604578220132665726040.html

    The graphic comes from The Kogod School of Business Tax Center. After viewing their website, their work is focused on self-employed business people and entrepreneurs. Yeah, this is what some of these people make… they are like the top 2% earners in the country. I like reading Bargaineering because I’m frugal. I not rich and can’t even imagine making the kind of money in the graphic, but I DON’T like seeing fellow Americans for being punished for being successful.

    • Mark says:

      You hit the nail on the head, I hope to be one of these people one day and I darn sure don’t think it’s right to be punished for being successful. One man, one vote, one man, one tax….

  9. Donald says:

    The WSJ has always been the paper for the wealthy. When you add the fact that it is now owned by Rupert Murdoch, you get a completely unrepresentative view of the world and the economy. But it is important to read in order to know what the powerful believe and what they want.

  10. Brendan says:

    Jim,

    I’ve been reading your blog for the past couple of years and generally have found it interesting and insightful. This post, however, is neither. This was not the WSJ’s “image of the American taxpayer”; rather it was their image of the taxpayers most affected by the changes to the tax code. The tax code was amended to avoid the fiscal cliff and to ensure that middle class America was not affected; by definition, therefore, those most affected by the new tax laws are those making more than the average American.

    I’m disappointed that you would write something this parochial and inflammatory. Seems that you were more interested in the headline and page views than engaging the substance.

  11. sheri says:

    The picture depicts a woeful group of people. It’s laughable.

  12. Jim M says:

    I thought money was supposed to make you happy – doesn’t seem to have worked for these folks.

  13. Nancy says:

    I’m a single 64 y/o with no kids and my adjusted gross income is something like $30,000 and there is so little I want for. Fortunately (ha, ha) I acquired HIV from my ex 20+ years ago and as a result I at least have Heath Insurance (Medicare).
    You can not know how much health insurance means to me–even if I use it for HIV drugs and as little as possible otherwise. Everybody should have health insurance and the WSJ needs to replace its research staff!

  14. K says:

    I would like to know where these mythical unicorns live and work because I don’t know anyone that makes that kind of money.

    I am a college grad single parent and lucky if I gross $20,000 a year.

  15. Bridget says:

    This isn’t realistic to me. That is just how I see it.

  16. admiral58 says:

    Certainly a bit out of touch with reality


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