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Fri Jan 18, 2013, 09:52 AM

The Poor, Poor Rich According To the Wall Street Journal


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. The thing mocks itself. That $650,000 family in particular is bizarre to the point of incredulity: those people could literally stop working entirely, live extremely well on $180,000 while doing nothing but watching television all day and staying home with their kids, and leave their high-salary jobs with their oh-so-onerous tax requirements to people who actually appreciate them.

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. Their experience of life, and therefore of public policy, is on an entirely different plane. These are people who take tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars of yearly passive investment income for granted and think they earned that money, deserving to pay very low taxes on it. 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.

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-poor-poor-rich-of-wall-street.html

47 replies, 4266 views

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Arrow 47 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Poor, Poor Rich According To the Wall Street Journal (Original post)
Oilwellian Jan 2013 OP
denverbill Jan 2013 #1
Oilwellian Jan 2013 #5
Wednesdays Jan 2013 #28
Wednesdays Jan 2013 #30
hfojvt Jan 2013 #41
JaneyVee Jan 2013 #2
jorno67 Jan 2013 #3
uponit7771 Jan 2013 #4
Oilwellian Jan 2013 #6
Volaris Jan 2013 #7
Oilwellian Jan 2013 #9
Wednesdays Jan 2013 #12
JHB Jan 2013 #29
closeupready Jan 2013 #8
Oilwellian Jan 2013 #10
closeupready Jan 2013 #11
Starry Messenger Jan 2013 #13
Oilwellian Jan 2013 #27
Posteritatis Jan 2013 #45
Wednesdays Jan 2013 #14
Posteritatis Jan 2013 #46
fleabiscuit Jan 2013 #15
Oilwellian Jan 2013 #35
AlbertCat Jan 2013 #16
Oilwellian Jan 2013 #36
KittyWampus Jan 2013 #17
closeupready Jan 2013 #18
Wednesdays Jan 2013 #19
KittyWampus Jan 2013 #31
Wednesdays Jan 2013 #34
lark Jan 2013 #21
fleabiscuit Jan 2013 #24
JHB Jan 2013 #32
Oilwellian Jan 2013 #33
xtraxritical Jan 2013 #39
Alcibiades Jan 2013 #40
Wednesdays Jan 2013 #42
NoMoreWarNow Jan 2013 #20
NoMoreWarNow Jan 2013 #22
AnnetteJacobs Jan 2013 #26
Blue_Tires Jan 2013 #43
Posteritatis Jan 2013 #44
AtheistCrusader Jan 2013 #23
toby jo Jan 2013 #25
Initech Jan 2013 #37
Wednesdays Jan 2013 #38
Posteritatis Jan 2013 #47

Response to Oilwellian (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:00 AM

1. See how Obama is giving reparations?

The only family with no tax increase is black. Lord knows how that poor family of six scraping by on $650,000/year is going to handle a 3.3% tax increase.

Also interesting to note how every one of these folks had large amounts of investment income. If they hadn't, only the $650K couple would have shown a tax increase.

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Response to denverbill (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:07 AM

5. Yes, the subliminal messages honk at you

The rich are so unhappy that they can't buy that extra Gucci bag this year. :sniff:

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Response to Oilwellian (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:26 PM

28. I've been tempted to set donation jars on convenience store counters

With the label, "Feed the Rich!"

And a picture of a guy with designer sunglasses sitting at the wheel of a Porsche convertible, looking at the camera and saying, "Please help. I hardly have enough money to get myself to my vacation in Barbados!"

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Response to Oilwellian (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:35 PM

30. Oh, and another subliminal message in it

The only ones not paying more taxes are the ones who don't work.

Ergo, the people who "contribute to society" are being "punished for their success," while the "slouchers get a free ride."


Edit: So I agree, I don't think it's by accident the ones in the illustration are African-Americans.

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Response to denverbill (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 01:31 PM

41. I think the tax increase also figures in the expiring payroll tax cut

but it wouldn't really be realistic for a couple making over $500,000 a year to NOT have any investment income.

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Response to Oilwellian (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:00 AM

2. I feel terrible for that married couple with children who have to survive on only $54,166 PER MONTH.

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Response to Oilwellian (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:00 AM

3. FU WSJ!

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Response to Oilwellian (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:02 AM

4. wat the Wall Street Journal really did this cartoon?! I thought it was sarcasm from. another poster

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Response to uponit7771 (Reply #4)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:09 AM

6. It's the real deal

WSJ link is included in Digby's post.

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Response to Oilwellian (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:17 AM

7. SERIOUSLY how high do you have to be,

to think that America actually LOOKS like that, economically. 'Cause THAT'S some top-caliber dope you have there, and you should fucking SHARE.

There's not a single mother in my STATE of MO that makes 260G's a year, and feels BAD about it.

WTF?

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Response to Volaris (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:21 AM

9. Also note...

your average American doesn't EARN in a year what these people pay in taxes. Hello?? Let's have a reality check here!

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Response to Oilwellian (Reply #9)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:28 AM

12. B...But rich people work dozens of times harder than the average worker

So they deserve all that money!

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Response to Volaris (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:33 PM

29. The Wall Street Journal, sir, does not SHARE its dope

There's only so much shit of that grade to go around, so they feed it where it does them the most good.

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Response to Oilwellian (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:18 AM

8. First sentence of the second paragraph - all you need to know.

Kind of like that old book, "Everything I ever needed to know, I learned in kindergarten".

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Response to closeupready (Reply #8)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:24 AM

10. That sentence was used to post photo on Reddit

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Response to Oilwellian (Reply #10)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:28 AM

11. Wow, isn't that a hoot? You know, most times, brevity in speech

- I've found - is like a pinpoint laser, cutting through the bullshit muck and fog of obfuscating flowery language that does nothing but distract and hide. That sentence is one such.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #13)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:24 PM

27. ROFL...that's hysterical n/t

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #13)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 05:35 PM

45. Yessssssss. (nt)

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Response to Oilwellian (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:47 AM

14. Yup, the single mom with the kids clinging to her

As they await the arrival of the maid and private tutors to take care of them before she heads out in her Mercedes...

Edit: If you look closely, doesn't the boy's left arm seem a bit...long?

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Response to Wednesdays (Reply #14)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 05:36 PM

46. They need every penny they can get. Cybernetic enhancements aren't cheap. (nt)

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Response to Oilwellian (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:56 AM

15. $2,100 of those increases was because of the end of the payroll tax holiday,

so all working people had the same percentage of increase up to the max, approx 105K. That's why no increase for the retired couple.

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Response to fleabiscuit (Reply #15)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:59 PM

35. Good point

Also, the first $400 thousand they earn is exempt from Obama's tax increase (minus the 2% payroll tax holiday).

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Response to Oilwellian (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:02 AM

16. Fun with numbers!!!!

(I posted this when this image 1st came up on DU)


Let's see:

$3,356 a year is $9.19 a day! ($3.06 a person)
$2,907 a year is $7.96 a day!
$21,608 a year is $59.20 a day! ($9.87 a person)


I know I'd just die if I had to cut my daily spending by $10!!!!!

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #16)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 01:00 PM

36. Amazing when you break it down like that n/t

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Response to Oilwellian (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:06 AM

17. NONE of those depicted are "rich". You are as bad as Republicans who hate unions because THEY don't

have the same protections & bennies at their jobs. Rather than fight for everyone to have better wages/conditions.

Those salaries are upper middle class where I live.

Edit- the problem is wage stagnation for a lot workers. More Americans should be making those kinds of salaries. Not less. And NOONE should be making what the Waltons who own Walmart make.

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Response to KittyWampus (Reply #17)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:09 AM

18. Never mind.

I agree with the point you made on edit - wage stagnation.

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Response to KittyWampus (Reply #17)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:17 AM

19. Compare their numbers with minimum wage.

Do the math. Oh, and don't forget to subtract for health insurance, food, and other necessities.

You'll then get a better understanding of how "poor" the people in the illustration are.

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Response to Wednesdays (Reply #19)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:45 PM

31. Why would I compare those numbers to minimum wage when minimum wage is a sick joke?

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Response to KittyWampus (Reply #31)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:59 PM

34. I see what you're driving at

I don't think minimum wage needs to be raised to $260,000 a year to be considered a decent bottom wage, though.

250,000 then, okay.

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Response to KittyWampus (Reply #17)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:18 AM

21. Not rich?

They may not be super rich, but they certainly are not hurting even a little bit. They are paying far less (especially the $650,000 family) in taxes as a percentage than working class folks because of their investments (welfare for the rich). They all could afford to pay more in taxes. Back before the economy crashed in 2008/2009, my husband and I together used to make around the lower amounts pictured and I can tell you we felt VERY comfortable and didn't have any money worries at all - went to Europe for 3 weeks, drive nice cars, paid for our daughter's college, etc. These days, our income has been cut 30% but we are still making it, paying our bills timely, but no more excellent vacations like we used to take.

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Response to KittyWampus (Reply #17)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:27 AM

24. Cool. So all one has to do to be rich is to "feel" rich, and visa-versa?

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Response to KittyWampus (Reply #17)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:48 PM

32. For historical reference (which supports both perspectives here):

In 1955 there were 24 income tax brackets. Adjusting for inflation:
16 brackets affected incomes above the equivalent of $250,000;
11 of those affected incomes above the equivalent of $500,000;
The top bracket kicked in on incomes over the equivalent of $3.3 million.

And that's just talking about where one income level was treated differently than another, without even mentioning what the rates were on those brackets.

Yet somehow we still had rich people, and people who became rich.


All the (fictional) people in the WJS graphic are affluent and doing very well, even if they aren't among the super-rich (though I'd argue the $650K family with $180K investment income certainly qualifies for the non-super version of "rich"). Be that as it may, it definitely misleads readers by only using examples from the highest (non-super-rich) end of the income spectrum, and using representations that imply generally more modest means than the specified incomes.

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Response to KittyWampus (Reply #17)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 12:54 PM

33. Really? Your post is RICH!

The next income level is what is commonly called the "5 percent," or the percentage of Americans who make more than $150,000 annually. At the top of the economic ladder is the so-called "1 percent," or households that earn more than $250,000 annually.
http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2012/09/13/where-do-you-fall-in-the-american-economic-class-system


Perhaps you should get out more.

Edited to add, 3 of the 4 depicted in this cartoon fall into the top 1% category. I would hardly call that part of the "middle class."

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Response to Oilwellian (Reply #33)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 01:24 PM

39. I don't know any "retired couples" bringing in $180k!

 

In fact I don't think I know anyone making that much, period. The people in the picture are supposed to be poor? You gots to be kidding me.

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Response to KittyWampus (Reply #17)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 01:27 PM

40. Let's compare it not to the minimum wage, but to actual income & wealth data

I don't know where you live, but for most Americans, these folks would qualify as rich.

Let's just look at total income, and then see where each example fits in the actual distribution of income in the US. (Assuming the data at http://www.whatsmypercent.com/ is correct Note that this site apparently uses 2010 data)

Single parent with $260,000 in total income:
99th percentile

Single person with $230,000 in total income:
99th percentile

Retired couple with $180,000 in total income:
98th percentile

Married couple with $650,000 in total income:
98th percentile

But let's not just look at income: let's also look at wealth. These folks all reported substantial investment income. In 2012, the Dow went up 7.3%. Some of these folks probably have money invested in differently--the single woman, for example, may have a much more aggressive portfolio than the retired couple, but let's just assume that all these folks earned 7.3% on this money this past year.

So how much wealth does each of these average Americans actually have? Let's exclude the fact that most folks in this category will also have some home equity, for the moment, and assume that their income generating investments are the only wealth they have. What are their ranks? The calculator here is from http://www.4cdg.com/cgi-bin/calculators/wealth2.cgi . I assume the ages from the handy dandy illustrations and desciptions.

Single Parent with $35,000 in investment income:
$479,452
95.152th percentile (assuming 30-39 age range)

Single person with $25,000 in investment income:
$342,465
98.31th percentile (assuming 20-29 age range)

Retired couple with $52,000 in investment income:
$712,328
84.77th percentile (assuming 60-69 age range)

Married couple with $180,000 in investment income:
$2,465,753
99th percentile (assuming 30-39 age range, drops to 97.54th percentile if 40-49 age range is assumed.)

The folks at the WSJ apparently live in a bubble that only includes the top 1 to 2 percent of earners. Most folks in this country would happily trade a tax increase of $2,000 for this sort of income.

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Response to Alcibiades (Reply #40)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 05:19 PM

42. Well said

A classic example of the 1 percenters versus the 99 percent of us.

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Response to Oilwellian (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:17 AM

20. yeah, it's freaking unreal-- simply disgusting

 

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Response to Oilwellian (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:19 AM

22. how many single mothers are there who command $260K?

 

It's got to be a miniscule number if it's even above 0.

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Response to NoMoreWarNow (Reply #22)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:55 AM

26. There are a few, I'm sure. But...

But the way the picture looks makes one think of the average low–wage mother. And to suggest someone with a $260,000 income has it just as tough as the average single parent is downright insulting.

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Response to NoMoreWarNow (Reply #22)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 05:30 PM

43. Elin Nordegren Woods?

Tiger had to scratch out $100 mil to get rid of her

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Response to NoMoreWarNow (Reply #22)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 05:34 PM

44. Hell, how many single mothers aren't managing to command $35K?

That's what they claim that parent's investment income alone is.

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Response to Oilwellian (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:26 AM

23. Yeah, what percentage of people in the single parent, two kids class have any investment income at

all?

This seems like a BUY STOCKS plug.

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Response to Oilwellian (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 11:42 AM

25. "different plane of reality" ... & dontch ya'll come knockin'

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Response to Oilwellian (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 01:03 PM

37. Single person making $230K? What planet are they living on???

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Response to Initech (Reply #37)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 01:13 PM

38. Oh, there are probably plenty

But the drawing is of a young (twenty-something) non-White female. You could probably count the number of women like her on your hands.

The reality is, the majority of that demographic and income level is older white bachelors, and I'd bet it's close to 90 percent. But of course they don't want to show that.

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Response to Oilwellian (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 05:37 PM

47. That really is an incredible image

Incredible both in the literal sense of "I can't fucking believe this," and that it's an amazing look into the mindsets of, well, the sort of people who would publish that.

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