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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

 
The poor, poor rich of the Wall Street Journal

by David Atkins

So this is apparently a real thing from 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.

And then we remember that in our tax policy discussions, the only people in this little picture actually being impacted by an increase in the marginal tax rate are that final family of $650,000 paying a nearly irrelevant 4% increase only on every dollar above $400,000. And over this, we have Fox News and the right wing blaring constantly about Stalin, Mao and the advance of Communism.

These folks live in a Versailles bubble, modern day edition. But even they're not the ones with the real money. The real plutocrats outstrip even these jokers by exponential leaps and bounds. And they're the ones who drive public policy in this country.


(h/t Charles Pierce, TBogg and the original find by Xenos)

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