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The Wall Street Journal Doesn't Actually Know Any Middle-Class Americans

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Matt Yglesias highlights this infographic from a Wall Street Journal article that endeavors to explain how the fiscal cliff resolution will impact taxes. There are a lot of new complications that will probably be a bit headache-inducing for tax preparers, all well covered by the piece.

But the infographic that accompanies the article kind of gives away the fact that when all is said and done and all the beans are counted, what's going to happen to fantastically affluent people as a result of the various tax increases is that they will remain fantastically affluent, possessing sizable disposable fortunes, well in excess of the median income.

wall street journal middle class

Naturally, one should not discount the very real ways the end result of the fiscal-cliff foofaraw resulted in bad outcomes for millions of Americans, but these bad outcomes came primarily in the form of the payroll tax holiday ending. As HuffPost's Dave Jamieson reported, "For many minimum wage workers who are receiving a wage increase this year, the higher payroll tax will offset much or all of the potential gains they anticipated in the new year." In addition, the decision to end the payroll tax holiday may put a drag on the economy over the course of the year -- Moody's Marc Zandi estimated it could knock half a percentage point off growth.

That, right there, is the actual big "Who Gets Hurt Now That The Fiscal Cliff Is Averted" story -- and for a brief, mad moment, The Wall Street Journal seemed to be somewhat cognizant of that. But now they are fretting about what's going to happen to families that make $650,000 a year, and single women who clear two hundred grand in annual income. But there's no need to fret about the people in this infographic. These people are doing terrific, even in this terrible economy.

Maybe The Wall Street Journal is merely catering to their affluent Manhattan readership? Well, in previous adventures in median income reckoning, Yglesias noted that the median income in Manhattan is about $65,000, so the person who is worst off in this infographic still earns three-and-a-half times that.

I am just going to assume that the people pictured in this infographic are the only Americans The Wall Street Journal has ever met -- this rich family, these two rich ladies, these well-invested retirees -- and the newspaper is just looking out for its dear pals.

But don't worry! They'll be fine.

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