To any of the 50 million Americans currently living in poverty, an annual household income of $400,000 probably sounds like a dream come true. Even to the millions of people among the rapidly-disappearing middle class, that kind of money sounds cushy.
Not so fast, proclaims The Wall Street Journal.
In a recent video, posted on the billionaire Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper's website, accompanying a recent feature titled "Six-Figure Incomes--and Facing Financial Ruin," the WSJ lays out (completely un-ironically) the case for why a family of four living in Chicago on salaries totaling $400,000 -- almost 10 times the city's median annual household income -- could actually "just barely be getting by."
The hypothetical family, the Journal says, has two kids and lives in a home worth $1.2 million. Their core expenses -- including a mortgage payment, property taxes, home maintenance, utilities, bills, auto insurance and $575 in groceries a week -- come to $190,000 a year.
On top of that, the spend-happy family is said to shell out $25,000 on vacations and $22,000 on restaurants, entertainment and club dues a year, plus $60,000 on a new car every four years -- adding up to $62,000 annually.
Factor in those expenses, plus spending on holiday gifts, school fundraisers and taxes, and the family is not even breaking even. Cue the money bonfire!
Tough out there, huh?
The video has been met with mockery. Jezebel's Erin Gloria Ryan described the video as either "a deliberately unsympathetic joke designed to agitate the stirrings of an American class war or ... one of the whitest whines of all time," while the Los Angeles Times' Michael Hiltzik deemed it "reverse econ-porn."