Sure, the “fiscal cliff” deal hikes taxes on the wealthiest, but it also raises taxes on the middle-class and working poor, primarily because the payroll tax holiday goes away. As such, some very well-off Americans end up faring pretty well under the deal.
The Tax Policy Center has totalled up all the tax changes under the bill and finds that two groups of Americans will have the lowest tax increase: Taxpayers with income between $200,000 and $500,000 and those with income between $10,000 and $20,000, both of whom will see their tax rate increase by 1 percentage point—a smaller hike than any other income group. Even those earning less than $10,000 will see a bigger 1.3 percentage point rate hike.
(Data from the Tax Policy Center)
In fact, most of those in the $200,000-$500,000 range dodged a major bullet when legislators agreed upon on a $450,000 threshold rather than the lower $250,000 level that President Obama was pushing for. By comparison, those with income between $500,000 and $1 million will see their taxes go up 2.2 percentage points and those above $1 million will see a 5.2 percentage point hike. So those upper-income Americans whom Congress has deemed to be “middle class” arguably got the best deal under the entire bill.