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CNNMoneyFortuneWevNewz: Well-Off Hard Hit by Inconvenience

May 4, 2010

According to some editor guy at CNN/Money/Fortune/wev, the not-quite-rich ($250k-$500k/yr) are hurting, and not at all entitled or anything.

The hard hit folks in question are “HENRYs”:

“…generally folks in their 30s and 40s who got the best grades in high school, worked their way through college, and logged long hours as law firm associates or consultants on the rise”

Oh noez! What about the middle-aged lawyers who worked oh so hard?!?! They’re soooo smart and deserving unlike the rest of youz!’

I sense danger ahead.

“Obama was targeting the HENRYs for big tax increases, declaring that families making over $250,000 a year were ‘the rich’ and needed to ‘pay their fair share.’ Even then, I [Shawn Tully, senior editor-at-large of Fortune] argued, the HENRYs were so squeezed between their big expenses for the things they considered staples — private schools and day care for the kids, for example — and an immense tax burden that typically took at $100,000 from a $350,000 income, that they not only weren’t rich, but stood little chance of ever saving the big nest egg to qualify as truly wealthy.”

Wha?? Pay 28% of their paycheck in taxes?!? The absurdity!!! These people deserve riches! Yet you propose to tax them at a time when opting out of society is oh-so-costly!

The whole article seems to be arguing for a society that the editors of CNN/Money aren’t considering. Folks with 6 figures are hurting because their incomes have been cut by 25%? They can’t afford to send their kids to separate, well-funded schools? High quality child care is expensive for them? That’s just zany! My child will be going to well-funded public schools, and before class, I’ll just drop her off at the free daycare center where… wait, what were we talking about?

I’m not smart, or middle-aged, or hard-working, but I recognize some parallels between my situation and that of the HENRYs. Rather than pitting Obama and Engels against the HENRYs and big corporations, maybe the HENRYs and the rest of the working class are actually in the same boat. Sure, the HENRYs aren’t riding in steerage, and the bubble in the early 2000’s helped them afford top-shelf liquors in the boat’s bar, but seriously.

Alas, having us all in the same boat doesn’t allow us to dismiss less fortunate folks as less deserving. Once you do that, you might actually start having to think about, say, what was responsible for the financial meltdown, and who benefited from the run up to it. Gasp!

On second thought, the HENRYs should probably keep complaining about how unfair it is that they have to share the pain of a broken system that they toooooootally deserved to benefit from. Yes, that’s it. We can totally sell them expensive stuff to carry around at their protests against the less deserving.

Postscript: I’m not shocked that Fortune magazine would publish this sort of thing. My anger really comes from the insinuation that I should care. Fortune is obviously not about me or my friends, and by extension, presents Fortune is not about me.

There are lots of publications that occasionally include representations of folks like me: Bust, make/shift, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Advocate, Curve, Transgender Tapestry, fiveonfive, etc., Yet, with the possible exception of The Chronicle, I don’t see any of those publications in partnerships with mass media outlets.

I don’t see CNNBitch: “WTF?!?”, but I do see the equivalent of CNNVanityFair: “Are Brown People Touching Your Stuff?”, and “Offshore Tax Shelters: Is St. Kitts the new Aruba?”

I don’t get cable, but I can’t so much as buy a taco without encountering CNN. CNN is not benign white noise. CNN is not news for and about all people, or even for and about all Americans.

Yes, news and popular representations of politics and culture are not always going to be about me. However, as long as CNN et al., keep going with “Oh noez! Well-off cis straight white guys have it sooooo rough” storylines, I’m going to be plenty pissed when people act as if major media outlets give a realistic picture of society.

Cross-posted at Shakesville.

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