Comparing Pay Stubs

Andrew Sullivan —  Aug 27 2012 @ 6:47pm

Screen shot 2012-08-21 at 11.17.40 AM

David Brancaccio investigates why we're scared to reveal how much we make:

"The taboo around money may be our last standing taboo," said New York University financial sociologist Kate Zaloom. Zaloom says this explains one of the great mysteries: how it is that given wide gaps in income in America, everybody walks around thinking we're so equal.

"Of course everyone in America thinks that they're middle class," Zaloom said. "But the only way that someone who makes $12,000 a year and someone who makes $200,000 a year can assume that they are all in the same social category is by never actually revealing what they make to each other."

(Graph from Marketplace's Public Insight Network query of 150 people.)