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Goldman employees no longer wealthy?

January 17, 2013: 4:20 PM ET

Goldman Sachs

Not all Goldmanites get to be part of the new 1%.

FORTUNE -- Goldman Sachs yesterday reported fourth quarter earnings, including data on year-end employee compensation. What we learned was that the average Goldman employee isn't part of the fabled 1%, at least based on the most recent political definition.

Average compensation at Goldman Sachs (GS) was $399,506 per employee, which falls $494 short of the $400,000 threshold that President Obama set last month for federal income tax increases on individuals.

To be sure, this is more about compromised political goalposts than it is about Goldman Sachs compensation, since the 2012 figure actually was a 6% increase over 2011. Moreover, plenty of Goldman employees made well in excess of $400,000 -- several multiples of that, in some cases -- and the new tax brackets don't actually apply to 2011 income.

But it does go to show how difficult it would be for anyone to claim that the new brackets unfairly sweep up members of the middle class, as some tried wrongheadedly arguing under Obama's original $250,000 proposal. After all, if you're doing better than the best-paid employees on Wall Street, then I think we can all agree you're rich.

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Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined Fortune.com in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both peHUB.com and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

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