People who are barely in top income bracket brace for tax hit

“The core of it, like we’re the ultrarich—that just sticks in my craw,” said Geoff Thompson, of New York’s Westchester County, who runs a marketing firm with his wife, earning together between $300,000 and $350,000 a year. “I don’t know what it’s like in that rarefied atmosphere where people are making multiple millions.”

Mr. Thompson’s household is one of nearly five million that earn between $200,000 and $500,000 annually. They make up the largest subset of the top 2% of earners. Fewer than 1.2 million households earn more than $500,000…

If Congress fails to reach a deal and tax increases automatically kick in, high-earning families with income up to $500,000 will see their tax bill jump by about $14,650 on average, according to the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution…

Mr. Thompson, 65 years old, said a rising tax tab means he would cut back on spending so he and his wife can continue saving for retirement.