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A deal to halt the hike on the payroll tax looks like it's in the works -- and it's these cities that should be the most thankful. In the map above from Kenan Fikri over at The Atlantic Cities, it's those residents in the cities in blue that stood the most to lose from a tax hike. See, your Average Joe gets his income in three main ways: from the wages he earns at work, from returns on his investments, and from government handouts he receives. "Certain metros, structurally, subsist more on the earnings of working stiffs than others," Fikri writes. "These places have the most at stake in the current payroll tax cut debate." The potion of income gotten from wages is highest in Washington, D.C., full of high-earning elites, followed by boom towns Houston, Denver, Nashville, and Dallas. So in a sense, congressmen in D.C. were prepared to shoot themselves in the foot if a deal wasn't reached. Workers in red-colored cities above depend the most on non-work-related income -- Sun Belt cities where returns on investments are more important for retirees and Rust Belt cities where government transfers are more important for the unemployed. The payroll tax hike would have made the smallest dent in their incomes.

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