I’m talking about our number of the day: 160 million.
That’s how many wage earners will probably get higher tax bills next year when the payroll tax cut expires. If this break isn’t extended, virtually every wage earner will see a 2 percent boost in taxes taken out of their paycheck. On average, this will mean a $1,000 tax hike for every middle-income family.
The New York Times found this could also cost our country up to a million jobs, and it could clip at least half a percentage point off economic growth in 2013. Yet the White House seems to be allowing it to lapse. Even Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi said we should let it end. And most Republicans opposed it from the beginning.
The cut in payroll taxes benefited the folks who actually spent the extra money and stimulated the economy. Contrast that with tax breaks on high incomes – these are people who are wealthy enough to set it aside. It won’t affect their spending habits in the least.
Sure, the payroll tax holiday was always supposed to be temporary. But so were the high-end tax cuts under George W. Bush, and those still have rabid defenders. There’s an imbalance of passion here. The middle class needs champions who are just as vehement as the tireless GOP advocates for tax cuts that serve the top 1 percent.