published Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

GOP ends payroll tax cut

Many House Republicans never wanted in the first place to extend the Social Security payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans, nor to extend jobless benefits for three million more. They proved that emphatically this week by refusing even to call for a vote on the bipartisan Senate bill to temporarily extend the cuts, which was passed last Saturday pending negotiation of a longer-term measure. So unless House Republicans have a change of heart before New Year's Day, federal payroll taxes will rise for working Americans across the land, and the long-term jobless will be left dangling in the dead of winter without critical resources.

That should not be allowed to happen. Loss of the tax break is certain to hurt the economy by slowing the fragile momentum that has been building throughout the latter half of the year. That's something no rational lawmaker should want to occur.

The tax break, moreover, is specifically designed to help America's middle class. For an average household with an annual income of $50,000, it provides around $1,000 a year in extra cash. That money presently is going directly into consumer spending, helping to fuel the economy and boost job growth.

The Republicans' move to abruptly end the tax break while joblessness still hovers around 9 percent can only be taken as a slap in the face for ordinary taxpayers, and as an attempt to derail economic recovery during the critical run-up to the 2012 presidential election. That's as blatantly partisan and wrong-headed as political sabotage gets.

Yet the prospects for reversing course in the House are not good. GOP leaders there, to be sure, are running a daily sham show, briefly opening the House with a skeleton crew for work to make a mock demand for senators to return from their Christmas adjournment, supposedly to craft a another bipartisan bill that might yet please the House.

This daily fakery not only defies belief. It further confirms Republicans' disinterest in calling back their own House lawmakers, who themselves have already returned home, to actually debate and vote on the Senate bill. In any case, the previous House bill on the measure was also deliberately designed to fail. It came freighted with purely punitive spending and regulatory cutbacks, largely in response to Democratic proposals to offset the cost of the payroll tax cuts to the Social Security trust fund by raising taxes moderately on America's super-rich earners.

In essence, the legislative battle over current tax cuts has come to this: Democrats want to fund the cost of the payroll tax cut for ordinary Americans by getting a little more in taxes from the multi-millionaires who got the lion's share of the Bush 2001-2003 tax cuts. To do that, they would let the high-end Bush tax cuts expire for the top 1 percent -- a position the Senate has put on hold for two months, or impose a surtax.

Republicans, by contrast, refuse to ask the super-rich to give back some of their outrageous profits from the Bush tax cuts. But they would allow the payroll to tax-cut for the middle-class expire on Jan. 1.

Republicans are now effectively hung over their wish to maintain unaffordable tax cuts for the nation's super-rich, even if it means hurting the middle class and sabotaging the economy at the same time. Voters should not forget how skewed the terms of current Republican partisanship have become.

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joneses said...

The GOP wanted to extend the tax cuts and umemployment benefits for a whole year versus harry Rieds bill extending it only two months. it seems the GOP is more willing to help the unemployed and cut taxes. This article is a lie.

The House extended unemployment benefits for 13 months. The Senate bill extended unemployment benefits for only two months, meaning an estimated 4 million Americans could lose the extended unemployment benefits next year they would get under the House bill.

The House reformed the unemployment program to focus it more on getting people the training and education they need to get back to work, not just handing out checks. The Senate did not.

The House protected seniors’ health care for the next two years by ensuring doctors in the Medicare program don’t have their reimbursements cut by more than 27 percent. The Senate did this for only two months.

The House provided a one-year extension of the payroll tax holiday, ensuring a worker earning $50,000 next year has $1,000 more in their pocket. The Senate did this for only two months, meaning that same worker would have less than $200 in their pocket, or $800 less in take-home pay than under the House-passed bill. The House included a pay freeze for Members of Congress and civilian federal workers. The Senate did not. The House put an end to welfare benefits being accessed at ATMs located in casinos, liquor stores and strip clubs. The Senate did not. The House protected Social Security by reducing overpayments. The Senate did not.

The House included a provision that saves taxpayers $9 billion by cracking down on fraud and abuse that is known to exist in a refundable tax credit program. The Senate did not. The House provided for economic growth and job creation in the high-tech industry through spectrum auctions. The Senate did not. The House cut taxes to promote business investment and hiring. The Senate did not.

December 22, 2011 at 6:14 a.m.
JustOneWoman said...

The senate already had an approved plan waiting for house vote and the house decided to ignore it. Then the house rammed the oil pipe line in the new plan and whined when it didn't get the senate to act on it. There are always 2 sides to every story. This was never about getting any policies passed, it is only about Republican gridlock to stifle the American people and this presidency.

December 22, 2011 at 8:34 a.m.
fairmon said...

Justonewoman said.....

it is only about Republican gridlock to stifle the American people and this presidency.

Why is it only republican gridlock? The senate could have avoided the problem by passing the house bill which increased jobs which would off set the cost of the reduction. I rarely agree with the house but in this cast as noted by Jonses is a logical proposal. It takes two to have a gridlock.

December 22, 2011 at 9:27 a.m.
conservative said...

Well, well, well! We have Demoncrats, the left and Lieberals ( yes, I know, redundant ) for TAX CUTS! They are not arguing with Republicans whether to have tax cuts but over the DURATION of tax cuts. FDR must be rolling over in his grave. We tax cutters are winning the debate over whether to cut taxes or increase spending to stimulate the economy. It bears repeating, Demoncrats are forTAX CUTS!

December 22, 2011 at 11:33 a.m.
tipper said...

The only thing conservative Republicans have won is the election for Obama. Thanks for your help.

December 22, 2011 at 11:58 a.m.
AndrewLohr said...

Harry Reid's Senate hasn't passed a budget since President Obama took office, and this is the GOP's fault? Sharron Engle and Christine O'Donnell would've done a better job than the guy who spends borrowed and tax dollars on cowboy poetry.

December 22, 2011 at 4:09 p.m.
shoe_chucker said...

Boehner’s office cuts off C-SPAN cameras as GOP takes verbal beating


December 22, 2011 at 8:34 p.m.
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