Republicans are so anti-tax increase that they would block medical treatment for 9/11 heroes to protect the wealth of the top 1% of Americans. That’s nothing new. What is news right now is who Republicans ARE looking to tax at a higher rate – all of working Americans, even those who toil at minimum wage with no benefits.
What’s happening: The Obama administration is pushing aggressively to extend the payroll tax “holiday” that Congress enacted in December. The payroll tax holiday benefits middle and lower income workers by reducing the Social Security tax coming out of their paychecks from 6.2% to 4.2%.
For a household bringing in a total of $63,000/year, the current payroll tax cut means an annual savings of $1,230 – a mortgage payment in tough times. The maximum annual benefit is just over $2,000 per person, so it’s a tax cut that overwhelming favors the working class – not the rich to whom one or two hundred dollars a month is a pittance.
Now, you would think that Republicans would support the payroll tax cut extension. The GOP has been maniacal about the government not raising taxes – or ending current tax breaks – especially during a weak economy. Speaker John Boehner said in defense of the Bush Tax Cuts:
“Listen, you can’t raise taxes in the middle of a weak economy without risking the double dip in this recession…Raising taxes at this point in the economy is a very bad idea…I am not for raising taxes on the American people in a soft economy.”
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Many Republicans, however, are angling to hike the payroll tax back to 6.2% come Jan. 1, 2012. They are shrugging off the fact that such a stance violates their own Americans for Tax Reform pledge (started by the conservative activist Grover Norquist). The pledge disallows any type of net tax increase and its proponents have sworn that the pledge upholds extension of the “temporary” Bush tax cuts favoring the rich.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., “has never believed that this type of temporary tax relief is the best way to grow the economy,” said spokesman Brad Dayspring. (“Temporary tax relief,” like the Bush Tax Cuts, is only good enough for the rich, I suppose.)
Former Massachusetts Gov. and GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney did not flatly rule out an extra year for the payroll tax cut, instead his campaign said that he “would prefer to see the payroll tax cut on the employer side” (instead of cutting workers’ taxes).
GOP budget leader Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) dismissed a payroll tax holiday in June as nothing but “sugar-high economics.”
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) when asked about the payroll tax matter: “We don’t need short-term gestures [that benefit the working class.] We need long-term fundamental changes in our tax structure and our regulatory structure that people who create jobs [aka the rich] can rely on.”
It’s obvious that Republicans care equally about two objectives to the expense of everything and everyone else:
- Protect the rich from paying a marginally higher tax rate, shifting the tax burden to people living paycheck to paycheck if necessary, and
- Obstruct all progress promoted by President Obama so that even his own party deserts him.
Just please, PLEASE VOTE. It does matter.