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Sunday, October 23, 2016

The right wing is abuzz with a question they find delicious: Why is my paycheck less this week?

The simple answer for most taxpayers that that Republicans found a tax cut that wasn’t worth fighting for — yours.

Here are the four reasons your paycheck may be smaller today than it was just a few weeks ago:

1. With the payroll tax cut President Obama negotiated in 2010 expiring, any income under $110,100 will be taxed at a rate 2 percent higher. This tax sustains Social Security, which for many Americans, will make sure they don’t spend their golden years starving. And Republicans never proposed extending it.

2. You earn over $400,000 a year if you’re single, $450,000 if married, and your company’s HR department has already factored in that you’ve lost your Bush tax break on any income over those $400,000/$450,000 amounts. There’s also a new Medicare tax on income over $200,000/$250,000 of about 1 percent if you’re married or self-employed. If you pay this, congratulations. You’re likely in the top 1 percent of Americans. You’re the envy of millions of temporarily embarrassed millionaires. And though the tax code is now more progressive than it’s been in 33 years, you’re still paying less than high-earners have historically.

3. There’s a new 3.8 percent surtax on investment income over $200,000/ $250,000. So investments will be taxed more, but still less in most cases than actual work.

4. You’re a department store Santa.

Of course, a party that blames President Obama for everything from George W. Bush’s economy to their own Civil War, blames President Obama that the payroll tax holiday of 2010 and 2011 has expired.

This is completely ignores the reality that President Obama’s opening offer to resolve the so-called “fiscal cliff” included extending the cut. Take it away, Wall Street Journal:

The proposal marked an opening salvo in negotiations over the fiscal cliff and represented a particularly expansive version of the White House’s wish list, with a heavy focus on tax increases and spending proposals—including keeping in place a payroll-tax cut and extended unemployment benefits.

Republicans rejected that offer, along with any direct stimulus to average taxpayers. The president was able to eventually negotiate an extension of unemployment benefits — which, for any Fox News fans reading this, helps the unemployed. But the payroll tax cuts along with sorely needed infrastructure included in the offer disappeared.

Democrats tried to replace the payroll tax cut with the Making Work Count tax cut the president included in the stimulus, which would keep paychecks about where they were in 2012. Republicans rejected that, too.

How can you really be sure the Republicans opposed the payroll tax cut? The House GOP almost killed it off in 2010.

President Obama often says he’s not perfect, but his worst critics invariably attack him for things that are entirely of their own imagination or the result of Republican policies. The latter is true here and that’s a shame, because an opposition from the right that made fair criticisms about this president would be good for democracy.

By the way: If you earn the minimum wage in one of these 10 states — which are mostly blue states, of course — your paycheck likely is bigger this week. Nice.

Photo: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • We are governed by assholes.

    • Such a simple, short statement………..So utterly true and unarguable.

  • Social security has nothing to do with the deficit. The payroll tax (not realy a tax) goes into a special fund that only pays for Social Security only. The Bush people voted the drug program ( with the donut hole ), it’s purpose was to break Medicare because they didn’t provide ways to pay for it. The payroll tax increase is a kick in the aa– for the middle class and business’s by the republican party, so they increased taxes on the midddle class and on the one percent.

  • Pingback: Jan 5 2013 | "The flickers of progress that we have seen must not be extinguished _ they must be strengthened; they must become a shining North Star for all this nation’s people." President Barack Obama()

  • elw

    Nice, clear and good information. One of the best taxes I have ever paid has been my payroll contributions for Social Security and Medicare. I am retired now and when I look back at the few times during my career that tax went up, I can honestly say it was worth it when you compare it to how much my Social Security and Medicare is helping me stay independent , healthy and allowing me to enjoy my remaining years. I planned for my retirement – but how do plan for the down turn that took place in 2007-2008 – just about the time I was forced to retire. It was Social Securitym Medicare and a few changes in how and where I would retire that made it still possible for me. I am just one of millions who could tell the same story.

  • Because the temporary FICA contribution reduction put in place by President Obama to stimulate the economy came to an end on 12/31/12. As a result, FICA contributions went up by about 2%. The average American worker will pay about $20 a week more in taxes. The rationale for allowing the FICA contribution to go back to its normal level is that the temporary cut was unsustainable and would have bankrupted Social Security.

  • mitch callahan

    oh wait….bush’s fault again….go figure….

  • Let’s see, Obama cut the payroll tax 2% now it expired so we have less in our paychecks? Hmmm, just like Bush’s tax cuts expiring and the fiscal cliff fiasco? Why can’t we cut SPENDING so we can keep the tax cuts from expiring? Our Government is going broke and they will come after us making much less that $250,000 eventually, ya think?

  • ralphkr

    I would like to preface my comments by making it clear that I do not get either SS nor Medicare even though I am well past 65 because of so many years at exempt jobs. I find contemptible any proposal to means test either SS nor Medicare. Means testing SS & Medicare would be the same as means testing any other insurance program. Carried into the private for-profit sector it would mean that if I get sick then Blue Cross would not have to cover any of my expenses because I have money in the bank or if I have a car accident that Farmers would not have to pay because I have enough money to pay for the damage myself. Means testing changes SS from an insurance annuity to welfare and changes Medicare from Health Insurance to welfare.

  • Syl J.

    I’m not understanding this at all. People need their money TODAY to pay their bills especially those making less than $110K. Most of those folks can’t afford the additional funds taken out of their checks. Obama is a very bright man but not when it comes to dealing with the good ole GOP. The poor and middle-class always get the shaft and the rich never see anything that will adversely affect or change their paychecks. Not doing the Payroll Tax Cut is like another tax on the poor and middle-class. I’m already hearing from people who are going to see less in their paychecks and working two jobs wondering how an extra $60-$100 taken out of their checks is going to affect their ability to pay their bills. This is a terrible deal for the poor and middle-class but great for the rich. I think it’s time Obama [and the Democrats] grew a backbone and stop selling the poor and middle-class down the river in order to get deals done with the GOP who give up virtually nothing. I would have felt better if we’d gone over the ‘fiscal cliff’ with Obama and the Democrats standing their ground on this rather than taking a deal that hurt a majority of the people anyhow. Very sad,

  • bchrista

    The greatest favor we the people should insist that, the Congress and the Senate have to changed to Term Representativeswith their terms to last no longer than 4 and six years so those guys that have found a home there go take a hike and allow some new blood with fresh ideas only then can we strive to be the greatest countryin the world the Old assholes that have taken residence there are stale and their ideas are no longer productive in keeping with the times, for instance desire to keep funding a large military is past it’s time with all the new weaponolgy we possess a smaller human force is required, less military installations is more efficient and the saving would be in the Billions the Republicans keep bitching cuttting spending there is a good start also less Pork to send to their home states and less money for their 2% buddies to steal. I am sure we could find dozens of other expensive projects we could cut and save millions without having to touch Social Secutity, Medicare or Medicad they just have the wrong economist working for them maybe they shoule fire them and get some honest people that really need a job and give us, we the people a break, lord knows we have been carrying this burden around for a long time.

  • Neisforme

    So…does anyone else find it revealing that the republicans were so damn protective about raising taxes on the rich (to avoid the ‘fiscal cliff’) but all politicians were very content to say NOTHING about taxes raising automatically on EVERYBODY BUT THE RICH (people making less than $110,100/year).
    Helloooo….wake up 98%….the social security tax break is the biggest tax break that high income people have. All of their income above $110,100/yr is exempt from a 12.4% tax that middle class americans pay on ALL WAGE INCOME. WHY DOES NOBODY TALK ABOUT THIS TAX BREAK????

  • I hate these insensate obstructionist reprobates with all my heart.

  • Another reason your paycheck could be smaller is that sometime in 2012 you reached the Social Security payroll tax earnings cap. Your paycheck then went up sometime in 2012, but now, with the new year, payroll taxes are withheld again unless and until you reach the 2013 earnings cap.

    Payroll taxes are regressive. If you’re a decently compensated executive secretary, nurse, or construction worker you will pay the same amount in annual Social Security payroll taxes as Warren Buffet, a professional baseball player, or a Goldman Sachs executive. Once you reach a bit over $110,000 in earnings you don’t pay another dime in Social Security payroll tax. Many/most progressive reformers think the payroll tax cap should be eliminated, payroll taxes should be extended to unearned income (interest, dividends, and capital gains), and the extra revenue used to reduce the rate for everyone and/or introduce a payroll tax exemption for an initial amount of annual income. (Good idea.)

  • WadeF

    The only problem is Obama promised the middle class wouldn’t see their taxes go up a dime if he was re-elected. He never said “I may have to let the payroll tax holiday expire so we can fund Social Security, but I won’t raise any other taxes.” He broke his promise.

  • eduard8713

    You do realize author, that this cut was part of the fiscal cliff? We all shamed Repubs into taking the deal at the last minute or they may have kept fighting for us into places we didn’t want to be. You REALLY wanted them to keep fighting and pass the deadline? Where would we be then?

  • Fellow Traveler

    Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.

    What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense. If every person has the right to defend even by force — his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right — its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force — for the same reason — cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.

    Such a perversion of force would be, in both cases, contrary to our premise. Force has been given to us to defend our own individual rights. Who will dare to say that force has been given to us to destroy the equal rights of our brothers? Since no individual acting separately can lawfully use force to destroy the rights of others, does it not logically follow that the same principle also applies to the common force that is nothing more than the organized combination of the individual forces?

    If this is true, then nothing can be more evident than this: The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense. It is the substitution of a common force for individual forces. And this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do: to protect persons, liberties, and properties; to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over us all.

  • The NationalMemo, left-wing outlet that it is, screws up the whole issue. What’s obvious is that in Obama’s Marxian (yes, Marxian) redistributionist scheme, everybody’s taxes will go up. This week’s paycheck is just the beginning. Tax to oblivion the golden goose, and there are no more golden egges. Romney tried to tell you, you wouldn’t listen. The demagogue got what he wanted. Now we will all pay. Next time you think, “it’s okay, it’s somebody else’s money,” look at your paycheck, if you’re lucky enough to find work in the new Obamanation.

  • The Social Security tax cut reduced money going into the Social Security Trust Fund. Could the temporary tax cut be anything but temporary without endangering the future of Social Security?

  • I believe that the 2% cut to pay roll taxes was a bad idea in the first place, yes it gave everyone a little extra cash but in the long run it was going to feed into the talking point that SS is going broke, that is were that money goes after all.