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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tax hikes loom

Don't look now, but while Republicans defend against tax hikes for millionaires, they have a nasty surprise in store for working folks.

Our Do Damage Congress is poised to do (not do?) just that in its continued ignoring of the Obama jobs bill filed last fall -- and broken down in little pieces since then. At issue is a measure that would extend payroll tax cuts for 160 million who work for a living.

It's the great under-covered story in Washington. While Republican presidential candidates opine on immigration and being God's chosen one, the "leaders" in Washington are studiously avoiding action on anything that might be seen as a victory for Barack Obama.

Which brings us the the payroll tax cut that was part of the stimulus bill and is set to expire at the end of the year. Economists suggest the cuts, which cost about $111.7 billion, are worth about 1.2 percentage points to the gross domestic product.

Obama, speaking yesterday in New Hampshire, put it in more user-friendly terms:
If Republicans reject the measure, “a typical family’s taxes will go up $1,000 next year. If they vote ‘yes,’ the typical working family will get a $1,500 tax cut. All right?’’ Obama said. “So I just wanted to be clear for everybody: ‘No’ — your taxes go up. ‘Yes’ — you get a tax cut.’’
Republicans who supposedly have never seen a tax cut they couldn't love, apparently have problems with this one:
Republicans including House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan, who typically support tax cuts, have raised concerns about the cost of extending the payroll provision. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin have said the tax holiday is a bad idea.
Why? I haven't heard a good answer. Maybe because it wouldn't benefit 160 million people and not only the 1 percent?

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