Congress Is Playing Games With Your Paycheck

Right now, the U.S. House is debating whether or not to extend the 2% reduction of the payroll tax that was put in place this time last year.

From the New York Times:

House Republicans moved closer on Tuesday to rejecting a bill approved by the Senate that would extend the payroll tax cut for most Americans beyond the end of the year and allow millions of unemployed people to continue receiving jobless benefits.

A procedural vote late Tuesday morning passed 231 to 187, with nearly every Republican voting in favor and nearly every Democrat opposed. It cleared the way for debate of the Republican proposal to turn down the Senate measure and establish a negotiating committee so the two chambers could resolve their differences. But the Senate has left town for the year, and Democrats say they do not intend to call it back, putting continuation of the tax cut in jeopardy.

Republicans said that the two-month extensions provided by the Senate bill left too much uncertainty at a time of deep economic vulnerability and would leave Congress facing the same thorny issues early in the new year.

“We have to help struggling American families,” Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, a conservative member of the House Republican leadership, said earlier on CNN. Mr. Hensarling added that “House Republicans stand ready to work over the holidays, like many other Americans have to do, to get this done.”

First off, it was bad policy from the get-go to de-fund Social Security – we have been told for decades by both parties that we should not count payroll taxes as a regular tax since they go to Social Security and Medicare.  By passing this reduction in the first play, Congress put payroll taxes on the table as a new political football.

Secondly, this extension should have been passed long ago for the exact same reasons that the Bush tax cuts have been extended, and should continue to be extended because it is foolish to raise taxes on anyone during a recession.

This would be the consistent message and policy.

Congress is playing games with your paycheck and America’s economy.

Both parties are to blame because both parties are more worried about their own partisan gamesmanship than doing what is right for the country.

At this point, they don’t seem to have gotten the message from the 2010 election.  It’s just business as usual.

Dustin Gawrylow is the executive director of the North Dakota Taxpayer’s Association.

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