There is no bottom to President Obama’s political deception and class warfare pit.
If you followed this week’s drama in Washington you know the House passed a bill that would extend the temporary payroll tax reduction for another year. The Senate responded with a bill that would extend it for only two months. Republicans finally rolled over and passed the Senate bill ensuring that we’ll endure another two months of controversy over the same issue.
Two months is better for Obama and the Democrats because the issue serves as a pretext for them to renew demands for a permanent tax hike on “the rich,” mostly small business employers, to “pay for” the temporary payroll tax reduction. Obama wants to divert blame for America’s continuing economic crisis from his massive deficits and bureaucratic interference in the private economy to “the rich.”
A year ago this month was the “Lame Duck Session” of Congress. Outraged voters had just swept out the House Democrats’ 98 seat majority, replacing it with a new 43 seat Republican majority. But last December Democrats were still in control until the new Congress began in January. One of their final acts was a reduction in the Social Security payroll tax paid by employees from 6.2% to 4.2% temporarily, for one year.
A month ago Obama began howling that the expiration of the payroll tax discount – as required by the legislation he and the Democrats enacted when they still held commanding majorities – would be “a tax increase on hard working middle class Americans,” to be blamed on heartless Republicans.
On Thursday Obama ramped up the theatrics and gave us a preview of his New Year strategy for diverting attention away from his manifest failures. He stepped to the microphones to prove he identifies with the struggles of the helpless against those cruel Republican Scrooges (transcript). His tone dripping with pious solicitude, he began:
We’ve been doing everything we can to make sure that 160 million working Americans aren’t hit with a Holiday tax increase on January First…If you’re a family making about $50,000 a year this is a tax cut that amounts to about a thousand dollars a year. That’s about forty bucks out of every paycheck.
So far the President’s math is correct, since most employees are paid either bi-weekly or semi-monthly.
It may be that there are some folks in the House who refuse to vote for this compromise because they don’t think forty bucks is a lot of money. But anyone who knows what it’s like to stretch a budget knows that at the end of the week or the end of the month forty dollars can make all the difference in the world…
So on Tuesday we asked folks to tell us what it would be like to lose forty bucks every week.
Wait a minute! “Every week?” He just changed it from $40 out of every paycheck to $40 every week! But the temporary tax cut is worth only $19 every week to his hypothetical $50,000 per year family.
You’d have to earn $104,000 a year for Obama’s Social Security tax markdown to be worth $40 every week.
Obama then quoted some of the emails from his “folks” about how they would deal with the loss of $40 per week.
Joseph from New Jersey would have to sacrifice the occasional pizza night with his daughters. My 16 year old twins will be out of the house soon – I’ll miss this.
Richard from Rhode Island wrote to tell us that having an extra $40 in his check buys enough heating oil to keep his family warm for three nights. In his words, and I’m quoting, If someone doesn’t think that 12 gallons of heating oil is important invite them to spend three nights in an unheated home.
Pete from Wisconsin told us about driving more than 200 miles each week to keep his father in law company in a nursing home. $40 out of his paycheck would mean that he could only make three trips instead of four.
Dinner out for child who’s home for Christmas, a pair of shoes – these are the things that are at stake for millions of Americans. They matter a lot.
Obviously these emails are absurd. If you earn $104,000 and have to give up $40 per week, are you really going to have to deny your kids a pizza or a pair of shoes? Will you shiver for three nights without heating oil?
Of course, there are some folks to whom $40 every week would be make a real difference:
- A hotel maid who works full time for $8.50 per hour
- A construction worker who has been cut back to half time work at $17 per hour
- A self employed business owner whose customers were hammered by the recession and now barely survives by depleting his savings. He generated only $17,700 profit this year after paying his employees and the employer’s half of the payroll tax which was not reduced by the Obama payroll tax markdown.
To each of these people Obama’s temporary payroll tax cut is worth not $40 but $6.80 per week.
But much of the media have already begun to help Obama plant a false perception in the minds of uninformed voters that Republicans would deny everyone $40 per week. (For example, see the headline here.)
Obama knows that informed voters will figure out the deception. But he doesn’t care about informed voters. They won’t vote for him anyway.