Covering Washington politics. From our vantage point. One day a time.

Monday, December 5, 2011

If Congress Doesn't Act, Middle Class Taxes Could Go Up

President Obama makes strong push to get Congress pass his proposed tax cut plan, extending the George Bush era tax plan.  Congress has 26 days 9 hours (essentially, before the end of the year to do so).

Speaking today in the James Brady briefing room, President Obama remarked:

"A year ago at this time, both parties came together to cut payroll taxes for the typical American family by about $1,000.  But as soon as this year ends, so does that tax cut.  If Congress fails to renew this tax cut before then, that same family will see a tax hike of about $1,000 a year.  There aren’t many folks either in the middle class or those trying to get into the middle class who can afford to give up $1,000 -- not right now.  And that's why Congress must act", the president said. 

President Obama speaking today in the James Brady briefing room.
"My message to Congress is this: Keep your word to the American people and don't raise taxes on them right now."
"Although the unemployment rate went down last month, our recovery is still fragile, and the situation in Europe has added to that uncertainty.  And that's why the majority of economists believe it's important to extend the payroll tax cut.  And those same economists would lower their growth estimates for our economy if it doesn’t happen. 

Not only is extending the payroll tax cut important for the economy as a whole, it's obviously important for individual families.  It's important insurance for them against the unexpected.  It will help families pay their bills.  It will spur spending.  It will spur hiring.  And it's the right thing to do.

And that's why in my jobs bill I proposed not only extending the tax cut but expanding it to give a typical working family a tax cut of $1,500 next year.  And it was paid for by asking a little more from millionaires and billionaires -- a few hundred thousand people paying a little bit more could have not only extended the existing payroll tax cut but expanded it.

Last week, virtually every Senate Republican voted against that tax cut.  Now, I know many Republicans have sworn an oath never to raise taxes as long as they live.  How could it be that the only time there's a catch is when it comes to raising taxes on middle-class families?  How can you fight tooth and nail to protect high-end tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, and yet barely lift a finger to prevent taxes going up for 160 million Americans who really need the help?  It doesn’t make sense", said Obama.

Remarks of President Barack Obama, Weekly Address,
December 3, 2011
"This week, we learned that our economy added another 140,000 private sector jobs in November. Despite some strong headwinds this year, America’s economy has now created private sector jobs for the past 21 months in a row – almost three million new jobs in all, more than half a million of them in the past four months alone.

We need to keep this growth going and strengthen it.  That’s why we’ve been fighting to pass a series of jobs bills through Congress – bills that independent economists say will create more jobs and grow the economy even faster.  Because now is the time to step on the gas, not slam on the brakes.

Unfortunately, too many Republicans in Congress don’t seem to share that same sense of urgency.  Over the last few months, they’ve said “no” to most of these jobs bills.  “No” to putting teachers and firefighters back to work.  “No” to putting construction workers back on the job.  And this week, they actually said “no” to cutting taxes for middle-class families.
You see, last year, both parties came together to cut payroll taxes for the typical middle-class family by about $1,000.  But that tax cut is set to expire at the end of this month.  If that happens, that same family will see its taxes go up by $1,000.  We can’t let that happen.  In fact, I think we should cut taxes on working families and small business owners even more.

And we’re going to keep pushing Congress to make this happen.  They shouldn’t go home for the holidays until they get this done.  And if you agree with me, I could use your help. 
We’ve set up a simple tax cut calculator on so that you can see exactly what the stakes are for your family. Try it out. Then let your members of Congress know where you stand.

Tell them not to vote to raise taxes on working Americans during the holidays.  Tell them to put country before party.  Put money back in the pockets of working Americans.  Pass these tax cuts. 

We’re all in this together.  The more Americans succeed, the more America succeeds.  And if we remember that and do what it takes to keep this economy growing and opportunity rising, then I’m confident that we’ll come out of this stronger than before."

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney in today's press briefing along side a visual encouraging
Congress to act within 26 days 9 hours to pass the Payroll Tax Cuts.

Scranton High School, Scranton, Pennsylvania

"So the problem is not that we’ve been raising taxes.  We’ve actually been trying to give families a break during these tough times.  But here’s the thing:  That payroll tax cut that we passed in December of last year, it’s set to expire at the end of this year, one month from now.  If that happens -- if Congress doesn’t act to extend this tax cut -- then most of you, the typical middle-class family, is going to see your taxes go up by $1,000 at the worst possible time.  A young lady just said she can’t afford that.  It would be tough for you.  It would also be a massive blow for the economy, because we’re not fully out of the recession yet.  Don’t take my word for it; this is what every independent economist says.  We can’t let this tax cut lapse right now. 

And that’s why my jobs bill, part of the American Jobs Act, was to extend this tax cut for another year.  In fact, it does one better.  It says, let’s expand that tax cut.  Instead of a $1,000 tax cut next year, the typical working family under my plan would get a tax cut of $1,500.  (Applause.)  Instead of it coming out of your paycheck, it would be going into your pocket.  Now, that’s money that you can spend on a small business right here in Scranton.  If you’re a small business owner, my jobs bill will cut your payroll taxes in half.  So if you’ve got 50 employees making $50,000 each, you’d get a tax cut of nearly $80,000.  That’s money that you can then use to hire some more workers and get this economy moving again.  That’s a good thing."

See how much your taxes will go up, if Congress doesn't act.

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