Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Payroll tax bill: Impasse angers workers who could lose $20 a week or more

Payroll tax bill would allow $50,000 a year earner to continue saving $1,000 in taxes annually. Americans are frustrated at the lack of compromise over a payroll tax bill.

(Page 2 of 2)



A payroll tax increase would come at a vulnerable time for some people who already have been affected by falling property values and, in some cases, state tax increases.

Skip to next paragraph

Some expected to spend less on non-essential things, like dining out. And others said they were willing to pay more if it means reducing the deficit. But almost all agreed that the partisan acrimony and 11th-hour crises in Washington are getting old.

"It seems they want to bring down everything to the last minute and then figure it out," said David Kaiser, an institutional researcher at Miami Dade College in Florida, who said a tax increase wouldn't affect him significantly.

Kaiser wanted "some way to send that message to them: That's not what they're hired for."

Mike Raney, a maintenance and repair worker from Chicago, said he blames the stalemate on "misguided ideals" among politicians of both parties.

"I'd like to say they mean well, but we're talking about politicians," Raney said as he ate a hamburger at a McDonald's in Chicago's Loop. "It's very frustrating, especially for people who are just getting by. I mean, it's not like I'm making millions of dollars, but it's affecting other people a lot harder than it's affecting me."

The tax cut lowered the Social Security tax on incomes of up to $106,800 from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent. It's meant a maximum savings of $2,136 for an individual.

Without a deal, Americans would begin 2012 facing a tax increase just as an election year begins. And many say the bickering has more to do with elections than economic ideals.

"The way I see it is that the Republicans want Obama to be a one-term president," said James Edwards, an Amtrak conductor from Hamden, Conn., who was in Boston on Wednesday. "They are taking their patriotism and throwing it away, and they are hurting the middle class. They want to make sure that America is hurting while this president is sitting so they won't vote for him in 2012."

Anaiah Spencer, a property manager from Los Angeles, said the deadlock is damaging people's faith in lawmakers.

"I have never seen a government this divisive," Spencer said. "In the end, we both end up broke, and we wind up with an entire country of angry citizens who don't know who to turn to."

Greg Kirksey, a pastor in Little Rock, Ark., said a payroll tax increase would be little more than an inconvenience for him, but others are "talking about whether to buy dried beans or ground beef to get their protein."

"But I'm afraid because it's a political year ... I'm not thinking anybody's really got the guts to make the hard decisions," he said. "They just keep putting a Band-Aid on, putting a Band-Aid on, kicking the can down the road a little farther."