“No Drama Obama” again “can’t wait” to pass a payroll tax cut extension

posted at 1:55 pm on February 14, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Payroll tax extension, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways. // I hate thee to the depth and breadth and height // My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight // For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. // I hate thee to the level of everyday’s // Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. // I hate thee freely, as men strive for Right. // I hate thee purely as they turn from Praise.

OK, I won’t massacre the beauty of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poetry any more, but it just isn’t Valentine’s Day without reading “How do I love thee?” (Seriously, do it!)

More relevantly, why do politicians continue to debate this patently poor policy as though it represents the pinnacle of politically savvy middle-class tax cuts? It’s not even technically a tax cut — just a premature borrowing from our own retirement safety net, which happens to be in dire straits anyway.

Yet, Barack Obama is back to the same shtick, insisting that “we can’t wait” to pass a payroll tax cut extension. I paraphrase: “C’mon Congress, won’t you please just be serious about my silly, transparent politicking?”

National Journal pays the president more respect by actually quoting him:

President Barack Obama again pushed Congress Tuesday to extend payroll tax cut legislation “without drama and without delay.” Obama, speaking from the White House, said there were hopeful signs that Congress would be able to reach an agreement on a package to extend the payroll tax cut, along with federal unemployment insurance and a “fix” for doctors facing a cut in Medicare reimbursement.

“That is good news,” Obama said. “But as you guys know, you can’t take anything for granted here in Washington until my signature is actually on it.”

As he did two months ago, Obama again reached out to the public to keep pressure on lawmakers.

“I’m asking the American people to keep their stories coming. Tell us what $40 means to you,” Obama said. He has repeatedly said that losing the payroll tax cut would mean 40 dollars less in the average pay check. “Call, tweet, write your congressmen, write your senators, tell them, do not let up until this job gets done,” he said.

What does an extra $40 mean to me? Hmm. That sounds like a prompt for an essay contest. My essay would include a little something like this: “It means a luxurious, imagined trip to the bookstore, which I won’t have time to take, or more money for the grocery store, which I never visit anyway, opting instead to live off cold coffee and Fiber One bars.”

Unfortunately for the president, $40 more in the back pockets of most Americans doesn’t translate into any kind of meaningful boost to the economy. It hasn’t worked in the past and it won’t work this time, either.

Consider:

  • According to a poll from The Hill, the majority of Americans said in January that the payroll tax cut extension hasn’t benefitted them.
  • According to a poll from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, a majority of Americans were actually completely unaware that their paychecks were larger as a result of the payroll tax cut. Those who were aware allocated the money responsibly — but you can bet the little “boost” to the clueless didn’t end up where economists wished it would.

Such polls imply that the payroll tax cut extension isn’t even good politics — even if a majority of Americans say they support it. It’s not as though we’re aware enough of that extra $40 in their paychecks to reward politicians for it.

The president’s push to Congress also makes little sense in light of Speaker John Boehner’s announcement yesterday that House Republicans will introduce a clean payroll tax cut extension for the year. If Democrats are so keen to extend the cut, they’ll be able to — without any riders at all. I’d prefer to see Republicans continue to make the case against the payroll tax cut as policy (that’s what truly good representatives would do!), but, if they’re going to play this game, they’d at least better win. I really don’t want the extension to be passed, but at this point, a lack of passage will be a cause for blame, not credit. Paint those Democrats into a corner, Mr. Boehner! Then, after November 2012, dispense with the stupid tax holiday once and for all, save the drama for your mama and, when you talk about Social Security, talk about actual, comprehensive reform.


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Wanting the “tax cuts for the rich” to be extended but not the payroll tax makes the left’s accusation of us only wanting to help the rich look….valid.

DethMetalCookieMonst on February 14, 2012 at 1:59 PM

Liberalism in a nutshell: Give money you don’t have to people who did not earn it.

Chuck Schick on February 14, 2012 at 2:01 PM

people thought Obama was more likely than McCain to cut their taxes.

he is setting up this narrative again.

so far its working…

Drunk Report on February 14, 2012 at 2:01 PM

OBOZO can’t wait to get to the end of the lunatic-left d-cRAT socialists’ “Road to Hell” – i.e. Greece/california.

Please tell your clueless, ignorant, socialist-media-watching friends the TRUTH that the payroll tax is the ONLY funding source for Social Security and that cutting the income from the tax without compensating spending cuts directly increases the national deficit and debt, as well as further bankrupting Social Security.

TeaPartyNation on February 14, 2012 at 2:01 PM

As a state of Ohio employee, I don’t pay into SS. (Seriously, somehow we are exempt from it.) Therefore I get nothing from this “tax cut.”

rbj on February 14, 2012 at 2:02 PM

More relevantly, why do politicians continue to debate this patently poor policy as though it represents the pinnacle of politically savvy middle-class tax cuts?

I assume you’re speaking rhetorically, Tina, but when you’re a Dem the only thing you have in your arsenal (or your arse, for that matter) is class warfare, and Republicans want dirtier air, dirtier water, and they want to take away women’s healthcare or something.

VibrioCocci on February 14, 2012 at 2:03 PM

Tell him to talk to speedbump Harry Reid the house has already passed their version.

CommentGuy on February 14, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Baroid will only sign with a corresponding raise of the debt limit, just watch. Or maybe weepy will give Teh Won a freebie.

JimboHoffa on February 14, 2012 at 2:04 PM

A Test:

Ask 10 strangers if they are aware that they have had a tax cut for the last 14 months. If they say “yes” ask them what was the percentage of the cut. I think you will be surprised at the results of this test.

ColorMeOld on February 14, 2012 at 2:05 PM

$40 won’t cover a month’s worth of the sedatives that I use to control my revulsion for this president.

Cicero43 on February 14, 2012 at 2:09 PM

Do the clean bill and hit that debt ceiling before November.

Is $17,000 of new debt for every person in the US during Obama’s first four years not engough? Do you need more?

WashJeff on February 14, 2012 at 2:09 PM

Yes, how can I live without that quarter in my pocket.

NoDonkey on February 14, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Obama can’t wait to undermine the funding source of Social Security

J_Crater on February 14, 2012 at 2:12 PM

I’m actually in favor of the payroll tax cut. It applies to everyone who works, and its presence helps to underscore the obvious deficiencies in our entitlement system. I say extend it. Use it as a political football to get some concessions from Obama on spending or Keystone or whatever, but at the end of the day, it’s always good policy to let people keep more of their own money.

Caiwyn on February 14, 2012 at 2:14 PM

Remember when President’s MEANT WHAT THEY SAID…..

AND really were CONSERVATIVE?

One of the unsung greatest leaders of the 20th Century right here (and Reagans’ favorite President).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5puwTrLRhmw

This 4 minutes has more wisdom and insight into what the Government is supposed to do and not do than 90 minutes of the State of the Union last month.

PappyD61 on February 14, 2012 at 2:14 PM

Tina’s entire line of opposition to this is based upon the leftist fiction that somehow there is a magical social security trust fund that the payroll tax goes into. There is not. It’s plain old tax money for government expenses.

I really thought Tina was smarter than that.

AngusMc on February 14, 2012 at 2:15 PM

The Candy Man Can !!!!

FlaMurph on February 14, 2012 at 2:16 PM

Everyone should take that $40 and donate it to a Republican campaign.

Now we know why Democrats only wanted a two month extension: it gives them, and Obama, a chance to look like They Care. I wouldn’t be surprised if, instead of a 1 year extension, Dems push a 6 month extension, so they can say “hey, the GOP is evil for not extending this”.

William Teach on February 14, 2012 at 2:17 PM

I’m actually in favor of the payroll tax cut. It applies to everyone who works, and its presence helps to underscore the obvious deficiencies in our entitlement system. I say extend it. Use it as a political football to get some concessions from Obama on spending or Keystone or whatever, but at the end of the day, it’s always good policy to let people keep more of their own money.

Caiwyn on February 14, 2012 at 2:14 PM

A hundred times this^^^^

Being against the payroll tax cut extension but for the Bush tax cuts “for the rich” just makes the left’s “The GOP only care about the rich” lines look valid.

DethMetalCookieMonst on February 14, 2012 at 2:17 PM

The President has an orgasm any time he gets to sign something that redistributes other people’s money. It’s kind of like when Clinton would light up one of his used cigars.

Rovin on February 14, 2012 at 2:17 PM

Tell me he is not trying to destroy the whole system!

KOOLAID2 on February 14, 2012 at 2:18 PM

“That is good news,” Obama said. “But as you guys know, you can’t take anything for granted here in Washington until when my signature is actually on it.”

Fixed it for him.

By the way, Tina, Fiber One bars give me gas something terrible. Whooo!

DuctTapeMyBrain on February 14, 2012 at 2:26 PM

What difference does any of this make?!?!?

Obozo has run $1.3TRILLION deficits each year, with $5.2TRILLION in additional debt in 4 years.

With the way this is going we’re creating the environment in which we are ALL going to be taxed at enormous rates, just to keep the lights turned on in the white house.

KMC1 on February 14, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Rovin on February 14, 2012 at 2:17 PM
The President has an orgasm any time he gets to….

bho gets the same thrill when he does his eo thing also, IMO. All that king/dictaor thing with him?
L

letget on February 14, 2012 at 2:27 PM

Cutting the payroll tax is like giving all working Americans $40/month out of their own savings account.

Bevan on February 14, 2012 at 2:29 PM

What does an extra $40 mean to me?

$40 more to buy gold.

Social Security won’t be around when I retire.

MichaelGabriel on February 14, 2012 at 2:29 PM

Is that $40 more dollars in each unemployment check, welfare check, SS disability check, or social security supplemental income check?

Wolfmoon on February 14, 2012 at 2:29 PM

The President has an orgasm any time he gets to sign something that redistributes other people’s money. It’s kind of like when Clinton would light up one of his used cigars—some one’s just gotten screwed.

Rovin on February 14, 2012 at 2:17 PM

(I edit myself)

Rovin on February 14, 2012 at 2:33 PM

The gubmint gives and the gubmint takes it back. And watch out that Ogreedy doesn’t implement something like this to get more money out of us all to pay for his gimmicky no-cut tax cuts.

Former Obutthead COS, fascist despot and Mayor “tiny dancer” Rahmbo of Chicago is working on a plan to confiscate Chicagoans’ cash by getting it from the middleman. He’s conspiring with the insolvent state of IL to have unpaid parking fines and other city fees siphoned from IL state income tax refunds–that is, for anyone who’s even getting any cash back. Look out–he’ll be garnishing wages next for property taxes, vehicle stickers, campaign donations …

My suspicion is that there isn’t enough cash in the city coffers to pay for the riot gear he’s buying for Chicago’s finest to deal with the riots anticipated during the G8 Summit to be held in Chicago in May, promptly after which he will announce his candidacy for Emperor of Earth and campaign on the global minimum tax platform.

stukinIL4now on February 14, 2012 at 2:33 PM

“Yet, Barack Obama is back to the same shtick, insisting that “we can’t wait” to pass a payroll tax cut extension.”

We can’t wait…?

“To the last, I grapple with thee; From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee; For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.”

Seven Percent Solution on February 14, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Cutting the payroll tax is like giving all working Americans $40/month out of their own savings account.

Bevan on February 14, 2012 at 2:29 PM

Not really, seeing as SS likely won’t exist by the time we’re in our 60s anyways.

DethMetalCookieMonst on February 14, 2012 at 2:36 PM

$40 more in the back pockets of most Americans doesn’t translate into any kind of meaningful boost to the economy

The dems, and their media lapdogs, said this early and often during the stimulus debate when the republicans were pushing for tax cuts. Funny how the news media forgets these things.

agmartin on February 14, 2012 at 2:39 PM

OK enough of playing the game. Republicans need to propose a permanent tax cut, by eliminating the employee contribution to SS. It is going broke, well is broke but for some imaginary US government IOUs, so why not get the money to the people paying it.

Also the republicans need to eliminate the new tax imposed on mortgages that was imposed with the last temporary fix. Just helping to cut taxes…

Of course I would suggest eliminating the employer’s contribution too, but the liberals would lose control of making the rich richer..

DVPTexFla on February 14, 2012 at 2:40 PM

a majority of Americans were actually completely unaware that their paychecks were larger as a result of the payroll tax cut. Those who were aware allocated the money responsibly

Ah, but that, they will tell you, is the point. If we’re told we’re getting extra money, we might do something foolish like save or invest it. Better that we don’t know, see some extra cash in our bank accounts, and think, “Wow! Now I can afford that [insert something here which costs $10 a week] I’ve always wanted!” Thinking of the money as earned rather than a windfall, we’ll spend it, which is better for the short-term economy than allocating it responsibly.

(By the way, you don’t have to tell me all the ways that doesn’t make sense, but that is the theory of why it’s neither a temporary tax cut nor a rebate check, let alone a drop from the ocean of national debt.)

calbear on February 14, 2012 at 2:51 PM

“Congress needs to pass this ride nah!”

I love it when he switches into his Jeremiah Wright speech pattern.

slickwillie2001 on February 14, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Getting that $40 makes me feel like a teenager again receiving an allowance from the parents. We better save it for our retirement since SS won’t be solvent be the time we get there.

Kissmygrits on February 14, 2012 at 3:02 PM

People like that $40 !!?!?!??! Are you KIDDING me ?

Since fracking when has the basis for a tax cut of any kind been, “well, people kinda like having that extra $40 every week” !?!??!

I honestly can’t believe this moron opened his mouth and said that. So we are going to short change government revenues by how many BILLION because “people like having the extra $40″ ?

Is it just me or did this moron just outright admit he wants to bribe people for their votes in November ?

The reason you cut taxes is to boost the economy, and a payroll tax specifically is supposed to incentivize hiring. Its not just supposed to be a “nice to do” give away of $40 a week.

Astounding level of incompetence from this White House.

deadrody on February 14, 2012 at 3:04 PM

“I’m asking the American people to keep their stories coming. Tell us what $40 the XL Pipeline means to you,” Obama said. He has repeatedly said that losing the payroll tax cut XL Pipeline would mean 40 dollars 100,000 less jobs in the average pay check economy. “Call, tweet, write your congressmen, write your senators, tell them, do not let up until this job gets done,” he said.

Fixed it (from the alternative universe)

Marcola on February 14, 2012 at 3:17 PM

$40 bucks a month means:

I will be able to defray the cost of the $5 gas prices Obama is sending our way.

I will be able to defray some of the cost of the additional taxes and fees the state is adding.

I will be able to defray the higher food costs due to the increase in energy prices.

Or, maybe it means I will have just a little more money each month to donate to Anyone but Obama……..

SouthernRoots on February 14, 2012 at 3:23 PM

$40 buys two boxes of self defense 9mm rounds. Not many for the coming revolution.

rjulio on February 14, 2012 at 3:27 PM

Do the clean bill and hit that debt ceiling before November.

This is the plan IMHO.

What’s Obama going to do, claim “It’s your fault for giving me exactly what I wanted!”?

They already gave him a debt ceiling increase that was supposed to bring us through the election and they’ll be giving him the payroll tax holiday he wants, too. If he can’t find a way to pay for it, it’s on him.

teke184 on February 14, 2012 at 3:28 PM

Why don`t we slash medicare to fund ObamaCare? Wait a minute!

ThePrez on February 14, 2012 at 3:32 PM

“Save the drama for yo momma”

Whoo, Tina, Babe, you be rockin girl,I likes the way you thinks,

Unfortunaately the ever bawling Boehner, is, along with _itch McConnell all about the drama and gettin their butts kicked by it!

ConcealedKerry on February 14, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Liberalism in a nutshell: Give money you don’t have to people who did not earn it.

Chuck Schick on February 14, 2012 at 2:01 PM

^Accurate

Drunk Report on February 14, 2012 at 3:35 PM

Does someone want to come up with what $40 a month would add up to if put into a private savings/retirement account over twenty, thirty-five… fifty years? And, don’t forget that any unspent savings would be able to be inherited by one’s survivors – unlike social security – at one’s death.

Fallon on February 14, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Wanting the “tax cuts for the rich” to be extended but not the payroll tax makes the left’s accusation of us only wanting to help the rich look….valid.

DethMetalCookieMonst on February 14, 2012 at 1:59 PM

Exactly. And that $40 is money I can have now, that I would never see in 2045 when I retire. Young people like Tina should be entirely for this cut, all the way down to 0% tax. You are not getting anything in the future anyway, take it now.

sob0728 on February 14, 2012 at 3:48 PM

@AngusMc @sob0728 Even though I know the Social Security “trust fund” has already been robbed a million times over to pay for other programs (i.e. even though I know the “trust fund” exists in theory more than in reality), I stand by my opposition to the payroll tax cut. It’s one of the few ways in which every working American contributes — even working Americans who don’t pay income taxes. While I would LOVE to not pay Social Security taxes at all, I don’t have any interest in a policy that adds to our deficit for little return in the way of an economic boost. Let’s *reform* Social Security so we don’t have to pay into a program from which we’ll never see benefits — not contribute to its insolvency by cutting the payroll tax.

Tina Korbe on February 14, 2012 at 4:15 PM

$40 more to live the good life. Buys a beer or two and a dance with a pretty lady…if you so desire.

Seriously though, I’d almost rather see the cut go away and pay the higher tax than continue watching Obama play his wealth redistribution games with our taxes and our future.

HoosierStateofMind on February 14, 2012 at 4:24 PM

Splitting hairs here — and maybe I have it wrong (not impossible) — but aren’t we really just not having $40 extra suddenly taken away from us again? It’s not like my paycheck is going from $140 to $180 – it’s just not going from $140 to $100…

rjulio on February 14, 2012 at 3:27 PM

$40 packs two AK mags for me…

affenhauer on February 14, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Forty dollars to me is the contribution I’m sending to the Repubs to get rid of O and all his corrupt cronies.

kilwil888 on February 14, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Tina Korbe’s post is why I no longer self-identify as a conservative. I don’t give a rat’s ass what it costs, where the money goes or whether it’s good policy. It is money that is not going to feed the beast and that in and of itself should be enough for anyone concerned with limited government. Ms Korbe demonstrates that the partisan divide is no longer about ideology, rather it is about power.

Mikefy on February 14, 2012 at 5:06 PM

What about the unemployment extension?

extend the payroll tax cut, along with federal unemployment insurance

When is this continual increase in unemployment benefits going to stop? It’s up to what, 99 weeks now? At this point this is going to become another permanent entitlement. There’s already thousands of people who are not even looking for work because they make as much, or almost as much, by staying home.

AZ_Mike on February 14, 2012 at 5:52 PM

why doesn’t obama get the he hates old people line that republicans always get when they talk of reform for social security? he’s robbing hundreds of millions of dollars(or however much exactly) from the social security trust

republicans shouldn’t be playing this game and speak the truth to what this
really is, a campaign ploy to help obama win reelection …he’s fighting for
tax cuts! he’s a cutter! he’s looking out for the average guy and trying to put more $ in your wallet! hogwash, all of it

sadsushi on February 14, 2012 at 8:38 PM

@AngusMc @sob0728 Even though I know the Social Security “trust fund” has already been robbed a million times over to pay for other programs (i.e. even though I know the “trust fund” exists in theory more than in reality), I stand by my opposition to the payroll tax cut. It’s one of the few ways in which every working American contributes — even working Americans who don’t pay income taxes. While I would LOVE to not pay Social Security taxes at all, I don’t have any interest in a policy that adds to our deficit for little return in the way of an economic boost. Let’s *reform* Social Security so we don’t have to pay into a program from which we’ll never see benefits — not contribute to its insolvency by cutting the payroll tax.

Tina Korbe on February 14, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Translation of Tina’s words: I am for this tax because poor people have to pay it, too.

So, any tax that takes away money from people who really need it to buy groceries is a good tax? Is that where you’re going with this? Progressive taxes are no good because the government wastes our money, but flat taxes are good because poor people pay them? Either the government wastes our money and we should take it back however we can or not? Which is it?

sob0728 on February 15, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Actually I like Melville a bit more

Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale Payroll tax extension; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.

Come to think of it – fill in the blank: Cash for Clunkers, ObamaCare, Bailouts, Green Energy Loans …..

MVoss on February 15, 2012 at 12:25 PM