The stupid payroll-tax fight isn’t going to benefit anyone

No one is completely in the right in the Washington-wide temper tantrum over extending the payroll-tax holiday. I don’t understand how Senate Republicans — who voted in large numbers for a two-month extension of the holiday — could have been so far out of step with House Republicans who insist on the year-long extension they’ve already passed.

That said, I have a hard time understanding the sudden conventional wisdom that public opinion about the situation will favor:

a) Senate Democrats, who want to enact a two-month extension offset by a tax on middle-class mortgagees and then spend even more time early next year arguing about the very same issue rather than moving on to other issues — rather than enacting a one-year extension offset by the exact same tax on middle-class mortgagees as well as a reduction in welfare and entitlement benefits for wealthy Americans and illegal immigrants, a pay freeze for federal workers, the auctioning of some wireless spectrum, and a few smaller items;

and/or

b) President Obama, who has repeatedly said he wants a full-year extension of the payroll-tax holiday but who, rather than castigating the Senate for passing only a two-month extension, instead is being nakedly partisan in castigating the House for sticking to its year-long extension.

Other than the length of the extension, there is very little substantive difference between the two bills except for the offsets, which is natural given that a year-long extension requires more offsets than a two-month extension. And there is very little in the House’s list of offsets that could be considered widely controversial.

And then there’s the fact that neutral experts say a two-month extension would be a nightmare for smaller firms to implement.

We’re long since past debating the actual merits of extending the tax holiday. As I said at the outset, no one in this kerfuffle comes out looking good. But does it really make sense to believe that the group that passed a short-term, unworkable bill, and the president who supported that about-face, are going to benefit from it, at the expense of the group that passed the longer-term, more practical bill? Obama and the Democrats made that bet during the debt-ceiling debate last summer. Instead, all they did was see their public approval sink alongside that of the Republicans.

I think most Americans will join me in asking that the same, big, fat lump of coal be dumped in all their stockings.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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234 comments Add your comment

ragnar danneskjold

December 21st, 2011
5:46 am

I thought Mr. Boehner would be a lousy speaker of the house. I was wrong. His house has consistently reflected intelligent policy choices, and is the most vibrant source of new and good ideas – the most striking development since the heyday of Newt.

The senate, in democrat hands, is incompetent, and the incompetence seemingly exceeds even that of the community organizer in chief, no small accomplishment. One would think rational democrats – yes, both of them – would be embarrassed to remain associated with an entity unable to pass a budget for three years.

Aquagirl

December 21st, 2011
5:58 am

Kyle, how can the Senate get anything done? They can’t pass any legislation because House Republicans are so insane even other Republicans don’t know what their own wackos will do next.

Trying to anticipate the caucus of NO is like trying to arrange a birthday party around a toddler’s wishes. Every time the wind blows they change their mind, and no matter what you do, they’ll throw a tantrum because it’s not good enough.

Les Killion

December 21st, 2011
6:32 am

Thid battle will continue for months and will be settled just in time for the elections. Both sides will claim the victory and the out of touch incumbants will be reelected. I would like to see our leaders paid the average amount of their constiuants. That would get them to start helping some people instead of working for themselves.

Conservative Republican

December 21st, 2011
6:40 am

I am a Republican, but things have to be paid for. There is no free lunch. How in the heck do people think Social Security benefits get paid for? Oh yeah, we borrow it from China and let our grandkids deal with it.

DeborahinAthens

December 21st, 2011
6:42 am

The Republicans have one thing on their agenda. Keep Obama from being re-elected. I told my husband last week when the economic numbers started looking better (lower unemployment, higher housing starts) that it would be fascinating to see what machinations the Repugs would pull out of their bu##s this time to try to make the economy go back into the ditch. If you recall, earlier this year, after many of the banks had repaid TARP money, the auto manufacturers had shown some profit (McCain would have shut them down), and the stock market had soared from the 6700 of Bush’s administration to over 11,000, the Repugs created the Debt Ceiling “crisis” . Something that had mysteriously never been a problem under Dubya the Dumb’s presidency. The stock market pulled back, the President’s numbers dropped, “Mission Accomplished”. What the GOP doesn’t care about is the very bad effect these games have on the American people. I hope the voters remember this in November.

Willis

December 21st, 2011
6:49 am

The senate Democrats can’t get anything done because Mortician McConnell and Killer Kyl stand in the way of everything. The stupid Senate rules give the minority party the power to block anything they want to, including appointments. Our government is broken and the current mess proves that beyond any doubt.

Term limits.

JF McNamara

December 21st, 2011
6:52 am

“I thought Mr. Boehner would be a lousy speaker of the house.”

Boehner may as well not even exist. He was briefed about the Senate deal before it passed and agreed to it. It came to the house, and he reversed course because his members rejected it. Same thing with the debt ceiling. He agreed to a deal with Obama, and then he reversed course because his party rejected it.

Kyle,

House Republicans never wanted an extension. They weren’t far out of step with the Senate. The bill passed the Senate 89-7, and Boehner had already agreed to it.They just wanted to save face in the process. The WSJ sums it all up nicely.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204791104577110573867064702.html

Truth Squad

December 21st, 2011
7:10 am

The new polling is quite clear on the issue of taxes:the public now trusts President Obama on the issue of taxes over Republicans by a wide margin. The Republicans have lost their advantage on this issue even before this latest manufactured stalemate.

I would humbly suggest that anyone who still believes the Republican aren’t engaged in a strategy to sabotage the economy and that it isn’t working well for them is in deep denial. I have seen no polling that demonstrates that those polled believe that President Obama is to blame for the sluggish economy. Yet this is what we hear from each of the potential Republican nominees. I bet it will be a touching moment when Bush 43 and Cheney are brought out on the stage in Tampa!

Lastly, I’m really disappointed that this article doesn’t mention the fact that we are at this point because Republicans, once again, refuse to ask the wealthy to pay a surcharge. I have a hard time understanding how any conservative could believe that the electorate are for the wealthy first, and everyone else can just go fend for ourselves.

Mr. Dithers

December 21st, 2011
7:12 am

Boehner isn’t leading, he is being pushed and shoved from behind by his rank and file. He is “a lousy speaker of the house” to say the least. Most of the time, you don’t know who he’s speaking for or whether he will have the same opinion an hour later. It just depends on whether he’s meeting with the GOP members in between.
We have got to get over this idea that the two parties working together is bad. Mitch McConnell, who I can’t stand, finally does the right thing and he just gets lambasted for it. It’s time for all them to work together and stop the nonsense. If not, they can all go, with Speaker Bonehead “leading” the way.

Bob

December 21st, 2011
7:12 am

For those that blame repubs for everything that does not happen please explain why dems could not even pass a budget when they had the house and 60 votes in the senate. Willis, you are one that blames McConnel but Obama presented congress a budget that did not get one single dem vote, why do you blame repubs for something they had no control in ?

MiltonMan

December 21st, 2011
7:14 am

Deborah – typical lib who does not understand simple math/numbers.

The stock market was 8200+ on the last day of Bush’s tenure.

The Senate isn't the problem, sadly

December 21st, 2011
7:22 am

Milton, that’s all you got? That’s weak sauce. You may as well correct any grammatical errors while you’re at it.

The bloc of house GOP’ers who are unpredictable, don’t listen to their leadership, and have held a number of efforts hostage seem to be the issue for any legislative wins in this session. That being said, some of the BS they’ve prevented is a step in the right direction…

Road Scholar

December 21st, 2011
7:22 am

Why should President Obama get involved? Haven’t you learned anything? President Obama’s suggestions are always met with the conservatives’ standard “NO” response. Besides doesn’t the Constitution place the lawmaking responsibility on Congress? Maybe the TeaParty contingent should float a new proposal that even has a chance of passing?

Rob Witterschein

December 21st, 2011
7:24 am

This whole thing is a charade. Neither side gives a hoot about any one of you. Personally, I would rather see all federal taxes abolished and go back to what the constitution states and have the Federal government be funded by the states. Noone except for Ron Paul even talks about that. And we dont even need taxes since we have a Federal Reserve that just prints money out of thin air. Seems like taxes is too much work.

Churchill's MOM.....Ron Paul for President

December 21st, 2011
7:29 am

ragnar danneskjold

December 21st, 2011
5:46 am

The real problem in the House is Mr. Israel FIRST Eric Cantor, every time the economy starts to pick up a little speed he throws the monkey wrench in the works. Below is a short quote fro POLITICO

“This is a colossal fumble by the House Republicans,” said a senior Senate GOP aide, requesting anonymity to speak candidly about his own party. “Their inability to recognize a win is costing our party our long-held advantage on the key issue of tax relief. It’s time for Boehner and [House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor to look these rookies in the eye and explain how the game is won or lost.”

The rebellion among House Republicans against the Senate has put McConnell in an awkward position as well. He faces criticism from the GOP rank and file for cutting a deal they don’t like and fierce attacks from Senate Democrats for not voicing support for his own proposal. In the meantime,

at least a half-dozen members from McConnell’s own conference are publicly voicing concern over the House GOP’s decision to block the Senate plan.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1211/70728.html#ixzz1hAgZ6TwD

BlahBlahBlah

December 21st, 2011
7:32 am

The morons in Washington DC never bothered to ask the payroll processing companies about the logistics of a two month extension. Now, those companies are rightfully pointing out the crazy burden DC wants to impose with such a foolish plan. Pathetic.

BW

December 21st, 2011
7:43 am

Kyle

How the heck did Boehner and the House Republicans absolve themselves of any wrong doing? Why is this primarily on Senate Democrats and the President? What ever happened to legislating issues as stand alone items? What does a pipeline have to do with a payroll tax holiday? If the House Republicans table some of their line items i.e. Keystone, federal workforce reductions to pay for the tax holiday, this could have been extended longer. Whether or not the House likes it the Senate passed a bill. As it is now, 2012 will be a year of defining ideological differences via legislation. Nothing will be done as the election season really kicks off. Hit snooze on any real legislation until after the first Tuesday in November.

Silverchief

December 21st, 2011
7:45 am

“Truth Squad”

I know you have a hard time understanding…You are a Democrap, eat up with wealth envy who wants to blame everything on Bush, and wherever you get your polling data, probably NPR or the Communist News Network, they’re full of BS….Now, go watch some Obozo news clips to help brighten your day.

jeff

December 21st, 2011
7:45 am

Just curious to the CONservative republicans on the list. How was the Bush Tax Cut paid for? Are only tax cuts the poor and middle class needing to be paid for and not the rich, since they pay for themselves (which as we all know is a fraud). I hear the silly CON’s say that it is their money and the gov’t has no right to it anyway but when it is someone elses (ie. mine) then it is not really mine, it is the gov’t? Typical bit of (non)thought from the CON’s.
BTW, borrow and spend their way to proserity is not the way either, CON’s. Who was it that doubled the debt under their administrations, (Bush? and that other guy you love so much)? Conservatism is the true failure to think things through. Oh Well.

Chris

December 21st, 2011
7:47 am

Everyone seems to have lost sight of why we have a payroll tax in the first place. It is specifically to fund social security and medicare, programs that are NOT general welfare but rather “payed for” savings plans. Social security specifically requires 40 quarters of work before you are eligible for benefits.

By cynically raiding the social security funding stream to promote consumption now, both parties are playing the game of “bribe the electorate with their own money”. I’d much rather pay the full 6.2% and have some hope of eventually collecting a SS check.

JohnnyReb

December 21st, 2011
7:47 am

I blame McConnell for this mess. How in the world did he allow Senate Republicans to vote for a two month extension knowing the House bill was for a year? He once again played right into Obama’s hands. He is suppose to be very political savy. I just don’t see it. Boehner would be effective if there was someone of his caliber in the Senate.

JohnnyReb

December 21st, 2011
7:49 am

Re, payroll tax reduction – who pays for it? I heard a commercial on TV this morning where a Company was bragging on how they got a woman’s over 25K in credit card debt reduced to less than half. I’m sick of people who make obligations and don’t live up to them. That reduced credit card debt will be paid by someone, probably all tax payers. The Left wants to give more away. How’s that working for you?

Jimmy62

December 21st, 2011
7:54 am

DeborahinAthens: The only reason the auto bailout recipients showed a profit was government incentives to buy cars along with other government meddling. Now they are failing again, as expected, because without government assistance their cars aren’t worth anything. Now the Volt is catching on fire (literally). But hey, why get upset about theft on a massive scale (Obama stole GM and Chrysler from their rightful owners to give to the UAW), when it makes a good, though completely fabricated, talking point?

Howard

December 21st, 2011
7:57 am

You can say what you want, spin it anyway you like, but right now Tea Party Republicans in the House are about to cost me more $1000 because they have, again, tried, to play politics with a simple issue….extending the payroll tax cut for millions of Americans. This is a slap in the face to the middle class and it WILL come back to bite the GOP. Count on it.

sean Smith

December 21st, 2011
8:04 am

Obama just needs to refer to this as the “Boehner 2012 TAX increase on the middle class” every chance he gets.

Joe The Plumber too.

December 21st, 2011
8:07 am

Howie, you focus on a small sum while overlooking a much larger one. If you are so scared of a thousand, how are you going to handle the tens of thousands that will be your share of the debt that urkle, piglosi and reid continue to run up? How will your children and grandchildren pay their share? If a thousand hurts you that much, I doubt you’ll be leaving it for them and ebt cards aren’t transferable.

Oh yea right

December 21st, 2011
8:08 am

The tax increase accounts for peanuts in ones paycheck and I do mean peanuts considering Obama and the Democrats want this to fly once again on the middle class backs. What do most people gain in their paychecks $2.00 but yet paying 20.00 extra in their morgage. These Democrats are so stupid and they think the Americans are the stupid ones. Good going for the GOP in the House to stop these bills. Spending is overboard and its time someone steps up and starts to protect the American middle class. We have had enough.

2012

December 21st, 2011
8:11 am

Again I say, every single House and Senate Rino needs to go, regardless of party. They have distroyed this country long enough. The people have risen and we are the ones saying NO NO NO!

gm

December 21st, 2011
8:12 am

Obama was far a 1 year extension and the rep were against that, jay how is it Obama fault? when 39 rep in the Sen voted for the 2 mos extension.
President Obama approval rating is going up because middle class rather rep or dem are seeing what a bunch idiots who care less about this country middle class.
The tea party have ruined this country, they rather take America down to the toliet as long as they destroy President Obama, playing with people unemployement benefits who can not feed their family, how can any one supports this party of selfish un Americans.

Gimme Gimme Gimme

December 21st, 2011
8:14 am

It is a pleasure to read your balanced blog Kyle. Bookman could learn a lesson about telling the whole story instead of half of it.

Well done.

Joe The Plumber too.

December 21st, 2011
8:14 am

gm, urkle is destroying himself just fine. He doesn’t need anybodys help.

Jason

December 21st, 2011
8:16 am

Kyle I am not sure whats going on but I have agreed with nearly everything you have had to say over the past week. I am neither Republican nor Democrat and I can see how both sides are not helping the average American but are only serving their own self interests. I am befuddled that most people choose to overlook this when it is so obvious and I blame a partisan media for keeping people ignorant. Judging by your posts over the past week it seems like you may finally be fed up with BOTH sides as well. If you and your counterpart Jay can call out both sides instead of further dividing us by placing your respective left / right partisan blame then perhaps we can make some progress. Whatever the reason I hope you keep up the good writing.

gm

December 21st, 2011
8:18 am

Joe The Plumber too.

Bend over and let the millionaires keep sticking it to you, its sad Obama has to fight for retards like you who are to stupid, to know when you are getting expolited.

Ernest T Bass

December 21st, 2011
8:23 am

Funny how when its a tax cut for working Americans its ” Stupid ”

Bet you wouldn’t feel that way if it was a tax cut for the wealthy.

That would be important cause they are the producers !!!

gm

December 21st, 2011
8:24 am

Joe The Plumber too.

Amazing where was the concern when Bush left your grand kids with a 700 billion dollar tab for 2 wars? where was the conncern when wall street ran wild? hypocrisy is unbelievable, now I see how hannity and rush can make millions off you idiots”””

Sbinf

December 21st, 2011
8:26 am

Spin spin. Of course this fight is helping someone, the president! Have you seen his poll numbers riding steadily? Boehner can’t control his caucus. I called this after the midterms. Republicans loved the tea party when it helped them retake the house, but now they actually have to govern with them. I am loving this train wreck!

itpdude

December 21st, 2011
8:29 am

I’m still trying to understand how the GOP can talk about paying for stuff when they got us stuck in a couple of wars and fired an economist who said Iraq would cost more than $60 billion or whatever the W narrative was at the time.

It’s just so strange. I know a lot of Republicans and they are some of the best people, however, the way they vote and the way they view policy is puzzling. Their representation doesn’t want to sunset tax cuts for the wealthiest amongst Americans (a segment that is doing just fine in these rough times) but do want to sunset the payroll tax rollback (which benefits the less-than-wealthy segment that is not doing so well these days).

It’s bizarre.

Joe The Plumber too.

December 21st, 2011
8:29 am

gm, please. I almost choked on my coffee with the image of barry flexing those urkle arms and fighting for me, what an image. Sorry, my mislead little fellow, but real Americans don’t need someone fighting for us or against us. We need our elected officials to do their d-mn job, even this pretender in chief. As far as the millionaires sticking it to someone, whats wrong did you find out all those government entitlements are never going to make you rich? Those evil rich. As far as me and mine, we are doing just fine with our company, investments and real estate, it’ll be a banner Christmas at Joe The Plumbers this year. Grow up and explore the world, stop being enslaved by security and try some freedom, then you can earn your own security. Get off the plantation.

commoncents

December 21st, 2011
8:31 am

Howard 7:57 “right now Tea Party Republicans in the House are about to cost me more $1000 because they have, again, tried, to play politics with a simple issue….extending the payroll tax cut for millions of Americans”

No, Obama is about to cost you $1000. He was responsible for the TEMPORARY CUT. Temporary does not mean permanent! This was supposed to jump start the economy. It did not, and now it is due to expire as it was designed, with the exception that it did not work.

You can thank Obama for another failed idea that will now result in you going back to your normal level of taxes. The reason they are fighting for it again is that it’s election season, not that they care about you!

Joe The Plumber too.

December 21st, 2011
8:32 am

gm, I expect my grandkids and theirs will be able to pay their share just fine…..how about yours, you can’t transfer ebt benefits.

Voice of Reason

December 21st, 2011
8:33 am

The Senate is at fault because they passed an unworkable 2 month extension, and Obama is at fault for backing that Bill despite the fact that he has continuously pushed for a year long extension.

Did any of you actually read the article?

Aquagirl

December 21st, 2011
8:33 am

I’m sick of people who make obligations and don’t live up to them……The Left wants to give more away. How’s that working for you?

It’s working really well for the Messieurs Graves and Rodgers. I bet that woman’s credit card bill wasn’t $2.2 million, and at least she paid half.

When your Georgia Republican Senate Majority leader says “I’m not paying that loan back, the FDIC can take care of it” complaining about “the Left” and their irresponsible ways makes you look foolish. That’s not working well for you JohnnyReb, but of course that sails right over your head.

GTPHISH

December 21st, 2011
8:35 am

<>
Right,
War in Iraq
War in Afganistan
Bush Tax cuts
Medicare Part D

None of those were paid for….

old cowboy

December 21st, 2011
8:37 am

Why not reduce the regular income tax 2 percent across the board and not take anymore from Social Security which is what the DEMOCRATS are doing by pushing their so called ” payroll taxes”. If that doesn’t scare those of us who will need that then nothing should.

Voice of Reason

December 21st, 2011
8:38 am

itpdude

Ah, the “Republicans have done stupid things in the past, so when they try to pass responsible legislation now, they are hypocrites that should be ignored” arguement. Never get tired of that one.

Note to all libs: Bush sucked, and his policy actions do not represent the views of all Republicans. (I can’t speak for everyone, but those that I know that follow politics and current events would agree) So enough with this arguement.

JohnnyReb

December 21st, 2011
8:39 am

Water Girl – yea, right over my head. Responsibility starts with the individual. It’s the same whether that individual is on welfare or is POTUS. No excuses for anyone. You can deny all you want, but the Left is for welfare and if left unchecked would kill the goose.

Gimme Gimme Gimme

December 21st, 2011
8:46 am

itpdude@8:29 I’m still trying to understand

We are not surprised.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

December 21st, 2011
8:47 am

Aquagirl: Trying to anticipate the caucus of NO is like trying to arrange a birthday party around a toddler’s wishes
——————————

No need to anticipate anything. The House already passed the payroll tax cut. The Senate passed a different bill and then skipped town without bothering to negotiate a final bill.

The GOP House gave Obozo what he said he wanted–a year long extension.

Why can’t obstructionist Democrats take “yes” for an answer? Because they’re too busy playing politics to get the people’s business done.

Aquagirl

December 21st, 2011
8:48 am

Responsibility starts with the individual. It’s the same whether that individual is on welfare or is POTUS.

I’m sure you spend as much time expressing your outrage over Chip Roger’s lazy default as you do complaining about Obama here. Yes, you’ve e-mailed, written, and called daily inquiring why this d00d is considered a leader by his Republican peers. Thanks for your tireless service, JohnnyReb.

Or maybe you’re sitting on your duff in front of the TV whining about some woman on a commercial, because you can somehow hang that on libs, Demoncrats, and “the Left” while your own guy robs us blind while brazenly announcing his robbery.

Gosh, I wonder which of those two scenarios is more likely?

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

December 21st, 2011
8:50 am

GTPHISH:

War in Iraq
War in Afganistan
Bush Tax cuts
Medicare Part D

None of those were paid for….
————————————-

And how has that “changed” in the last three years?