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Payroll tax cut splits Minnesota’s GOP lawmakers

Rep. Chip Cravaack
Rep. Chip Cravaack

Rep. Chip Cravaack warned of the same thing. He said he supports extending the payroll tax holiday and proposed cutting discretionary spending equal to the immediate cost of the holiday to pay for it, funneling the savings into the trust fund.

Rep. Keith Ellison
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Rep. Keith Ellison

Ellison accused Republicans last week of opposing the tax break because it would be seen as a victory for President Obama ahead of the 2012 elections.

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Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Elliot Dallavalle on 12/05/2011 - 10:32 am.

    Rep. Kline will support anything John Beohner tells him to do. He is by far the most “in line” congressman in Congress.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/05/2011 - 11:07 am.

    First of all, Obama is wrong that it represents $1,000/year to the average wage-earner. The average increase in people’s paychecks was $13. That’s $338 a year (for 26 paychecks).

    Secondly, the SS tax being collected is designated for the Social Security trust fund, not the general revenue fund. So it’s being paid for only by senior citizens.

    So if you want to keep giving everybody a whopping $7 a week tax cut, fine, let’s just be sure we all understand that Gramma and Grampa are the ones paying for it.

  3. Submitted by Judy Finger on 12/05/2011 - 01:47 pm.

    Now the Republicans are worried about Social Security….this after all their efforts to privatize it so there wouldn’t be any Social Security.

  4. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 12/05/2011 - 02:12 pm.

    Someone should let Boehner know that Social Security is not facing a “looming bankruptcy.” These right-wing lies are getting old.

    If the Rs were really worried about it, they would agree to remove the cap on earnings so all income is taxed. Even if the rate were lowered to benefit low-income earners, the revenue from high-income Americans would keep both it and Medicare/Medicaid safe forever.

    Dennis: I believe the tax cuts the administration wants to continue are to the payroll taxes deducted from current workers’ paychecks. That’s why the amounts seem larger than they would if they affected only seniors.

  5. Submitted by Dave Eischens on 12/05/2011 - 04:17 pm.

    For legislators making policy from the “no new taxes” orthodoxy, I can see where this is a bit of a problem. For legislators doing what they can to help out working people and a struggling-from-recession economy, it’s not that tough a call.

    My biggest problem with continuing this holiday is that it will be used to further the myth that cutting taxes creates jobs, stimulate the economy, etc. While this may be true for working people of modest means (let’s say those below the payroll tax cap), the law of diminishing returns applies increasingly more as tax cuts go further up the income scale.

    Dennis (#2): Credit to you for pointing out SS Trust Fund vs. General Revenue Fund. Though the anecdotal leap that Grams and Gramps will be forking over the dough is a bit much. Not quite death-panely but you are fair in pointing out that SS has absolutely nothing to do with our current deficit.

  6. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/05/2011 - 05:20 pm.

    Actually, Dave, I didn’t see where Dennis said anything about SS vs. the deficit, but if you’re going to credit him I think you’re on the hook to be at least be as honest as you say he is.

    Social Security may not have a direct impact on the general fund, but all those IOU’s that have been written against it sure do.

  7. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 12/05/2011 - 07:06 pm.

    Even if the President can’t pay for them, it is good to see that he realizes that tax cuts are good.

    Hopefully an extension to unemployment benefits follows as this will ensure that unemployment stays high. (Unless we can get another 300,000 people to give up looking for work.)

  8. Submitted by Dave Eischens on 12/05/2011 - 10:22 pm.

    Thomas (#6), seemed pretty clear where he talked about SS and GR funds (second paragraph). But I’ll want to agree with you too even though we probably stand on different points of the political spectrum. The IOU’s, (Treasury Bonds?) are one tactic where the status quo in DC is looting the system. Progressives don’t like this either. Fortunately, at least until present, other countries love our TBs. The problem is our power structure is increasingly divorced from most citizens and responding only to the money that greases the wheels.

    Conservatives alone, nor Libertarians alone will be able to stop that. Libs either. You can try starving the beast but it will ultimately lead to revolution. You can saddle the masses with unfair taxes and regressive laws but it will not stand long term. Revolution again. The poison in the system is the plutocracy. The strategy is to divide and conquer. One half of the population against the other. Through facts or fantasy, through patriotism or individualism or capitalism or socialism or racism or corporatism or elephantism or donkeyism or just keep people in a trance by flashing shiny images on the tv screen in front of them. Stir up their emotions and obfuscate the real cause of their unease. But it’s not working so well anymore.

    You can already see it in our neighbor state of Wisconsin. Plain as day. It’s past time to stop sniping at each other and open the conversation.

  9. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/06/2011 - 09:27 am.

    Dave, I hear what you’re saying. The problem is that people on one half of the equation believe that it is possible to trust government with overwhelming power to control our lives. It won’t work because politicians will *always* misuse those powers.

    Conservatives don’t trust politicians of any stripe; period. We elect men and women who say they will reduce the governments ability to influence our lives, but they rarely follow through. The best we can get is slower encroachment.

    We’ll never agree as long as some people believe that they can trust perfect strangers with power over their lives.

  10. Submitted by Jim Bernstein on 12/06/2011 - 11:26 am.

    Some one or some institution is always going to have some power to control some aspects of one’s life. The issue of course is who wields how much power. Conservatives have decided that only very large, private economic interests should have be trusted with the “overwhelming power to control our lives”. The real problem with that is that private economic interests are even more likely to misuse that power. The only check on that power is govenment.

    The rest of us who are not conservatives understand that government power has always been susceptible to the ballot box. Not so with corporatations. The governed have always enjoyed the power to limit (or expand) or change government and do so with regularity. Not so corporate or other powerful economic interests.

    Unfortunately for the the rest of us, conservatives in power are now fully engaged in their war to limit access to the ballot box and to give large, powerful coporate interests greater power to influence elections. The goal of conservatives is quite evident: to further empower already powerful private economic intersts and eliminate or minimize the ability of citizens through govenment to influence or restrain that power.

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