December 08, 2011

Manchin Right About Tax Break | The Wheeling Intelligencer

It is highly unlikely Congress will refuse to continue the dishonest tax cut President Barack Obama is insisting it act on before the current measure expires Dec. 31. But Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is right to point out the measure is not what some advocates want the public to believe it is.

Unless Congress reauthorizes the cut, American working people will lose the 2 percent tax cut now reflected in their paychecks. That would cost the "average" family about $1,000 a year.

But the cut is in payroll withholding for the Social Security system. Without it, employees would contribute 6.2 percent of their pay to Social Security. With it, the rate stays at 4.2 percent.

As Manchin has pointed out, continuing the break would deprive Social Security - already massively underfunded - of billions of dollars during the next year.

In effect, the break uses our money - funds that normally would have been used to provide Social Security benefits when we retire - to give us the impression government is doing something nice for us.

Manchin realizes that, and also points out giving businesses a Social Security withholding break is unlikely to create more than a handful of new jobs.

Again, most members of Congress are too afraid of the backlash from voters to reject Obama's demand. The tax break probably will stay on the books.

But as Manchin has stressed, it will do virtually nothing to stimulate the economy, and amounts only to Congress allowing Americans to borrow from our own retirement benefits program.

By:  Editorial