This year is a repeat of last year’s political holdup. Both parties, the Democrats and the Republicans have Washington in a deadlock once again on the day-to-day government operations producing congestion over unemployment benefits, Social Security taxes and the use of earmarks to benefit campaign contributors. Nothing different from last year’s Bush tax cuts.
Both sides are far apart in meeting the December 31, 2011 deadline while struggling to compromise on a payroll tax cut for the middle class, extending aid to the unemployed and a spending bill to keep the government in operation for the next budget year.
Instead of putting the nation’s economic situation first and foremost, both sides are playing hopscotch politics with the economic wellbeing of Americans. How far will this move? The spending bill is needed to keep the government in business past this coming Christmas holiday.
The Republican are not too sure of President Barack Obama spending bill that includes the wanted Bush tax cuts on Social Security taxes that Democrats want, but also includes a measure to force Obama’s hand on a controversial oil pipeline which is a mistakeBig Oil is pushing and funding. Obama has threatened to veto any bill that includes the oil pipeline measure or other items that are earmarks sought by to aid big oil contributors.
This deadline will come and go but the bill will face certain casualties if the pipeline measure remains part of the legislation. Big Oil industry stands to benefit from expedited action on the pipeline because of heavy contributions on both sides of the spectrum. The current tax cuts and extension of unemployment benefits expire on Dec. 31, the same Bush tax cuts that were extended last year.
The Senate recently passed their version of the payroll tax extension. The House rejected the Senate’s payroll tax extension. The rejection has been a late night pattern over the last year where everything has to come down to a one minute to midnight solution which appears to be part of the lawmaking process under the Obama administration.Reports are that President Obama called for congressional members to extent the tax cuts months ago. But letting this move late at years end hurts American businesses.
The current payroll tax cuts policy is 4.2 percent of your pay check goes into Social Security. 10.4 If you’re self-employed. If an extension isn’t signed before January 1, those numbers will jump by two percent. This will diffidently hurt businesses as they plan payroll cost for the year.
President Obama stated that “taxes will go up Jan. 1” if the House refuse to compromise on extending tax cuts. Because the Senate passed their compromise and the House rejected the Democrats bill, the measure has to go to a committee according to the constitution.
The Senate legislation would like to extend the payroll tax cut for two months, followed by negotiations. House Republicans have approved legislation calling for a one-year extension which everyone wants, but Democrats say it contains elements that would hurt senior citizens and the unemployed. What really hurts is waiting for these last minute let’s make a deal pass.
If the tax cuts are extended for two months, both sides get into the negotiation process again, will it end then or are we going to have to watch and listen to another round of never ending legislative arguments that hurts businesses and the middle class when a simple one year extension would benefit.
President Obama stated a “one year deal is not an issues” as long as an attempt to resolve the differences is in the legislation. What Republicans are holding out for is markdownsfrom Democrats. The Democrats state the Republicans want reduction in unemployment benefit extensions, cutting Medicare payments and including an oil pipeline from Canada to Texas built over sensitive water bearing land.
Republicans argue that there is uncertainty with the Democratic approach. The House wants a full-year extension.If the Democrats don’t bulge an inch, and if the Republicans refuse to allow a compromise to come up for a vote, After January 1, more taxes will come out of middle class paychecks unless Congress approves an extension of the Social Security payroll tax cuts.
The current tax bill would have also cut what Medicare pays hospital physicians. It took money from hospitals to pay doctors, much like robbing “Peter to pay Paul.” No Congressional action on this extension, doctors will see major cuts in their Medicare money which hamper care and treatment. That is something I don’t think the Democrats are concerned with.
The payroll tax cut extension, about $1,000 per family, expires Dec. 31 for about 160 million Americans. The Republicans stated during the same tax issues last year they never wanted a middle class tax cut to begin with. If no action is taken soon working Americans need to know that their taxes will go up one full next year possible beyond.
The Republican resolutionmay not be perfect through spending cuts. But they are aware tax cuts not by raising taxes, not by additional revenues coming to big government, but by passing an extension now. Not two months or wait until next year.
The opinion expressed in this commentary
article are solely those of Michael Coker