Patt Morrison for December 6, 2011

Payroll tax cut countdown begins: what will it mean for you?

Payroll tax clock.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney speaks during the daily briefing after U.S. President Barack Obama delivered a statement urging Republicans in Congress to join Democrats to ensure taxes don't go up on middle class families in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on December 5, 2011 in Washington, DC.

Democrats say they’ll try again, for a fifth time in two months, to raise taxes on top earners to pay for legislation that would extend a payroll tax cut.

President Obama chimed in to keep Congressional Republicans on the defensive, emphasizing that taxes will increase by about $1,000 on a typical family next year if Congress fails to act. He also installed a payroll tax cut “countdown clock” in the White House press room. Senate Democrats unveiled their latest version of a proposal last night, scrapping Mr. Obama’s proposal to halve the payroll tax paid by employers but keeping his idea to reduce employees’ share to 3.1% of wages. If Congress fails to act, the rate will revert to 6.2% by January, impacting an estimated 160 million workers. Politically, Democrats are attempting to capitalize on a kind of role-reversal, casting the Republicans’ inaction as the impetus for a tax increase on the middle class. On the other side, Republicans are framing the Dems’ plan as a temporary payroll tax holiday that won’t produce any jobs, will create a surtax on small-business owners and won’t do anything to reduce the country’s deficit. Patt checks in with some local politicians to explain the political gridlock in Washington.

Guests:

Russell Berman, staff writer, The Hill

Tracy Westen, CEO, Center for Governmental Studies

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), member of the House Budget Committee and co-sponsor of H.R. 3551, a new bill that would give taxpayers the choice of whether to continue to receive a payroll tax cut

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), he’s member of the House Financial Services Committee


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