Taegan Goddard notes the following:
Two new polls show President Obama's approval rate under 50%: Fox News has it at 49%, while Quinnipiac finds it at 46%.Quinnipiac says Obama was at 53% approval in December, and 40% approval; the numbers are now 46%-45%. Gosh, what happened? You think maybe it might be this change that happened as a result of December's budget deal?
... at street level, the pain from the expiration of a two-percentage-point break in Social Security taxes in 2011 and 2012 is plain to see.I know the payroll tax cut was supposed to be temporary. I know Republicans demand insane concessions, and we were fortunate that a deal could be struck that avoided a major financial catastrophe.
"You got to stretch what you got," said [Eddie] Phillips, 51, a front-desk clerk and maintenance man for a nonprofit housing group who earned $22,000 last year. "That little $20 or $30 affects you, especially if you're just making enough money to stay above water." So he has taken to juggling bills, skipping a payment on one this month and another next month.
"I'm playing catch-up each month," he said. "You go to the supermarket and you can't spend what you used to."
Jack Andrews has it slightly better than Mr. Phillips. He earns a bit more than $40,000 a year manufacturing ceramics in a local factory, but because his wife, Cindy, is disabled, he is the sole breadwinner. Something had to give now that he is earning about $800 less a year, or $66 a month, and it was the couple's monthly night out.
"It's just gotten out of reach," Mr. Andrews said....
In Medford, Ore., Darchelle Skipwith had to scrap her monthly budget and start over when the law changed.
She is buying less meat; driving less often to see her sister, who lives 12 miles away in Eagle Point; and putting less away in savings. In August, Ms. Skipwith, 42, hopes to get a raise of 50 cents an hour at her job stacking shelves at Walmart, which should help make up the difference.
For now, she has no choice but to change her daily routine.
"I added it up -- it's about $75 a month," Ms. Skipwith said. "That’s not a lot for some people, but mine is the only paycheck. I don't have extra money coming in."
And yet this regressive tax increase went through practically without comment, and all the Very Serious People thought it was good:
"I don't see any reason to consider supporting its extension,” said Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, in testimony last year. Even Nancy Pelosi, a reliable liberal who leads the Democratic minority in the House of Representatives, was for letting it expire.But now they're shocked that it's having an impact:
Complete monthly data for retail sales in January will not be released until later this week, but the weekly data already available for last month showed a steady deterioration in shopping activity.Gosh, who'da thunk?
"There is something going on," said Chris G. Christopher Jr., senior principal economist at IHS Global Insight. "The payroll tax seems to be cutting into things."
If you make up to $113,700, you pay it on every dime you earn. If you make, say, $1,000,000, this increase doesn't apply at all to the last $886,300 you make. (And if you're self-employed, you pay both your share and the employer's share, because you're considered your own employer.)
... in a Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey of consumer sentiment released on Friday ... [w]hen asked how their financial situation had changed in January, 32 percent of people with incomes below $75,000 said their pay had dropped, compared with 13 percent who said it had increased. By contrast, 38 percent of people earning more than $75,000 said their wages had gone up last month, and 23 percent said they had gone down.Ya think?
"We rarely see such divergent trends," Dr. Curtin said. "Mostly it was the payroll tax hurting the lower incomes...."
We have one party that despises the non-rich and another party that cares about the non-rich some of the time, while giving the have-nots the back of its hand the rest of the time. I wish this fact got one-thousandth of the attention on the left that drones get.