A ton of Americans didn’t see the payroll-tax increase coming. Others simply didn’t want to believe it when they heard or read about it, upon the rare occasion that the media would report on it. It had to just be right-wing talking points.
But when it hit their paychecks in January, they became believers.
“An increase in Social Security taxes is leaving Americans with less take-home pay — and a more negative outlook for the U.S. economy,” The Associated Press reported.
“The Conference Board said that its Consumer Confidence Index dropped 8.1 points in January from December to a reading of 58.6, the lowest since November
“Conference Board economist Lynn Franco said the tax increase was the key reason confidence tumbled in January, making Americans less optimistic about the next six months.
“For a worker earning $50,000 a year, take-home pay will shrink this year by about $1,000.”
This shouldn’t have been any surprise.
For one thing, the national media could’ve done a better job warning people. But perhaps they didn’t want to rain on President Barack Obama’s fiscal-cliff victory — although, didn’t he promise no tax increases on anyone making less than $200,000?
For another thing, the media constantly have attacked anyone preaching fiscal prudence in government. Think Tea Party. What the media should have been doing during the tax-and-spend debate of the past year is to stress to readers and viewers that the more money you take out of earners’ hands, the less money they have to spend.
That sounds simple enough. But if we’ve got that so down pat, why was the January tax increase implemented, and why was it able to sneak up on so many people?
The reason that happened also is simple: The national media took Obama’s implicit message — that tax increases on the wealthy will improve the economy — and they ran with it. They let him snooker people into somehow believing that feeding the federal-government behemoth is in some magical way going to improve things in the society at large.
This just in: Higher taxes slow the economy.
— Online: www.chronicle.augusta.com