I'll cut to the chase: If Congress doesn't act soon, middle-class Americans will see their taxes go up starting on January 1st, taking almost $1,000 out of the pockets of a typical family next year.
Last year, President Obama and members of both parties in Congress cut the payroll tax for 155 million workers, putting money in your pockets. Now, that tax cut is expiring. So in September, the President and I proposed extending that tax cut and cutting your taxes even further: giving the typical family a $1,500 tax cut. Steps like this won't just help families feel more secure in their budgets, it'll give them more money to spend at local businesses that will hire more people and make investments in new equipment too.
We thought the extension would win bipartisan support again. How could Republicans in Congress, some of whom have pledged not to raise taxes by a penny, oppose extending the same tax cuts they just passed? But after years of protecting expensive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, many Republicans now say we should let this middle-class tax cut expire.
There's a lot at stake here for you and your family, and the better folks understand how much more they may have to pay, the easier it will be to get Congress to do the right thing. We've put together a calculator to show how much of your money hangs in the balance.
Try it out.
Last week, we finally got some good news from Capitol Hill. Congress passed another measure from our American Jobs Act, creating tax credits for companies that hire veterans – and yesterday President Obama signed the bill into law.
But folks, as important as that is, it's not nearly enough.
There is not a single good reason – not one – why Congress should stop there. Just like that tax credit will help ensure returning service members can find a job, the American Jobs Act helps put Americans back to work by jump starting the private sector and creating an economy that’s built to last. Congress ought to pass the rest of our proposals, too.
And Congress should start with protecting your paycheck.
Let me lay out the facts: Today, because of our tax cuts, everyone who collects a paycheck contributes 4.2 percent of their wages in payroll taxes. But if Congress doesn't act, that tax will go up two percentage points, to 6.2 percent. That might not sound like much, but to an average family, that's a difference of almost $1,000 a year.
President Obama and I have proposed cutting the rate even further – down to 3.1 percent. That would give a tax cut to 160 million workers next year, providing a $1,500 cut to the typical middle class family.
We have 40 days for Congress to take action. That's 40 days for Republicans in Congress to do the right thing for the country – or 40 days before they force middle-class families to pay almost $1,000 more.
Take a minute to calculate what's at stake for you:
Vice President Joe Biden