Tuesday, December 20, 2011

We Can’t Allow the Payroll Tax Cut and Unemployment Benefits to Expire

Allowing Them to End Will Threaten the Economic Recovery

The Senate overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan compromise Saturday to prevent the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits from expiring at the end of the year. The House will hold a critical vote on the measure later today.

If the House doesn’t approve the measure, the current payroll tax holiday will expire at the end of the year. As a result, taxes will go up for 160 million workers, starting with their first paychecks of 2012. The typical middle-class household tax increase in 2012 will be about $1,000. The combined effect of this across-the-board middle-class tax increase on consumer demand would seriously threaten the fragile economic recovery.

Congressional inaction through 2012 would also cause unemployment insurance benefits to run out for more than 5 million workers. The unemployment rate is still 8.6 percent, and for every one job opening, there are four people actively looking for employment. Cutting off unemployment benefits would not only create vast uncertainty and hardship for affected families, but it would also cause the economy to lose about $50 billion in demand, which would further hinder the recovery and cost more jobs.

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