Monday, December 31, 2012
Opinion: Congress must, at all costs, extend middle class tax cuts
This disastrous situation is holding 98% of Americans hostage.
Congress must remember that their pledge is to their constituents more so than an allegiance to a specific political party. For me the fiscal cliff conversation is as much about its affect on working families and local businesses, as much as it is about solving our nation's deficit. In fact, they are different sides of the same coin. I call on Congressmen and women from both parties to be leaders for their constituents, to support working families, and, at all costs, to extend Middle Class Tax Cuts.
Middle Class tax cuts are the one thing both parties agree is the best thing for families, business, and the economy. However, the inability of both parties to find a compromise on the top 2% earners is holding 98% of Americans hostage. The effects of not extending this are disastrous.
Using Jeb Hensarling’s district as a case study provides clarity to this issue. His district spans from Lake Highlands in North Dallas to Alto, Texas. Taken together, the median income for his district is $41,007, roughly $11,000 less than the median income for the United States.
Families making less than $250,000 are about to see their taxes increase by $2,200. At a time with a fragile economic recovery, rising costs in food, rising costs of gas, and stagnant wages, it seems unreal to me to raise taxes on working families. For most of us, $2,200 is a lot of money. No American family should have to decide between mortgage payments, their child’s education, or taking care of their elderly parents because congress refuses break partisan politics.
Over 97% of small businesses make less than $250,000. The scenario here is losing 1.6 million jobs as consumer spending drops by $200 billion. This could toss us back into a recession. A bakery on Lovers Lane is worried about losing customers, losing profit, and being forced to let staff go. “If taxes increase why would someone spend $45 on a cake here when they could spend $12 at Wal-Mart,” the owner said. She is concerned that without this extension people will stop shopping locally and shop at larger chains to save $2,200.
Allowing Congress to go over the cliff will have profound effects on how all of us live our lives. It is the responsibility of the government to find a solution that protects working families and stimulates the economy while reducing the deficit. Elected officials must support their constituents and vote for a simple extension of the middle class tax cuts. Put middle class Americans above party politics.