Following the House of Representatives' rejection of legislation to extend the payroll tax cut and jobless benefits for two months, on Tuesday the White House took to social media asking people to comment on what the rejection meant to them. For an average taxpayer earning $50,000 a year, terminating the tax cuts could mean an extra $1000 in Social Security tax from Jan. 1, 2012. When broken down that is about $40 for a pay period of two weeks.
President Obama rebuked the Republicans for not passing the bipartisan payroll tax cut compromise.
Our failure to do this could have effects not just on families but on the economy as a whole, Obama said.
It's not a game for the average family, who doesn't have an extra 1,000 bucks to lose. It's not a game for somebody who's out there looking for work right now, and might lose his house if unemployment insurance doesn't come through. It's not a game for the millions of Americans who will take a hit when the entire economy grows more slowly because these proposals aren't extended, he continued.
Thousands responded to the the White House's question: What losing $40 per paycheck would mean to you and your family over Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Here are some of the stories:
I can buy lunch from the cafeteria for almost a whole month for my twins, I can buy food, or pay for gas. I can save it for my daughter's prescriptions deductibles. To some people $40 is nothing, but $40 is big money for us - L.A., Hamden, Connecticut.
$40.00 a paycheck will allow me to continue to pay co-pays to doctors for necessary medical treatments needed to control debilitating disease - J.R., Arlington, Texas.
'Our cable internet bill is $49 per month. If we lose this payroll tax cut then we will have to give up either (that) or internet access or possibly our Friday Family Pizza night. Either way, we will lose something that brings us together as a family - K.Z., Frederick, Maryland.
After everything that comes out, including my mortgage my take home pay is $150.00 every two weeks. So minus forty would be $110.00. I can barely get by now, that forty bucks is my gas for my car to get to work. Taking forty away from my pay would, just about put me under - R.T., Charleston, West Virginia.
$40 less a paycheck means I will have to pick between my insulin and the water bill. It means never being able to see my doctor - even though I have insurance - B.T., Roswell, New Mexico.
90 days of prescription drugs - P.B., Milledgeville, Georgia.
The tax cut extensions have been rejected for now. However, Congress could revisit the issue next year.
Meanwhile, Republicans, who were adamant they didn't want a tax cut extension, now say they would have accepted the extension had the deal been for a single year and are demanding negotiations between the Senate and the House before Christmas.
Our members do not want to just punt and do a two-month short-term fix where we have to come back and do this again, Speaker John Boehner said.