“What happened that my Social Security withholding’s in my paycheck just went up?” a poster wrote on the liberal site DemocraticUnderground.com. “My paycheck just went down by an amount that I don’t feel comfortable with. I guarantee this decrease is gonna’ hurt me more than the increase in income taxes will hurt those making over 400 grand. What happened?”
Shocker. Democrats who supported the president’s re-election just had NO idea that his steadfast pledge to raise taxes meant that he was really going to raise taxes. They thought he planned to just hit those filthy “1 percenters,” you know, the ones who earned fortunes through their inventiveness and hard work. They thought the free ride would continue forever.
So this week, as taxes went up for millions of Americans — which Republicans predicted throughout the campaign would happen — it was fun to watch the agoggery of the left.
“I know to expect between $93 and $94 less in my paycheck on the 15th,” wrote the ironically named “RomneyLies.”
“My boyfriend has had a lot of expenses and is feeling squeezed right now, and having his paycheck shrink really didn’t help,” wrote “DemocratToTheEnd.”
“BlueIndyBlue” added: “Many of my friends didn’t realize it, either. Our payroll department didn’t do a good job of explaining the coming changes.”
So let’s explain something to our ill-informed Democratic friends. In 2009, Mr. Obama enacted a “holiday” on the payroll tax deduction from employees’ paychecks, dropping the rate from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent. But like the holidays, the drop ended, and like New Year‘s, the revelers woke up the next morning with a massive hangover and a pounding head.
“Bake,” who may have been trolling the site, jumped into the thread posted Friday. “My paycheck just went down. So did my wife’s. This hurts us. But everybody says it’s a good thing, so I guess we just suck it up and get used to it. I call it a tax increase on the middle class. I wonder what they call it. Somebody on this thread called it a ‘premium.’ Nope. It’s a tax, and it just went up.”
Some in the thread argued that the new tax — or the end of the “holiday,” which makes it a new tax — wouldn’t really amount to much. One calculated it would cost about $86 a month for most people. “Honeycombe8,” though, said that amount is nothing to sneeze at.
“$86 a month is a lot. That would pay for … Groceries for a week, as someone said. More than what I pay for parking every month, after my employer’s contribution to that. A new computer after a year. A new quality pair of shoes … every month. Months of my copay for my hormones. A new thick coat (on sale or at discount place). It would pay for what I spend on my dogs every month … food, vitamins, treats.”
The Twittersphere was even funnier.
“Really, how am I ever supposed to pay off my student loans if my already small paycheck keeps getting smaller? Help a sister out, Obama,” wrote “Meet Virginia.” “Nancy Thongkham” was much more furious. “F***ing Obama! F*** you! This taking out more taxes s*** better f***ing help me out!! Very upset to see my paycheck less today!”
“_Alex™” sounded bummed. “Obama I did not vote for you so you can take away alot of money from my checks.” Christian Dixon seemed crestfallen. “I’m starting to regret voting for Obama.” But “Dave” got his dander up over the tax hike: “Obama is the biggest f***ing liar in the world. Why the f*** did I vote for him”?
Of course, dozens of posters on DemocraticUnderground sought to blame it all (as usual) on President George W. Bush. “Your taxes went up because the leaders need to dig us out of this criminal deficit hole we are in which has been caused because taxes were too low during the Bush years. Everyone has to help by spreading the wealth around a little. Power to the correct people!” posted “Orinoco.”
But in fact, it was Mr. Obama who enacted the “holiday,” and, to be clear, the tax cut that he pushed throughout the campaign — remember? 98 percent of Americans will get a cut under his plan? — was really the extension of the Bush tax cuts. Thus, it was Mr. Obama who raised taxes on millions of Americans, not Mr. Bush.
How many Americans? The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center in Washington put the total at 77.1 percent of all wage earners. In fact, “More than 80 percent of households with incomes between $50,000 and $200,000 would pay higher taxes. Among the households facing higher taxes, the average increase would be $1,635, the policy center said,” according to a Bloomberg News article. Hilariously, the tax burden will rise more for someone making $30,000 a year (1.7 percent) than it does for someone earning $500,000 annually (1.3 percent).
A whole new wave of Obama supporters still don’t even know: They’ll get their first 2013 paychecks on the 15th of the month. So when you’re shooting the breeze in the lunchroom with your grumbling co-workers on the 16th, just ask them, “Who’d you vote for in November?” When they say Mr. Obama, just tell them: “Well, you got what you voted for. You did know he was going to raise taxes, right?”
The looks on their faces will be priceless.
By Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times.