The president did sign a bill yesterday that prevented one middle-class tax hike — the expiration of the Bush tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans — but he makes no mention of the fact that he did absolutely nothing to block the expiration of the payroll-tax holiday, a tax increase on almost 100 percent of Americans (excepting the small number of state- and local-government employees who are enrolled in a different retirement system). And while it doesn’t amount to $2,000 an American, the mean tax increase for the 77 percent of Americans whose overall taxes will be higher than they were in 2012 isn’t far off, adding up to $1,635. Eighty-one percent of the middle quintile of Americans will see their total tax bills rise.
At no point, even when his administration laid out a risible set of demands, everything they wanted from Congress, did the president try to extend the payroll-tax cut. From the very beginning, he knew he was going to sign a policy that would let a tax increase occur for almost all Americans, and today, celebrating having made “the rich pay their fair share,” he simply pretends otherwise. I (and the editors of National Review) happen to agree with the president that “the last thing middle-class families could afford now would be to pay upwards of $2,000 more in taxes this year” — it’s too bad he’s letting almost exactly that happen.