The Payroll-Tax Holiday from Hell
Had an American taxpayer fallen into a deep slumber in January 2011 and awakened 11 months later, he might have thought he had been teleported into an alternate universe. “Extension of Tax Cut Stalls in House as G.O.P. Objects,” ran a December 18 front-page headline in the New York Times. “Republicans in House Reject Deal Extending Payroll Tax Cut,” announced the December 21 Times front page. Our hibernator would have begun his sleep following the GOP triumph at the end of December 2010, when the resurgent Republicans in the House of Representatives compelled Barack Obama to agree to a two-year extension of the lowered federal-tax rates that had been the significant domestic political legacy of George W. Bush. So what happened in 2011 to alter the GOP’s standing as the party of tax cuts?
Why were the most conservative Republicans, the ones in the House of Representatives, standing in stout opposition to a payroll tax cut—which had been part of that heralded December 2010 deal to extend the Bush cuts?
About the Author
Ira Stoll is the editor of futureofcapitalism.com and author of Samuel Adams: A Life.