Yesterday was the 15th, and for me and millions of others it was the end of the “holiday” that let me keep more of my own money, and the first payday with the 2% increase in payroll taxes that are used to pay for Social Security.
You know, President Obama said he wouldn’t raise taxes on the middle class a single dime. Well he was right, my disposable income wasn’t reduced by one dime, it was reduced by 250 dimes.
Now, I work for a non-profit, I’m paying off student loans, trying to save for retirement, I drive a 15-year-old car, and my bank account is very nearly empty at the end of every pay period; I’m barely middle class. For me, this tax increase meant almost exactly $25 less that I have to spend in the next two weeks, that’s right at $600 a year.
I understand that Social Security is failing; I understand that I will likely not see a penny of the money that has been forcibly taken from me; I understand that many of our parents and grandparents have been relying on Social Security to ensure a comfortable retirement. I’ve come to terms with all of this, so I haven’t raised my voice, but it’s still infuriating.
Politicians, most recently Nancy Pelosi, love to talk about the money multiplier effect of government spending, but the facts state over and over again that private consumption and investment are vastly more beneficial to the economy than government spending. Not to mention the incredible inefficiency of government programs, themselves.
I know they don’t think I can take care of myself.
I know they think I won’t help other people if I’m allowed to keep my money.
I know they think I won’t spend it on the right things.
But here are some things I could do before with that money that I can’t do now:
- Make two extra student loan payments over the next year, which would free me of the burden of debt at least two months more quickly,
- Leave bigger tips to my waiters and waitresses, who have it harder than I do, so that they can pay back their student loans.
- Save for a new car, maybe even one of those new-fangled ones that gets 45 mpg, which would be better for the environment
- Save for retirement so that I don’t have to rely on Social Security
- Give more money to my church or some of my favorite charitable organizations who help people in need so they don’t have to rely on the government
- Use the extra $12.50 a week to take a friend out to lunch
- Save for football tickets
- Take a trip up to visit my 92-year-old grandmother
- Buy one designer handbag, or, like, 12 cheaper ones
- Take a class at a local community college so I can finally figure out how to use Photoshop
Some of these things seem frivolous, some incredibly important, and some just downright silly, but each of them contributes to the economy in a tangible way, and in a much more efficient fashion than they would after siphoning through a government bureaucrat’s grubby fingers.
It should be my choice where that $600 (and the other many thousands of dollars in taxes that I see disappear every year) goes, not President Obama’s, not Congress’s, not yours.
What are some things you’re going to miss now that we’re back from our “Tax Holiday”?