Ohio Congressman and Speaker of the House John Boehner got rolled by his Tea Party freshmen again this week, but it’s Ohio working families who are getting hit upside the head.
Unless Congress acts to extend the payroll tax cut championed by President Obama, payroll taxes go up on January 1. This year for Christmas, the average middle class Ohioan will find a $1,000 tax increase in their stockings, courtesy of House Republicans.
Last week the Senate acted to extend the tax cut, along with an extension of unemployment compensation for 58,800 jobless Ohioans, by a lopsided and bipartisan margin of 89-10. At the time, Boehner pronounced it a “good deal” and promised to get the Republican votes necessary to pass it in the House and send it to the President for his signature.
Enter the Tea Party. By Sunday, Boehner’s guarantee had collapsed, the victim of another revolt by the extremists who control the Speaker’s Republican House majority. On Tuesday, the House rejected the Senate-passed Obama plan —and left middle class Ohioans holding the bag.
Without the extension of the payroll tax cut 4.6 million Ohioans will see their taxes go up. Apart from the hardship this will pose for Ohioans who are currently working, experts like Macroeconomic Advisers say allowing the tax cut to lapse will slow economic (GDP) growth by half a point and cost an additional 400,000 jobs. Letting unemployment benefits expire will mean untold misery for those already out of work, and cost an additional 200,000 jobs as decreased spending ripples throughout the economy.
Somehow, Boehner and his Tea Party House members never fail or falter when it comes to passing tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. But when the issue is extending unemployment compensation and payroll tax cuts for the middle class, they bob, weave, and make excuse after excuse for why it can’t be done.
Ohioans should call, write, and e-mail Speaker Boehner and let him know what you think of his latest failure. Tell him it’s time to end the obstructionism. Tell him you’re sick of help-the-rich-and-forget-the-rest politics. And tell him that if he can’t control his Tea Party caucus, the voters will be happy to do it for him in the next election.