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Yesterday afternoon, which picking out a previously-frozen salmon for dinner, I began bantering with the lady butcher, where I've shopped for over a decade.
"How are you doing," She asked.
"I just got a raise," I laughed, "Minimum wages went up."
"Yeh, well my taxes just went up," she frowned. She was referring to the reinstatement of the 6.2% payroll tax, which is supposed to pay for social security. "I thought only the rich people had their taxes go up."
"Yeh, that tax had been cut to 4% for the two years but now it's going back up," I answered.
"Well I didn't notice it when it was cut," She said, plainly frustrated, "Now there's an extra $40 every two weeks out of my check. It just makes me so angry because you know how much fraud and waste there is in the government."
"Oh there sure is," I said,"When they stop fighting three wars at once maybe we can start saving some money."
Another customer arrived, She wrapped up my fish, and I left.
I got the feeling from this discussion, that the aftermath of the Fiscal Cliff Bargain may not be going over too well with millions of middle class Americans. This week some folks are feeling screwed at a 2% cut in their pay from the renewal of the full payroll tax, even though the Bargain did raise income taxes on the wealthy. This reminds me somewhat of Obamacare. While that program itself is very helpful to millions, it is still unpopular even among some folks who benefited from it. I fear misunderstanding of the reinstated payroll tax may also hurt the Democratic cause, as Obamacare has in some cases, because of the poorly explained circumstances. I admit my "poll sampling" is as sparce as a Tom Friedman taxi driver interview, but hey.