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payroll tax cut poll

A National Journal poll finds widespread support—58 percent in favor to 32 percent against—for extending the payroll tax cut:

Respondents were read the following arguments before being asked if Congress should extend the payroll-tax cut: “Supporters say this tax cut gives people more money to spend and helps the economy. Opponents say it increases the federal debt without doing much to help the economy.”

Support for extending the payroll-tax cut—despite concerns about the budget deficit—is broad and bipartisan. Democrats favor an extension, 68 percent to 25 percent. Half of Republicans think Congress should extend the payroll-tax reduction, while 39 percent think they should not. Among independents, 57 percent favor an extension, while a third do not.

You know they just had to get the word "deficit" in there somehow, to make the poll fit the Beltway obsession with the deficit; notice, too, that there's no mention of the legitimate concern that it might undermine Social Security.

The poll also asked about extending emergency unemployment benefits, asking respondents whether they supported keeping the current 99-week limit, cutting eligibility back to a maximum of 26 weeks, or something in between:

A plurality—46 percent—prefer a new limit between a wide range of 26 weeks and 99 weeks, while 29 percent favor keeping the current 99-week limit, and 20 percent want benefits capped at 26 weeks. Democrats are split, with 44 percent favoring a new limit between 26 and 99 weeks and 43 percent wanting Congress to keep benefits at 99 weeks. A 51-percent majority of Republicans want Congress to set a new limit between 26 and 99 weeks, compared to 30 percent who want the limit reduced to 26 weeks. Forty-eight percent of independents want a new limit between 26 and 99 weeks, 27 percent favor extending the current 99-week law, and 21 percent support limiting benefits to 26 weeks.

Where the question about the payroll tax cut had to include an argument in favor of it in order to shoehorn in the almighty deficit, the question about unemployment benefits didn't include arguments for and against. So respondents didn't hear that in fact only people in the states with the worst unemployment levels are eligible for 99 weeks of coverage, that unemployment benefits provide greater economic stimulus than tax cuts, that Congress has never reduced the weeks of benefits when the unemployment rate was so high, or that there are currently more than four job seekers for every available job in this country. Who knows if it would have made a difference in this one poll, but it sure would be nice if the political establishment considered any of those facts relevant.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 10:18 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  My UE views are mixed (0+ / 0-)

    I know a fair amount of people that are down and out and could use more than we already have because of the job market and their trades.  99 weeks is simply not enough and the payments are far to meager.  They need more.

    On the other hand, I know a lot more people who could get a job but frankly refuse to for a myriad of reasons.  It doesn't pay enough (from people that spend $$$$ on shoes, drink bottled water all the time, and drink $10 buck coffee), it's not good enough (aka I will not take a job unless I like the title of the position and it perfectly 100% suits me, and I am entitled to it), it's not challenging enough (this is beneath me, I want a directors position, not an officers position), and other really stupid reasons for not taking the jobs they have had offered to them.  And they won't, because they still have time on UE which prevents them from burning through their savings.

    However living in Washington DC where the job market isn't all that bad and knowing mostly people with a college education, often graduate degrees, does skew things.  But I do know people that haven't taken jobs paying 75k a year because they want an 85k a year job with a higher title because that's what they "deserve", and have turned down several jobs.  Of course that's contrasted with the horde of people applying to McDonalds in other areas that can't get anything.

    "Foolproof systems don't take into account the ingenuity of fools."

    by overclocking on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 10:40:18 AM PST

    •  $75K and up (0+ / 0-)

      is people who while certainly not in the top 1%, are definitely within the top 10%.  

      So judging the importance of unemployement benefits for the other 90%, by looking at "enjoyment" of unemployment in a privileged 10%, might not be such a good idea overall.  

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 11:24:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Four people looking for every job available (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN

      So, unless 75% of those looking are turning down jobs, it all comes out in the wash.

    •  And THAT's why it's hard to get people on board (0+ / 0-)

      for extending unemployment insurance. I understand your perspective.
      A few awful people do not represent the majority of Americans. So when Boner and Ugly McConnell go out to talk about limiting unemployment insurance they use examples like the person who wants to earn 85k instead of 75k, Millionaires who are on food stamps, and other BS.

      DC is an expensive city though. Earning 75k in Tucson is more than a two person household x 2. Most unemployed people I know are people my age who would be happy with a part time job that could put food on the table and pay for bills. What is this bottled water thing you speak of?

      plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

      by YoungArizonaLiberal on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 02:03:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why would it be difficult (0+ / 0-)

      To simply change the legislation such that you turn down a job you loose benefits?  If someone is comfortable not taking a job for any reason then why should I continue to work two jobs to get buy and have taxes taken out to support a lazy 10%-er?

      •  Rules may vary by state... (0+ / 0-)

        ...but here in Texas there are rules dictating when you need to take a job offer or else lose you unemployment benefits.

        But those rules don't require that you take any job, but rather a job that matches some percentage of your income from your previous job.

        So an unemployed engineer who had made $100k/year would not lose benefits for turning down a $9/hour job at Fry's...but would lose benefits if he turned down an $80k/year job in a technical field.

        The minimum percentage drops the longer you're unemployed -- so after 5 months, you might be expected to accept a job that you wouldn't have been required to take after a month.

        All of this seems fair and reasonable to me.  It's both humane and good economics -- there is economic logic in encouraging people to hold out for jobs that come closer to their income potential versus forcing them to take whatever comes along.  

        Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

        by TexasTom on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 06:52:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm skeptical about this... (0+ / 0-)
      But I do know people that haven't taken jobs paying 75k a year because they want an 85k a year job with a higher title because that's what they "deserve", and have turned down several jobs.

      More to the point, I'm skeptical that extended unemployment has much impact on the decisions of such people.

      The maximum benefits here are something like $400/week (a bit less, actually), which would work out to roughly $20,000/year.  I have a hard time imagining that the decision to take or not take a $75k/year job instead of holding out for another $10k is likely to be all that strongly impacted by $400/week of unemployment benefits...

      And then there's this:

      It doesn't pay enough (from people that spend $$$$ on shoes, drink bottled water all the time, and drink $10 buck coffee), [...]  And they won't, because they still have time on UE which prevents them from burning through their savings.

      You're telling me that people who buy expensive shoes, overpriced coffee, and other luxuries are able to preserve their savings thanks to a few hundred dollars a week from unemployment?  And this in a high cost of living area like Washington, DC?

      Really?

      If these people are spending the way you describe, I'd suspect that unemployment would barely slow the rate at which they burn through their savings.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 06:46:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is some lame framing (0+ / 0-)
    Respondents were read the following arguments before being asked if Congress should extend the payroll-tax cut: “Supporters say this tax cut gives people more money to spend and helps the economy. Opponents say it increases the federal debt without doing much to help the economy.”

    How about, opponents say that it decreases the solvency of social security?  Opponents say, why the hell are we cutting the one tax that is actually an insurance premium that we get back in full?   Opponents say, now we are supposed to BEG congressional Republicans for the privilege of eroding our safety net?!

    No!  There are zillions of taxes we could cut, or bargain about cutting, that would put money in the pockets of working people.  We shouldn't EVEN be cutting this one, let alone sacrificing for the opportunity.  It's a terrible idea and I'm sorry we're doing it.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 11:20:36 AM PST

    •  Don't get mad, there's nothing to be done about (0+ / 0-)

      the Force of the Narrative...

      There are zillions of taxes we could cut, or bargain about cutting, that would put money in the pockets of working people.  We shouldn't EVEN be cutting this one,
      See how even YOU structure your sentences, no doubt unconsciously, to leave the notion that the FICA WITHHOLDING is a "tax" about which one can debate "cutting?"

      "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

      by jm214 on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 02:03:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  UI a bigger test than cutting taxes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, denise b

    President Obama and the Democratic Party must not be willing to write off millions of unemployed people. UI is a pro-growth policy as GDP will take a hit without an extension. UI also is consistent with being a compassionate society and party. It's damn hard to believe the Dems are out there "fighting" for those that are hurting if they run away from a true extension of UI.

    What are we to do with the long-term unemployed? Are they and their families supposed to find a nice out of sight space and die?

    There are plenty of people that can be retrained to do work that needs to be done. No need to import brains when we can't employ the ones we have in this country. If we can do Welfare-to-Work, then surely we can do something similar with those that have been unemployed for too long.

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 11:29:57 AM PST

  •  What does it mean to be against extending break? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jm214

    So 32% are against extending the break. Why are these people against it?

    Want to make workers suffer?

    Or don't want to see Social Security defunded or impacted in anyway?

    I want the break extended for my extra $50 a week, or whatever it is, but I don't want to see Social Security reduced by some Wingers saying workers have already defunded. Or am I over thinking this?

    •  Not overthinking it at all. This is just another (0+ / 0-)

      scam to hack away the last vestiges of the social contract stuff that we once upon a time, when we still did that as a nation, grew up with.

      "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

      by jm214 on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 02:05:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  in a roundabout way, UI and the payroll cut (0+ / 0-)

    create jobs thus they bring in tax revenue.

    they don't bring in as much revenue as they pay out- but there is a third leg to the stool.

    if we stop paying UI and the payroll cut in this economy it will lead to fresh job losses.

    those new job losses- will mean less tax revenues coming in, and the government will have to pay UI to that fresh batch of newly unemployed ex-workers.

    we also need to remember, every month, more and more people fall off extended UI- and once that happens they go homeless.

    •  put another way. (0+ / 0-)

      if we scale UI back to 26 weeks and do not extend the payroll tax cut- this could lead to a significant decrease in GDP- which means there would be a new wave of layoffs.

      this fresh round of layoffs would lead to a decrease in tax revenues- and an increase in UI provided to those that were fired in this new wave of layoffs. the deficit and the debt could in fact increase if we don't tip toe to this balancing act just right.

      cutting back on these programs now- could be penny-wise and pound foolish.

  •  Why do we care what 'supporters' and 'opponents' (0+ / 0-)

    say, as opposed to, for instance, what the CBO says?

    Should we care about the false equivalency of positions, one of which disagrees with reality?

  •  nice (0+ / 0-)

    So forty percent or so of Americans think nobody should help anybody out of a tough spot, and another third think we should help them out and not someone who's unemployed. My people.

    and I wait for them to interrupt my drinking from this broken cup

    by le sequoit on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 02:08:04 PM PST

    •  It takes education. (0+ / 0-)

      People (40% anyway) are stupid and selfish and until someone convinces them that they are wrong they are going to continue to be stupid and selfish.

      That is why speeches such as the one that B Obama gave yesterday are important. We have to keep hammering away at one message:

      We are all in this together.

      Then we work as hard as we can and hope that at least 50% of the voters plus one agree with us. That is how good people get into Congress and the White House. If we hold the White House, we have the chance to get good people onto the Supreme Court.

      Don't despair because there are bad people out there. There will always be bad people out there. We have to work to get as many as possible of the good people (potentially 60% to 66% by this poll, much more than a majority) to hold together and at the same time try to pick off and convert those bad people one by one.

      Life is not easy. Don't let the turkeys get you down. Think of all the people who do agree with us.

      GREAT tag, BTW.

      OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

      by hillbrook green on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 02:31:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In a perfect world (0+ / 0-)

    we could afford to be choosy about tax relief.

    I have misgivings about any action regarding the SS withholding tax and have expressed my opposition in the past.

    However, given that the Repubs would rather see the economy crash so that they can defeat Obama, it is imperative to take any steps, including a temporary suspension of SS withholding, to try to get the economy moving.

    If the tax withholding returned to normal levels, the Repubs would immediately paint it as a tax hike and it would feel like a tax hike to middle-class and poor workers.

    Better if the Repubs support the extension and the economy has more chance of improving or oppose it and are painted with the label of "tax-hikers".

    Blame the Repubs for the necessity of doing things that would be unacceptable under other circumstances.

    It is not a perfect world.

    OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

    by hillbrook green on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 02:16:22 PM PST

  •  I am not in favor of it for the following reasons (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein

    1. No it will not create jobs.
    2. Unless there is a way to make up the money, those paying less into pay rolls taxes will get less credited to their future SS.
    3. Encouraging short term consumerism is the problem for a long term stable economy.

    We need to wait and let the Bush taxes expire on ALL, not just the very rich. Weneed a long term tax reform, to avoid deficits in booms and busts.

    •  Not so much... (0+ / 0-)
      Encouraging short term consumerism is the problem for a long term stable economy.

      (my emphasis)

      Unless you consider putting food on the table and paying for gas to be consumerism.

      Times are tough. Lots of people need help. This is not a lot of help, but it is help.

      OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

      by hillbrook green on Wed Dec 07, 2011 at 02:35:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  They'll either be paying unemployment extension (0+ / 0-)

    or they'll paying food stamps, Medicare, and we'll be seeing more foreclosures.

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