I don't know about you, but I'm not one of those folks worrying about the "tax increase for the rich" that was conceived in the fiscal cliff deal lawmakers finally approved on Day 2 of the new year.
I'm not making $400,000 a year. Combined, my wife and I are nowhere near $450,000 a year. So, no worries.
But for all the talk about "protecting the middle class," I'm apparently about to see a change in my take-home pay, thanks to the Jan. 2 deal that averted large across-the-board spending cuts and automatic reversal of some tax cuts.
"Technically, income tax rates that were set to go up were actually left alone, except for individuals and couples earning more than $400,000 and $450,000 respectively," according to this Yahoo! Finance article about three landmines in the fiscal cliff deal. One of those landmines: "Especially of note is a 2 percent bump in the payroll tax that will hit every taxpayer — not just the high-income households."
Another article, from Business Insider published on Yahoo! Finance, notes that the 2 percent (actually, it's 2 percentage points) come because Congress and the White House cut the payroll tax from 6.2 percent for all workers to 4.2 percent for all workers effective 2011.
But the fiscal cliff deal didn't renew that, so everyone's taxes are going up. Find out how you'll fare by reading the chart on the Business Insider article.
"According to the Tax Policy Center, the American Taxpayer Relief Act will mean that the average federal effective tax rate will be 21.7 percent and the average increase is $1,257," the article says.
I consider myself middle class. And this doesn't sound like "protection" to me. But both Missouri senators used that word when talking about their vote for the package.
"I'm glad this vote protects middle class families & #smallbiz owners from tax hikes," said Republican Sen. Roy Blunt. And from Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill: “This deal isn’t perfect, but it achieves what’s most important here by protecting middle class families."
Are you feeling protected? What could have been done better? Should there have been more spending cuts in this package? Do you expect to pay more or less to the federal government under this deal?