BY SHARON MARTIN
Chances are you got a tax cut in 2009. A tax credit for working Americans was part of the stimulus package so many of us are happy to curse. In fact, 95% of all Americans got some sort of tax cut from this Democratically-controlled Congress.
If you earn a paycheck and your annual income is less than $75,000, the Making Work Pay credit will reduce your taxes by 6.2% – up to $400 for a single taxpayer and $800 for a couple. Instead of sending you a rebate check, your uncle has reduced the amount of money he’s taking out of your paycheck. You don’t have to give it back in April, either.
Yes, your paycheck should be bigger than it was. If it isn’t, check your insurance premium. Was the increase in your health insurance premium greater than your tax cut?
My health insurance company has started increasing my premium every six months, almost doubling it in just two years. They are trying to grab as much profit as they can while they can before all the provisions of health care reform kick in. So, if you’re paycheck is getting smaller, don’t blame the government, blame the insurance companies.
Robbery is robbery, even if it is white-collar and, according to the letter of the law, legal.
For laid-off workers, beginning this year, there is a temporary suspension of taxation on unemployment benefits. These are just two of at least a half dozen tax cuts and credits.
There is a lot of talk during this election cycle about cutting taxes and cutting spending. It may take a while for us to dig ourselves out of the hole that two wars and a housing bubble rolled us into, so the deficit won’t go away immediately. The stimulus package helped, including the tax cuts for all but the wealthiest five percent of Americans. Meanwhile, a rash of candidates and big money donors hope we’ll forget who cut taxes for the middle class.
Here’s my advice to you as we go into the November elections: Look around for another insurance company if your premiums keep going up. Spend your tax rebates [in the form of more money in your paychecks] locally. Vote for those legislators who brought you Making Work Pay or kept you in your job with the stimulus bill. Ask the next crop of legislators to go even farther and create a jobs program so that out-of-work people in the community can get back to work, rebuild infrastructure, and get money back in circulation. Turn off the television, and don’t be misled by a handful of people who want everything, including your cheap labor and all the tax breaks.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer