As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

The Deceptive White House $40 Payroll Tax Campaign

President Obama Thursday misled workers with his “$40” PR campaign, suggesting workers would lose double the amount they actually would if House Republicans failed to accept the Senate measure extending the payroll tax holiday for two more months.

Twice during remarks at the White House, Obama indcated voters would pay $40 extra in taxes per weekly paycheck. But by the White House’s own calculations, an average family  making $50,000 annually would lose about $1,000 per year from their earnings, or a little more than $40 out of every biweekly paycheck.

Here’s what Obama said:

Anyone who knows what it’s like to stretch a budget knows that at the end of the week, or the end of the month, $40 can make all the difference in the world . . . So on Tuesday, we asked folks to tell us what would it be like to lose $40 out of your paycheck every week.

At no point in his remarks did he suggest he was talking about a biweekly paycheck. And nowhere on the White House website page trumpeting the $40 campaign does it say the campaign refers to a biweekly paycheck.

The $40 campaign was the final salvo in a White House PR war that eventually forced House Republicans to capitulate on their demand that the Senate negotiate a full -year extension before the payroll tax cut expired on Jan. 1.

While most companies do payroll biweekly, many workers still receive weekly paychecks, and they would only have lost about $20 per check, not $40. They could easily have perceived, from what they heard out of the White House Thursday, that they would be losing $40 in each of their weekly paychecks.

And those receiving biweekly checks could well have understood the White House to be talking about weekly checks and figured they would actually be losing $80 per paycheck

Adding to the White House obfuscation is that maintaining the tax cut for two months will be paid for under the legislation by a new fee – lasting ten years, not two months – that will bump up payments for new mortgages and refinances.

According to one report, the new fee would result in a $15 per month added payment on an average $200,000 mortgage, or about $180 a year. That would erase the savings from a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut in just a year for families taking out new mortgages of this size or greater – and obliterate it over ten years.

31 Responses to The Deceptive White House $40 Payroll Tax Campaign

  1. Once again, I would be shocked if this was any other President. However, I recognize Obama as a serial “mis-stater of fact,” Credibility is akin to virginity, you can only lose it once.

  2. I noticed he also embelished the response to the WH #40dollars twitter campaign. “thousands and thousands” responded, but he failed to mention over half of those were snarky :D

    I’d really like to meet the pizza family too. That sounded so made up.

  3. Yes, Obama lied but what else is new. The person most responsible for this mess is John Boehner. Why didn’t he call Obama out on his lies? Why didn’t he speak out about the burden that will be placed on the middle class with the new mortgage fee passed by Senate Democrats? Why didn’t he say or do anything but fold like a cheap suit? I’ve had it with these establishment politicians. I’m mad enough at the whole cabal that I’m ready to vote for whoever is running against my congressman, Lamar Smith, in the next election. If the only alternative is a Democrat so be it. At least the Democrats are honest about their intentions and fight for their beliefs. Can’t say the same thing about the Republicans.

    • “At least the Democrats are honest about their intentions and fight for their beliefs”
      That’s BS, cool off and think. This article was about Obummer being dishonest.
      Part of the reason the R’s aren’t more successful in the PR war, is that the media spin every story the other way. But R’s should be aware of that and figure out how to counteract or ameliorate it.
      But D’s are also ‘establishment’ and Big Fat Liars!!

      • I agree that the establishment is made up of both Democrats and Republicans. In fact I would wager that the great majority of politicians who have been in D.C. longer than 10 years deserve that label.

        Unfortunately, Boehner didn’t even try to go around the MSM and talk to conservative media. That he caved within hours of Obama’s dog and pony show makes the defeat of Republicans look even worse. All Boehner managed to do was give Obama another win on an issue that should have been a no brainer. The Democrat’s two month extension versus the Republican’s 12-months — how could they botch that message? I’m just tired of defending these gutless wonders.

      • If you’re going to quote me, at least include the whole phrase. It takes on a whole new meaning when you leave out the “intentions” part.

        My husband and I worked to make sure Santa visited our two boys every Christmas as they were growing up, so yes Santa is a real person. Some Christmas mornings were leaner than others, but he never failed them. As far as the tooth fairy, she always managed to replace every lost tooth with a shiny new quarter under their pillow, so try to tell them she wasn’t a real person.

  4. I am sorry–this whole sorry mess is right smack in the BFL category. And how about that “tweet” about awww, I would have to give up pizza with my kids, hysterics, sobs… Shameless!

  5. Had not Yang and Filo co-oped the term, it would seem that our government truly is being run by the Yahoos. Whilst the cold reasoning of the Houyhnhnms may not be totally ideal, at least there is reasoning.

    Our representatives dig in the dirt for shiny stone, not unlike Swift’s Yahoos, obsessed with trinkets, and becoming more and more uncouth in their dialogue.

    As Joseph Goebbels once said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

      • I agree…they constantly control the message (with help from the MSM) while the Republicans fumble around and look like idiots.

        I’m very worried about the election…these little PR stunts on these little issues are just warm-up acts for next year. The Republicans are increasingly looking like the gang that can’t shoot straight…versus the finely-tuned PR machine that is Barry and the MSM. I’m very worried.

  6. Again, great investigative journalism, Keith. Oh, the dishonesty in this White House.
    However, I wish you Keith and all the great commenters here, a Merry Christmas, or Happy Holiday. In my country, as in all the northern Lutheran countries around, we celebrate on Christmas Eve, the Holy Night. So tomorrow is the day.

  7. February 17, 2012


    February 17, 2012 has been designated Federal Employee Appreciation Day, a day for Federal Employees to voice their disgust with their government. On February 17, 2012 Federal Employees are encouraged to take the day off to enjoy a four day weekend and send a message to Congress, the White House, and the American people to reflect on the underappreciated work of the Federal employee.

    My name is Mandinka and I approve this message.

    • “So on Tuesday, we asked folks to tell us what would it be like to lose $40 out of your paycheck every week..” Emphasis added.

      No matter which way you spin it, he lied…

  8. If you do earn $50K, most don’t ,your 2% break is just $19 dollars and change, then don’t you have to pay fed and state income tax on it so maybe you net $14 and change. Thats a six pack and package of cigarette, wow