The year of 2013 has already brought in significant changes.
It began with our football team delivering a crushing defeat in the BBVA Compass Bowl (Hotty Toddy!). Our basketball team is current ranked 1st in the SEC and is 4-0 in SEC play for the first time since 1937 or so. And to top all of that off, Coach Hugh Freeze and his staff have been on a recruiting tear securing commitments from the likes of LaQuon Treadwell, Elijah Daniel, Kailo Moore, and Lavon Hooks just to name a few. These are all changes we thoroughly embrace and enjoy.
However, the new year also brought in an expiration of a previous tax provision that previously decreased employee’s share of the Social Security payroll taxes.
The tax provision that lowered the percentage of Social Security payroll taxes from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent was enacted in December of 2010 and remained that way until December 2012. So, when the first checks of 2013 came in, they were noticeably lighter than the last one of 2012. And to say the least, people were outraged.
Culprit number one, of course, was President Obama. Soon after the first checks of 2013 were received, my Facebook newsfeed became a hotbed for asinine comments aimed at the President. I even saw an eCard that said something along the lines of “at least they (the government, I assume) can at least send me a picture of the ghetto family I’m supporting with my taxes.”
One girl stated that she had had it with Obama taking her taxes and giving them to people to buy cell phones. She probably drew this hasty conclusion from a misleading Tea Party ad which shows an African American woman saying, “Keep Obama in president…he gave us a phone.” However, according to a New York Times editorial, President Obama is not passing out phones, but rather the phones are the product of a governmental program that provides low-income people with free or cheap phones. A governmental program started under President George W. Bush. An online ABC news article stated, “[T]he idea for subsidized phone service…originated under the Ronald Reagan administration after the break of AT&T. The program is paid for by the telecommunications companies through the nonprofit Universal Service Administrative Company, not through taxpayer revenue.”
I understand that President Obama is an imperfect President and some of his initiatives have failed. For those failures, the criticism he receives is warranted and just. However, it is vital that people are knowledgeable about the general claims they make.
An article in Forbes referenced comedian Chris Rock’s standup act that provided an analogy to depict the feelings of some Americans in regards to payroll tax reduction expiring. Chris Rock said, “You go to a restaurant, you’re accustomed to eating. When you leave, you’re not eating anymore. They don’t owe you a steak.” To some aspect, the same principle applies to the expiration of the payroll tax reduction.
I do not remember any post from people praising the Obama administration for proposing the reduction, which put more money into their pockets. How quickly we forget. If some wish to assess blame to all of the problems to one man, that’s their right. However, I just ask that all of those who want to be political activists on Facebook to take the time to get a basic understanding of the complexities of Congress and the nature of the extreme polarization of our two major parties.
I know that President Obama isn’t going to always get it right, I just wish some would realize it’s not always Obama’s fault.
Tim Abram is a junior public policy major from Horn Lake. Follow him on Twitter @Tim_Abram.