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White House: What Does $40 Mean to You?

By Doug Powers  •  December 22, 2011 12:42 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

The White House, seeking to lean on Republicans to pass a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, is soliciting stories:


Replies are being sent in:

The White House says it’s been flooded with responses to the question it posed Wednesday: “What does $40 mean to you?”

One day after the White House asked “working” people to “tell us what your family will give up if your (payroll) taxes increase,” the stories are rolling in, including one from a person who worried about not having enough to pay the cable bill — or continue family pizza nights.

“Our cable internet bill is $49 per month. If we lose this payroll tax cut then we will have to give up either (our) internet access or possibly our ‘Friday Family Pizza’ night. Either way, we will lose something that brings us together as a family,” wrote “K.Z” from Frederick, Maryland.

Another person wrote that $40 will “buy lunch from the cafeteria for almost a whole month for my twins.”

Add “treats for my dog” to that list.

I asked the same “What does $40 mean to you” question, except the other way around. The answer from the White House appears to be: “Not much.”

–Forty dollars could have been given to almost 14 million taxpayers for what went up in carbon neutral smoke on Solyndra.

–Forty dollar checks could have been sent dozens of times over to everybody in America for what was spent on the stimulus. That’s a lot of “Friday Family Pizza Nights” that could have been “saved or created.” (corrected the number due to an original mis-placed decimal point — h/t reader Tom M.)

–Forty dollars is the “investment” of 6,250 taxpayers in each Chevy Volt.

–It took some 2,500 taxpayers unwittingly shelling out $40 each just to pay for the First Lady’s separate flight to Hawaii.

Nobody in government — particularly this administration — should be asking taxpayers what difference $40 makes in their lives. Taxpayers should be asking the administration and Congress what $40 means to them:


The payroll tax issue will be settled, but the much larger, longer term problem isn’t budging.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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