When Government Works: How President Obama Protected Take Home Pay in 2011

As the economy continued its upward but sluggish, tough climb, census data released this past week shows that thanks to George Bush's Great Recession and the Congressional Republican obstructionism, the median income of American households declined by $777 (inflation adjusted) from $50,831 in 2010 to $50,052 last year. That's a 1.5% decline.

Boy, it'd sure be nice if there were something to cushion that blow before incomes started going back up again at the end of last year and continued throughout this year. Wait, wait, wait. There was. The $777 decline for the average household was more than made up for by... wait for it, wait for it... the payroll tax cut the President got in the much maligned tax cut and unemployment benefits deal back in December 2010 and then extended last year. The typical family making about $50,000 got $1,000 in payroll tax reductions last year, more than making up for the reduced before-tax income.

As I mentioned before, incomes have slowly started to rise again, in real terms. In the past 12 months, median income has grown by almost $1200. But in the greatest of economic downturns since the Great Depression, one thing individuals and families needed - and needed badly - was a little extra cushion to carry them over to better times. That's what President Obama provided by the payroll tax cut. Thank you, Mr. President!


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