Cost to metro Savannah workers in 2012 if payroll tax cut expires: $114,700,000

Thanks to the PBS Newshour’s Patchwork Nation series for providing an interactive graphic that gives a breakdown of the estimated cost to the workers of every county in America if Congress does not extend the payroll tax cut that was first implemented a year ago.

The post and graphic can be found here.

A 2% increase in the payroll tax would cost $83.6 million to Chatham County workers, $18.8 million to Effingham County workers, and $12.3 million to Bryan County workers. That means that the Savannah metro area would get a $114.7 million tax increase for 2012.

Some argue that the payroll tax is a kind of gimmick, but it’s clear that the boost in the spending power of workers has been a key factor keeping the country’s fragile recovery alive. And removing that stimulative tax cut could have horrible effects.

Yes, we have long-term problems regarding entitlement spending. The Social Security system is right now paying out more money than it is taking in, but that’s hardly a problem compared to Medicare. Still, the shock of a tax increase on workers would be terrible right now. I’m heartened that there seems to be bipartisan support for an extension, but it’s disturbing that the major parties seem so far apart on how to pay for it.

The policy might be a serious one, but there’s definitely some political gimmickry on the White House website, which includes the following embed: