Here, the percentage that individuals must pay in their taxes that support Social Security was maintained at 4.2% through the end of February 2012, after which, the rate is set to rise back up to the 6.2% level it had been for the two decades from 1990 through 2010.
With President Obama's State of the Union address seeking to extend the payroll tax cut through the end of the year, which will have to be supported by increased deficit spending in order to pay out benefits to today's Social Security recipients, which will increase the national debt as the program is set to continue running more deeply in the red.
Given the political damage from the collapse of the Republican's political strategy in December 2011, it seems unlikely that the party's senior leaders will seek to oppose the President's payroll tax cut again. They might be able to get some traction by letting the payroll tax cut expire by cutting federal income (and withholding tax) rates, however that would depend upon the President and Senate Democrats to go along, which seems even more unlikely given their late-year political victory.
If that outcome is not really possible then, perhaps the best strategy that congressional Republicans might follow would be to allow the President and Senate Democrats to have another small victory, but one that would cost them dearly in the November 2012 elections.
It's often said that "people vote their pocketbooks", meaning that economic conditions have a lot to do with the choices people make at the ballot box. For example, if conditions are stable, good, or improving, then it would be more likely that incumbent politicians, such as the President and many Senate Democrats, will hold onto the offices that they hold so dear.
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