The tax compromise passed in December has been hailed everywhere as a payroll tax cut combined with an extension of the Bush tax cuts, despite the fact that it raised taxes on a third of Americans. The killing of Obama's Making Work Pay tax credit, which the White House called the biggest middle-income tax cut ever, and the replacement of it with the Republicans' payroll tax cut raised taxes on single workers whose wages come to $20,000 or less and married couples with less than $40,000 in wages.
That's 51 million taxpayers, the Tax Policy Center estimated. (See Table T10-277.)
Among the poorest fifth of tax units, whose annual cash income is less than $17,878, two-thirds got hit with a tax increase. On average, their taxes went up $134, which is 1.3 percent of this group's total cash income.
Consider a single worker who makes $6,000. That was the average wage of the bottom third of workers in 2009, the Medicare tax database shows. Killing the Making Work Pay credit in favor of the payroll tax cut amounted to a tax increase of $252, or 4 percent of total income.
the top tenth of 1 percent (more than $2 million) ... got a tax cut worth on average $45,000 each, all financed with borrowed money.