'Waa, No Pizza Night': Sad Stories Roll In at Request of Obama White House

Susan Jones | December 22, 2011 | 6:11am EST
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The White House at sun-up on the Obama presidency, Jan. 21, 2009. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - 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."

Someone else who "can barely get by now" said taking $40 out of his paycheck "would just about put me under."

A person from New Mexico said "$40 less a paycheck means I will have to pick between my insulin and the water bill. It means never being able to see my doctor -- even though I have insurance."

Many of the responders said they need the money to pay for medicine, medical bills, a tank of gas, or groceries.

The White House said it received over 18,000 submissions through a form on Whitehouse.gov, averaging over 1,000 an hour and coming in from every state in the nation. It also is accepting Twitter submissions.

An extension of the payroll tax cut will save a "typical" family earning $50,000 around $40 a paycheck, the White House says. It also will reduce the only dedicated funding source for Social Security benefits, but only a few people  in Washington are talking about that.

'Raid on Social Security'

President Obama and his fellow Democrats are blaming House Republicans for the current stalemate over extending the payroll tax cut. The House bill calls for a year-long extension; but the Senate passed a bill extending it for two months. Unless the two bills are reconciled by the end of the year, the payroll tax will go up.

Some conservative Republicans say the payroll tax cut extension is a bad idea, period, because it siphons money from the Social Security Trust Fund.

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) is among the conservatives who voted against extending the payroll tax cut. "While I support comprehensive tax reform, I do not support the flawed legislation presently before us," Wolf said on Dec. 13.

"The issue today, as defined by both political parties and the president, is whether or not a temporary – and costly – one-year payroll tax “holiday” should expire at the end of the month.  The real issue is whether it is responsible for Washington to further shortchange the Social Security Trust Fund at a time when it is already on an unsustainable path."

Wolf called the payroll tax extension a "raid on Social Security, which is already going broke," and he noted that the money paid into the system now -- through payroll taxes -- pays benefits for existing retirees.

"Granting another tax holiday is unwise. It puts the existing benefits of those 55 million Americans who currently receive Social Security at risk to continue a failed 'stimulus' policy," Wolf said.

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