The GOP’s Payroll-tax Debacle

Now that Congress appears finally to have reached a compromise on what must be one of the worst pieces of legislation in years — the temporary payroll-tax-holiday extension — let’s survey the damage.

To begin with, what even minimally rational government enacts payroll-tax relief for just two months? As a matter of practicality alone, it makes no sense. The National Payroll Reporting Consortium, representing those who process paychecks, said of the two-month extension passed by the Senate just days before the new year: “There is insufficient lead time to accommodate the proposal,” because “many payroll systems are not likely to be able to make such a substantial programming change before January or even February,” thereby “creat[ing] substantial problems, confusion and costs.”

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