Former White House economic adviser Larry Summers warned on Oct. 11 against letting the payroll tax cut expire at the end of the year, a view at odds with many Democrats on Capitol Hill and within the Obama administration.
"This is not the right moment to repeal the payroll tax cut," said Summers. "It is $120 billion that enables strapped families to spend money on what they need."
The White House and congressional leaders have all signaled a lack of interest in extending the cut, enacted in 2010 as a one-year measure and extended for another year at the end of 2011.
Meanwhile, gas tax talk is heating up in congressional races throughout the U.S., even as the presidential candidates stay away from examining the rate, which has remained the same for nearly 20 years despite increases in construction costs.
In Iowa, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Democrat Leonard Boswell (Iowa) laid it out pretty simply; "We're going to have to raise the gas tax. I think we must do that." His opponent, Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development appropriations committee Chairman Tom Latham (R) has taken the more popular tack that no taxes should go up in the current economic climate.