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$40 Could Be the Difference Between Eating and Not Eating

Three Americans from across the country explain what losing $40 from each paycheck would mean for their family

At the end of this month, a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut will expire. If Congress doesn't act, taxes will go up on 160 million hardworking Americans.

For a family making about $50,000 a year, the payroll tax cut amounts to about $1,000 a year, or about $40 in every paycheck. When the payroll tax cut was initially set to expire last December, we asked Americans to tell us what that $40 meant to them and their family. People all over the country responded, using email, Twitter, and Facebook, to tell us that $40 makes all the difference in the world for a family trying to stretch their already tight budget a little bit further.

These are some of their stories:

$40 Dollar Stories: Reuben
Let me put this into perspective, when I get through paying my bills monthly I am left with approximately 160 dollars to provide for my 8 year old son and myself, 40 dollars could be the difference between eating and not ."   --- Ruben from California



"My granddaughter has Down Syndrome and needs to see the doctor quite often. My daughter is a single mom with 2 kids. She recently graduated from college. Now she has a $52,000 student loan. She has been with her current employer for 15 years but still only makes $56,000 a year. $40 a paycheck is the difference in paying her medical co-pays or putting them on her credit card and letting her debt spiral out of control. As it is, there is little or no money left after paying bills for food or gas. It is getting more and more difficult.  She is so borderline...I sometimes think she would be better off going on welfare and Medicaid for my granddaughter...But that is NOT the way our family does things. We work and work hard. Help us out....PLEASE!."   --- Rita from New Mexico



"The $40 per paycheck to me means gas for my car, stamps to mail bill payments, (one) prescription refill out of six, money to help my adult children with their families when their paychecks won't stretch to cover their monthly costs, food, etc." -- Christy from Indiana



Thanks to the voices of Ruben, Rita, Christy, and thousands of others, Congress did the right thing and renewed the payroll tax cut for two more months. But that extension will expire at the end of February unless lawmakers stop this tax hike on the middle class. Your voices are needed again. Tell us what $40 means to you. What will you and your family have to give up if Congress doesn't act?