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$40 Less Would Be a Colder House

Thousands of American families wrote to tell President Obama what losing $40 per paycheck would mean for their economic security

On Tuesday, President Obama asked Americans to tell him what losing $40 per paycheck would mean to them. Of the thousands that responded, we heard from many families, who sent us photos, tweets, and emails that illustrate just how important decisions made in Washington are to regular people across the country. They told us losing that income would make it more difficult to pay for college, to pay for childcare and even to pay for basic necessities like milk and medication.

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.  It may not seem like a lot of money to some people, but for single moms who wrote to us today, that money can make a big difference. Here are some of their stories:

 $40 to me is the threshold each week as I am a laid-off new father working part-time as a teacher. $40 less would have prevented me from replacing worn out tires for the ice & snow of winter...$40 less would prevent healthier options for feeding my son... $40 less would be a colder house & a baby bundled against the cold...$40 is very real -- Stefan from Massachusetts



Forty dollars a paycheck means everything to my family. It would mean that we could afford to continue to give our twins the basic necessities like food and milk.  We buy 3 gallons of milk a week for them. Not to mention daycare costs -- Jocelyn from Maryland




The $40 a paycheck that my husband and I would lose (I guess that means we would be losing $80 between the two of us) would make the difference in childcare for us.  It is becoming harder and harder for a middle class family to even afford children!  Costs continue to rise, putting a strain on our family budget.  Please don't tax us further  -- Ginny from Kentucky



I am a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, while my twin brother is at the University of Illinois at Chicago. With both of us starting college at the same time, every dollar we make, and every dollar (outside the cost of living) our parents make goes towards paying our tuition. We already have to take out loans for our 2nd semester. That $40 paycheck means a college education- and all that goes into it. This includes books, supplies, living, food, etc.  -- Jennifer from Illinois


 Losing $40 a paycheck would mean we wouldn't be able to afford my husband's blood pressure medicine.  It's very important that he has this medicine because without it, his blood pressure runs so high, it is at stroke level.  Please don't take away our $40.  Keeping my husband healthy and to be able to grow old with him is so important to me. -- Penny from Texas




I'm 29 years old and a couple of years ago I had a transplant and because of it I can only work part-time.  So forty dollars a paycheck means my family and I have to sacrifice more than we currently already are today. Eighty dollars a month means no new clothes for my children who are seven, three, and two. I just want to finish earning my degree and provide for my family without congress taking even more from a family like mine. -- Richard from California

Tell us what $40 means to your family

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