Stalled in Congress is a bill which extends the payroll tax cut for two months, thanks to the intransigence of a handful of House GOP freshmen. If the measure is not passed by the end of the year, 160 million of us will see our paychecks cut by an average of $40. Those among us who access Medicare and unemployment benefits will also suffer greatly.
Among the millions who will have less money to survive on are Latinos and other immigrants who are here legally or are naturalized citizens. Many will be voting come November and rest assured, they will have immigration and bread and butter issues on their minds.
Latinos are the poorest according to the Census’ Supplemental Poverty Measure. Over six million Latino children, more than any other group, are living in poverty. The net worth of Latino families shrank the most during the Great Recession. The payroll tax cut, which may seem paltry to wealthy lawmakers, makes a huge difference to struggling families.
Rational conservatives are lambasting their mulish comrades. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board warnsthat if this impasse is not breached, Republicans might as well gird themselves for a second Obama term. Even some GOP senators who fear losing their seats next November have spoken out against their counterparts in the lower chamber.
If they’d like a chance of winning any Latino votes in 2012, House Republicans should heed these warnings.
More than 6.6 million Latinos – about seven percent of all voters – voted in last year’s midterm elections. Many more are expected to turn out for next year’s presidential and general elections. Who do you think they will vote for?
Feet in Two Worlds is supported by the New York Community Trust and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with additional support from the Mertz Gilmore Foundation and the Sirus Fund. Feet in Two Worlds podcasts are supported in part by WNYC, New York Public Radio.