Americans might feel like they were the ones thrown off the cliff after learning about the business tax breaks included in a New Year's deal to limit income tax increases and temporarily delay spending cuts.
For all of the talk from politicians about protecting the middle class, special interests with deep pockets and powerful lobbyists got the best of the last-minute deal.
While working Americans will see less in their take-home pay thanks to Congress' and the president's decision to allow a payroll tax reduction to expire, NASCAR track owners, rum makers, creators of movies and television shows and more all saw their tax breaks extended.
Some of these tax breaks are worth tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of dollars, which shows the clout that lobbyists have in Washington and how the average taxpayer gets ignored.
Our elected officials decided that workers could resume paying their full 6.2 percent share of the payroll tax that funds Social Security. The tax had been lowered to 4.2 percent two years ago to spur economic growth. The reduction meant someone earning $50,000 a year received $20 more a week.
But while you keep less of what you make, those involved in making movies and TV shows will be able to write off $430 million during the next two years thanks to tax breaks that were part of the fiscal cliff deal. And businesses in Puerto Rico are in line to get $358 million over the same period, Time magazine reports.
Others benefiting include rum distillers, which are poised to get $222 million, and railroads which will get a tax credit for maintaining tracks to the tune of $331 million, both over the next two years. Business property on Indian reservations will see a $660 million tax break during the next three years, while motorsports racing facilities will save $100 million in taxes over seven years. Makers of electric vehicles will save $7 million over the next three years. And that's not the end of the list, Time magazine reports.
Combined, the business tax breaks total $64 billion, Reuters reports.
After seeing what average Americans got and what businesses got, maybe it's time for the public to form a political action committee and hire lobbyists to make sure we're not forgotten in Washington.