December 15, 2011 12:11:00 PM
By LAURIE KELLMAN
WASHINGTON -- Most Americans want Congress to vote to continue the payroll tax reduction, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll that comes as Democrats and Republicans wrestle over whether to extend the cut through 2012.
It's the latest instance in which lawmakers on Capitol Hill have allowed partisan sniping to hold up a measure to put in place a policy that most Americans support, like ending the Bush tax cuts, cap and trade, and a surcharge on millionaires.
The dragged-out debate over whether to extend an expiring payroll tax reduction is one of many developments that have kept voters furious with their leaders all year. On the brink of the 2012 presidential and congressional elections, virtually all Americans are disappointed and frustrated with the political scene and nearly 6 in 10 say they are angry, the AP-GfK survey showed.
"It seems like there are parties that only want to get their agenda done," said liquor store owner James Jacobsen, 47, of East Hartford, Conn. "They're catering to special interests and not Americans. They are not representing the individual American."
Nearly 6 in 10 respondents say they want Congress to pass the extension, according to the poll. Letting the payroll tax break expire would cost a family making $50,000 about $1,000.
Yet, Republicans and Democrats are rejecting each other's proposals and trying to make law from what's left, a tactic they've used all year on debates over the budget and the nation's debt. The stalemates have caused a decline in confidence so severe that 15 percent of all adults and 32 percent of political independents say they don't trust either party to manage the federal budget deficit.
Retired postal worker Larry Collier wishes Congress would get on with what help it can give -- an assurance to 160 million American workers that their payroll tax cut will be extended through 2012.
What really galls him is the inequality: The same Congress hesitating to keep taxes low for working Americans also is hesitating to raise them on the wealthy. Congress this year ignored President Barack Obama's proposal to let expire tax cuts on the richest Americans and impose additional taxes on those who make more than $1 million, though polls showed most people supported those policies.
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