Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this letter asserted incorrectly that the recent “fiscal cliff” legislation would increase income taxes on individuals making more than $400,000 and couples earning more than $450,000 by a total of $25 billion. The $25 billion figure relates to taxes on incomes above $250,000 for individuals and $300,000 for couples. This version has been corrected.

January 6, 2013

In assessing the economic impact of the New Year’s Eve tax deal, both the White House and columnist Ruth Marcus [“The no-big-deal deal,” op-ed, Jan. 3] omitted the deal’s increase in Social Security taxes. The White House’s Jan. 1 Fact Sheet declared that the tax deal is “A Victory for Middle-Class Families and the Economy . . . The final agreement prevents taxes from rising on the middle class.” Ms. Marcus made a similar claim, saying that the agreement avoided inflicting “immediate pain . . . . The middle class — indeed nearly all Americans — will not see income taxes rise.”

But both she and the White House ignore the 2-percentage-point increase in the Social Security tax (on annual wages up to about $110,000) that will be paid by working Americans. The increase will yield about $125 billion this year, dwarfing the roughly $25 billion in additional income taxes that the Office of Management and Budget estimates the wealthiest 2 percent (individuals earning more than $250,00 a year and married couples earning more than $300,000 a year) will pay in 2013.

Is this 5-to-1 ratio what the president and the bipartisan majorities in Congress mean by “shared sacrifice” to solve the government’s debt problem?

Benjamin Cohen, Bethesda

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