Payroll tax deadline
Three things happen if Congress fails to break its current impasse by the end of December:
Your next paycheck
will be smaller
About 160 million Americans would see their payroll tax grow from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent of their wages on Jan. 1. That's nearly a $20 increase per week for a person making $50,000 a year.
The federal program provides jobless benefits after state benefits run out. Some unemployed people would lose benefits immediately -- 10,000 before the second week of January, according to the Department of Labor -- and that number would grow to 1.8 million by mid-February.
to doctors may drop
Reimbursement rates paid to doctors who treat 48 million Medicare patients would drop by 27 percent. Doctors would likely be told to avoid filing Medicare claims for a week or two to see if Congress solves the issue in January. But that would be a very short-term workaround.
SOURCE: Staff reports. GRAPHIC: Bonnie Berkowitz and Laura Stanton - The Washington Post. Published Dec. 21, 2011
Highlights of legislation renewing payroll tax cuts, jobless benefits approved by the House and Senate.
There are a lot of numbers being thrown around in the debate over who pays what in taxes. These graphics explore those numbers.