Timing of Social Security change is unfortunate
Yumans may have been surprised to see their first paychecks of 2013 were a little smaller than expected, thanks to an increase in Social Security withholdings.
Social Security taxes are now 6.2 percent of one's salary, as opposed to the previous 4.2 percent.
The change came about as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations at the end of the year. Congress allowed the previous Social Security break to expire.
According to the Associated Press, the change will leave Americans with about $18-$20 less in their pockets each week, or $900 to $1,000 less per year.
To some, that might not sound like a big hit, but, in a county that is usually near or at the top of the “nation's highest unemployment” list, that's a blow that could rock a household.
The nation as a whole still seems precariously balanced on the precipice of the recession, with signs of recovery emerging tentatively, like spring flowers after a long, cold winter.
In Yuma, which was behind the curve in feeling the initial impact of the recession, the recovery period has also taken longer, although signs are starting to be seen here, such as the sale of Southgate Mall, and new buildings and renovations springing up at the auto dealerships along 32nd Street.
But when people have a cut to their paychecks, they stop spending money in the marketplace. For many, it will mean less eating out at restaurants, fewer miles spent driving in the car to save on gas, and holding off on purchases such as furniture or household goods. A couch may be in bad shape, but when money's tight, a homeowner will find a way to make it last a little longer.
All of this is detrimental to business owners. For them to see recovery, people need to spend money in their stores. But when there's less money, there's less shopping. It becomes a vicious circle where no one wins – except the Social Security fund, which experts have been saying is in terrible danger of collapse for some time.
The timing of the Social Security change is unfortunate, both for workers and businesses.