A look at how the new fiscal plan affects people

Posted at: 01/02/2013 5:56 PM
Updated at: 01/02/2013 6:28 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The deal that saved the country from going over the cliff has a price tag, and everyone who works will be paying for it.

If you make $50,000 a year, congratulations. Your Social Security withholding taxes just went up by $1,000 a year. That's $1,000 you won't be spending on a new refrigerator and lots of other stuff, too.

Gas? $1,000 will fill a small car's tank about 24 times. But it's hard to cut that expense if you're in business for yourself, like massage therapist Deja Romine.

"People can't afford massages, or they're trying to save every penny they can," said Romine while filling her tank at the Chevron station at Montgomery and I-25. "That's where I'm at too, because the economy is so slow and we're all trying to save and watch where our money goes."

$1,000 will buy a lot of groceries for a family - a month's worth? Six weeks? By my own calculations, $1,000 will buy about 45 cases of Rolling Rock beer. Or not, which my wife will be happy to hear.

$1,000 will buy you lots of TV nowadays, as in those fancy flat screen high tech type things you see at Baillio's and other electronics stores in Albuquerque. Maybe you were thinking of a new one just in time for a Super Bowl party - then again maybe not.

"I have to cough up $850 a month to pay insurance," said unemployed plumber Larry Gunther, who was looking for something a little cheaper - say $100 bucks - at Baillio's on Wednesday. "That $850 comes off of the unemployment money, so if a person doesn't have a little nest egg, they're really not getting by."

How about child care? In Albuquerque $1,000 will get you a month or even two, depending on what kind and where. Families are wrestling with this kind of thing, thanks to that bump in Social Security taxes.

"It's not a good idea," said business consultant Pamela Carpinello. "We've got a bright future for 2013, but if we're paying higher taxes it's not going to mean anything."

In fact it could have been worse. If we had gone over the fiscal cliff, that $50,000 a year family could be looking at $3,500 in tax increases. A mere $1,000 seems merciful, I guess.