White House asks what $40 dollars means to you

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Story highlights

  • White House asks public what $40 a paycheck means
  • Responses pour in to White House Twitter and Facebook accounts
  • The payroll tax cut is worth roughly $1,000 a year -- or $40 a paycheck -- for an average family
  • It affects roughly 160 million Americans, the White House says

What does $40 per paycheck mean for you and your family?

That's what the White House is asking Americans as part of a public campaign to put pressure on the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to pass a payroll tax cut extension.

The payroll tax cut is worth roughly $1,000 a year -- or $40 a paycheck -- for an average family. It affects about 160 million Americans.

Responses, which ranged from the serious to the inane, began pouring in Tuesday after the White House posted the question on its Twitter and Facebook accounts:

"It would be easier to make my student loan payments," tweeted Matthew Nocella.

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David Paul Hluchy posted on Facebook that $40 means "40 Hot Wheels mainline cars."

iReport: What could you do with $40?

    The price of a tank of gas, grocery bills and prescription costs, though, appeared to be the most popular topics on the White House social media sites.

    "#40dollars is a tank of gas to get me to and from work for the week. That means two less tanks of gas a month," tweeted Jim Schmidt.

    Barb B tweeted: "It means getting a new winter jacket for my toddler son (he lost his last week) & the rest for groceries." tweeted Barb B

    Gloria Attar took it one step further, breaking it down in a tweet how she can spend the money: "#40dollars is school lunches for 1 mo or water bill for 2 mos; or meat budget for 1mo w/coupons, loyalty card & store specials."

    Leslie T tweeted that $40 was two months worth of bowling outings with her autistic son.

    The payroll tax cut debate on the White House Facebook page, though, resembled the congressional logjam with people throwing barbs at Republicans and Democrats as well as at one another.

    "If I have $1,000 less, I'll spend $1,000 less. Is Congress prepared to do the same to extend the tax cuts?" Tara Eudy asked in her post.

    Republican and Democrats in the House and Senate have taken to the airwaves over the issue, with Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona saying the tax cut must be extended to help out Americans still struggling in the economic recovery.

    It was a response echoed, albeit a bit differently, by Karen Tanner who posted a two word answer on the White House Facebook page:

    "What paycheck?"