It's tempting to make jokes about Congress these days, but why bother? Congress is doing a great job of making a joke of itself on its own.

The latest example is the spat over the payroll tax cut extension. It would easy to gripe about how silly the whole sorry affair was, but the fact is that, as usual, our politicians' arguments have left the rest of us with real issues to tackle.

So here's the deal:

  • The IRS says nearly 160 million people will benefit from the extension, which includes a “recapture” provision that imposes a 2 percent income tax on certain high-wage workers. Accounting Today takes a closer look at that provision.
  • CNNMoney offers an extensive summary of what the extension means for American workers.
  • Politicians will revisit the issue in February in an effort to extend the cuts through the end of 2012, and as CNNMoney says, “(t)here's little reason to believe the negotiations will be any easier than they were in recent weeks.”
  • Just for fun, “TaxGirl” Kelly Phillips Erb takes a look at what you can buy with your tax cut. On the list: 84 loaves of bread, 49 gallons of milk, 11 pizzas, and 79 cups of Starbucks coffee.

What are you going to do with your cut?

Me? Between stuff like this and the upcoming presidential election, I might just put a down-payment on a sensory deprivation chamber. 

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