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U.S. consumers less optimistic after tax increase

6:46 PM, Jan. 29, 2013  |  Comments
In this Thursday, Jan. 20, 2013, photo, a woman shops at a Nordstrom store in Chicago. U.S. consumer confidence plunged in January to its lowest level in more than a year, reflecting higher Social Security taxes that left Americans with less take-home pay. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
In this Thursday, Jan. 20, 2013, photo, a woman shops at a Nordstrom store in Chicago. U.S. consumer confidence plunged in January to its lowest level in more than a year, reflecting higher Social Security taxes that left Americans with less take-home pay. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
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An increase in Social Security taxes is leaving Americans with less take-home pay - and a more negative outlook for the U.S. economy.

The Conference Board said Tuesday that its index of consumer confidence plunged 8.1 points in January from December to 58.6. That's the lowest reading in 14 months and the third straight decline.

Congress and the White House reached a deal in January to keep income taxes from rising on most Americans. But the agreement did not extend a temporary cut in the Social Security taxes.

The tax increase will leave a household earning $50,000 a year with about $1,000 less to spend in 2013. A household with two high-paid workers will have up to $4,500 less.

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