Yesterday, President Obama called on Americans to speak out in favor of keeping taxes low on the middle class. Some took their voices to Twitter and Facebook, and tens of thousands of people wrote in to tell the White House what $2,000 means to their families.
These stories are moving and powerful, and we're going to start sharing some of the best of them -- because real people have to be part of this debate.
Here's what Americans from all over the country told us that $2,000 meant to them:
Crystal, Alabama -- That money would be two house payments. Or three car payments. It would pay for my medication for a year.
Bryan, Michigan -- I'm a small market farmer in northern Michigan. $2000 in additional taxes would mean that we may not be able to buy the two greenhouses that we need to extend our short growing season.
Colby, Mississippi -- $2,000 would allow me to pay off the student loan debt I have incurred to go to college. I am a first generation college graduate currently pursuing a Masters of Taxation degree.
Ruby, Illinois -- With 2 young adults in college, $2,000 is not small change but the difference in having money to pay the mortgage, college tuition, books. Middle class families cannot be held hostage by partisan politics, obstruction in Washington.
Cise, Washington -- A whole year's worth of diapers for my daughter and my gas to commute to work. That is what $2,000 means to me & my family.
Jaime, Arkansas -- $2000 means a hot school lunch to my kids. It means propane in our tank for the whole winter season. It means badly needed dental work for my husband. It means insurance for our vehicles. It means payments on my student loans.
Sheri, Arizona -- $2,000 to me is the January mortgage payment, February mortgage payment, March car payment.
Anne, Pennsylvania -- Groceries on my table for four months. Heating my home for a year. Two mortgage payments.