I'm not sure that's an example of stellar leadership, but it is something specific that can be examined. I do think you're leaving out half the picture though. The problem, as the article mentions, is that while the withholding rate was slightly reduced, health-care related deductions rose due to the health care overall, which Obama also pushed for. So, the end result was that each canceled each other out, and in many cases, health care deductions were increased more than the offset, so it appeared that taxes were raised. If someone gets $65 less per month taken out on line 1 because of a tax reduction, but gets $80 more taken out per month on line 2 due to a withholding increase, the end result is that their taxes just increased by $15. The categories themselves don't matter, it's the total figure that does. And, while it's not the fed's doing, taxpayers in 60% of the states saw their rates rise at that level. Here's the link: NYT HERE So, I think a strong case could be made that such is poor leadership, or at the very least politics as usual, because while the withholding rate was reduced, it was used as a mask for an increase in taxes elsewhere. Or maybe it was a shrewd maneuver, because without the withholding reduction, there would have probably been a tax revolt.