President Donald Trump made it clear Tuesday that he doesn’t support the idea of additional coronavirus relief payments to taxpayers to supplement the $1,200 Americans are receiving from the federal government. Instead, he again mentioned a payroll tax cut, which would seriously cripple both Social Security and Medicare, Common Dreams reports:
“Well, I like the idea of payroll tax cuts. I’ve liked that from the beginning. That was a thing that I really would love to see happen. A lot of economists would agree with me. A lot of people agree with me. And I think frankly it’s simple, it’s not the big distribution, and it would really be an incentive for people to come back to work and for employers to hire.”
Trump says he wants blue states to give him “sanctuary-city adjustments” in exchange for federal financial relief pic.twitter.com/wY2edZifPQ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 28, 2020
This isn’t the first time Trump has spoken in favor of a permanent cut in the payroll tax, which most economists say would be wholly ineffective at a time when so many people are out of work:
“Economists don’t actually agree with him,” said Justin Wolfers, economics professor at the University of Michigan. “Payroll tax cuts are too slow and poorly targeted.”
So why does Trump keep returning to the payroll tax cut mantra? Probably because it has long been a tenet of conservatives who dream of slashing entitlement spending (i.e. Social Security and Medicare) to offset the cost of the massive tax cuts given to the richest Americans in the first year of Trump’s presidency.
Advocacy group Social Security Works noted that Trump’s ulterior motive couldn’t be clearer:
“Unlike additional stimulus checks, cutting payroll taxes does nothing to help seniors or the millions of people who just lost their jobs. It does, however, defund Social Security and Medicare—which is why Trump is obsessed with the idea.”
The payroll tax cut idea was immediately slammed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who commented:
“Pathetic. A payroll tax cut does nothing for the 26 million who lost their jobs. With rent due on May 1, we need to provide $2,000 a month to everyone until this crisis is over. If we can bail out corporations, we can make sure everyone has enough to pay for basic necessities.”
If Trump and the GOP manage to win in November, they will indeed go after Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. They’re already making their intentions known. All that stands between them and their devious plans is us, the voters.
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