Donald Trump wants to permanently end payroll taxes, which affects Social Security

United States President Donald J. Trump Departure

I won’t pretend that I’ve been hit financially by the pandemic. I have my savings, and I still have my job, which I love. If anything, I’m spending less money because I’m barely going out and I’m not eating in restaurants (I get a lot of takeout from non-chain restaurants though). But I understand my privileged financial position and I can’t believe that the federal government isn’t doing more to support people this year. This is the year where the government just needs to send everyone a $1000 check every month at the bare f–king minimum. Unemployment benefits should be expanded not curtailed. And FFS, do not touch Social Security and Medicare. But instead of all of those common sense economic policies, we’re getting sh-t like this:

President Donald Trump tried to assert executive power by signing four actions on coronavirus relief Saturday, one of which will provide as much as $400 in enhanced unemployment benefits after Democrats and the White House were unable to reach an agreement on a stimulus bill this week. But that memorandum on enhanced unemployment benefits — 25% of which states are being asked to cover — has more strings attached than the White House acknowledged and is seen as a cumbersome effort that may not help a lot of the unemployed.

The other three actions he signed include a memorandum on a payroll tax holiday for Americans earning less than $100,000 a year, an executive order on “assistance to renters and homeowners” and a memorandum on deferring student loan payments.

“I’m taking action to provide an additional or extra $400 a week and expanded benefits, $400. That’s generous but we want to take care of our people,” Trump said about his memorandum on unemployment benefits at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. But it’s more complicated than that. A state must agree to enter into a financial arrangement with the federal government for any unemployed person living there to get any of the additional benefits. And the federal government is requiring states to pick up the tab for 25% (or $100) of the $400 additional benefit each person may able to receive weekly in additional aid.

Up to $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund would be made available for “lost wage assistance” to supplement state payments, according to the memorandum issued by the White House shortly after Trump’s news conference.

[From CNN]

Trump signed these EOs at his Bedminster golf club, because of course he did, and he also promised to make all of these EOs “permanent,” especially the payroll tax “relief.” Payroll taxes pay into Social Security and Medicare, so basically Trump is promising to defund two social programs for seniors. Trump’s people spent the past 24 hours trying to walk that back. Some think that Trump is trying to set a bigly trap for Biden on taxes. I hope Biden is like “Social Security and Medicare need to be protected at all costs, end of.”

I have a question for all of the CPA/tax-preparer gossips out there: 2020 tax filings are going to be crazy, right? I’m already dreading it.

President Trump speaks as he departs the White House

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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43 Responses to “Donald Trump wants to permanently end payroll taxes, which affects Social Security”

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  1. Maida says:

    Gutting what remains of the social safety net has been the GOP dream for a long time. Remember Paul Ryan talking about cuts to those programs back when he was Speaker of the House? Necessitated, of course, by drops in revenue — conveniently caused by the GOP tax breaks for the wealthiest.

    Biden needs to hammer on the fact that Trump is weakening Social Security and Medicare AND still trying to destroy the ACA, despite his bogus executive order on preexisting conditions. If Trump gets another term the rich are going to get richer and everyone else is going to get trampled.

    • STRIPE says:

      Very true – however – since seniors are their main voting block, they are playing with fire here.

      • Eleonora says:

        I feel sorry for those seniors and others affected.

        However, I don’t feel sorry for people who voted for Trump or those who could vote, but didn’t. Also don’t feel sorry for all the “Hillary is just as bad”. She would never have done this.

    • Chica1971 says:

      Cutting payroll taxes can help if you are employed and getting a paycheck not if you are unemployed. It also left it up to employers how to implement and collect once repayment comes due. I give this a hard pass.

      • Mac says:

        Part of payroll tax is paid by the employer. This is an effort to save Trump tens of millions of dollars in taxes at his various properties.

    • Lightpurple says:

      It goes back even more. Reagan wanted to gut these programs and made changes that threw millions of disabled people off SSDI and SSI. Gingrich’s Contract on America, which blamed all our nation’s ills on disabled kids and poor Black women, went after them too.

      Republicans are trying really hard to re-enact the economic landscape and policies of 1928, which brought about the Great Depression in 1929.

      • ChloeCat says:

        You’re totally right about Reagan. He destroyed the middle class & made it possible for a moron like Trump to get elected today. When I hear people wax rhapsodic about Reagan, I remind them about all the horrible things that bastard did. Sorry for my vitriol but my parents suffered greatly under his administration.

      • Jerusha says:

        I despised Reagan as far back as his governor days and always considered him a D-grade actor. I find it curious that the people who bitch about “elitist, liberal celebrities” are the ones who are devout cultists of celebrities, e.g. reagan and trump.

    • Traveler says:

      This is what republicans have been itching to do for years. They have wanted to eliminate any social safety net programs (especially social security and medicare/medicaid) because it forces them to pay taxes that contribute to society. Again, it is their “sucks to be you” philosophy of life and governance. If you were stupid enough just to work hard and live a life respectful of others and find yourself in need, than that should be on you and you alone because you were not smart enough to be born wealthy nor corrupt enough to ensure the acquisition of great wealth at any cost. Yet they rely on us for everything………..childcare, house cleaning, teaching their children, building their communities, picking up their garbage, etc., etc., etc. Jobs that don’t necessarily pay enough to save for a secure retirement and adequate healthcare. Don’t expect these billionaire grifters to give up a vacation, another luxury car, or their dream 100′ yacht to contribute something to the well being of society as a whole (that’s smacks of the blasphemy of socialism!………………..those who die with the most toys win is the real religious doctrine here).
      Many, many people who have worked hard their wholes lives retire with only social security to rely upon, let alone the rest of the vast majority who need it as at least a portion of their retirement budget. Don’t even start on the state of healthcare in this country. Working people having to rely on medicaid or going to the emergency room for routine healthcare or foregoing it entirely because of the out of control expenses for healthcare in this country.
      This is about a deep lack of empathy for the lives of others. Is that who we want leading our nation and setting our policies?

  2. Eenie Googles says:

    He’s not “setting a trap”, he’s too stupid to understand what he’s doing.
    There is a difference.

    • MissMarierose says:

      Exactly. But that shouldn’t stop the Democrats from blanketing the airwaves with ads telling seniors that Trump is trying to kill their Social Security and Medicare. They should be taking full advantage of that stupidity.

  3. Lightpurple says:

    If you do not pay into Social Security or Medicare for a quarter, it affects your eligibility for those programs when you reach eligibility age. Over the long term, it isn’t a problem, but for anyone who just need three or four more quarters for eligibility (very often women fall into this category because of taking time off for child-rearing) so she can retire, this could be a huge problem.

    Also, Covid19 is affecting our elders most severely. They rack up hospital bills well over six figures. Medicare covers most of that cost. Hospitals employ thousands of people. Now is not the time to be reducing the amount of money going into Medicare, unless we want all our frail elders to live in squalor and poverty and we want to destroy our hospitals, putting millions more across the country out of work and making it nearly impossible for anyone to get the medical care we need.

    • MsIam says:

      Remember, this is the party where certain member thought seniors should be “happy to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the economy”. They don’t give a half of a damn about poor elderly people other than when it comes time to vote. They are all about the checkbook.

      • Lightpurple says:

        Maybe they’ll give a damn when the acute care hospitals in their area shut down and they have to pay a $15,000 air ambulance bill to get to the next one when they’re having a heart attack.

  4. Ryan says:

    I wasn’t clear on whether the payroll holiday would also include Medicare and SS deductions? I know they are listed as separate contributions within payroll systems.

    I’m all for the tax holiday and increased unemployment, and the deferral of mortgages and student loans. Honestly on its face these executive orders are things I agree with.

    However a permanent end to deductions of payroll tax and social support systems taxes would be disastrous.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      The “increased” unemployment is lower than what it has been during pandemic AND states must cover 25% before Fed will pay their 75%. Most states are in bad places right now because of lack of revenue. They need help, not additional financial burdens.

      These are bad ideas poorly executed. He just wanted a “win”. Don’t be fooled by the con.

  5. Busyann says:

    I work in taxes…..it’s going to be awful. I always tell people, file as quickly as you can once the tax season opens.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I’ve heard that they are saying that his order says not to pay it now….but you will still owe it eventually, so you will have to make up those payroll taxes next year. Which makes no sense!

      • Busyann says:

        Unless it’s a forgiven cut that you wouldnt have to pay back. This is all very problematic. He wants the short term immediate win to boost his reelection chances. You may get more money in your paycheck, but you may end up not withholding enough and end up owing in the long run. The true negative impact of that wouldn’t start to be known until tax season starts in late January. Sooo what would it matter to him now? He just wants people to feel like they have more money right now.

        Anyway, that’s exactly what happened with his tax changes a few years ago. People got more money up front and came out with massive tax bills when they filed, because they got the money but didn’t change their withholding. Taxes are soooo complicated on a good day, and the average person doesn’t understand. This isnt a good solution.

  6. lucy2 says:

    Stupid + evil is such a bad combination.
    85 days. Let’s end him on November 3.

  7. Leah says:

    He wants to kill off the elderly and disabled by leaving them with no means to pay their rents and for food. I hope the elders who voted for him last time are paying attention because he’s not on anyone’s side but his own and the billionaires.

    • Leslie says:

      I genuinely don’t understand why the Republicans want to kill off a large swath of their voting block.

      • H says:

        The GOP figures better dead then to pay them their measly Social Security benefits. I argued with my father the other day, who is wealthy and retired, about this topic. He wants SS to go away, but when I reminded him he gets a SS check every month and maybe he should sent it back since he doesn’t believe in the system, he got all mad. :) “I PAID into that.”

        Hypocrisy at its whitest.

  8. Jerusha says:

    I paid into SS and Medicare for 43 years. Others may have even more contributions. What happens to that? Or to those currently paying? And when will we be allowed to say here that we hope he dies a miserable, painful death? And soon?

    • Sumodo1 says:

      45 and his tantrums. Why does he hate the very voters he needs? I’m almost 64 (next weekend) and quite aware that he’s a pile of hot, steaming shi*

    • Lightpurple says:

      What happens to that? Wherever Ivanka wants to go on her next personal business trip or vacation happens to it.

      • H says:

        @Lightpurple, Before you started posting about Daughter Dearest, I was meh about Ivanka. Now, I hate almost as much as Daddy Dearest. She is much smarter than her dumba*s brothers, which makes her even more dangerous. The whole grifting family needs to go to jail, except Barron.

  9. Aang says:

    What needs to happen is to invert the income that is taxed for SS and Medicare. Instead of taxing the first $125k give those folks a break and tax income over $125k. That way the lower income families have some more in their pockets through the end of the year but the programs aren’t loosing out. And then after the break keep taxing every dollar earned for SS and MC as a away to shore up the programs and keep them viable.

  10. Ann says:

    I told my dad he’s going to go after Medicare and social security and he brushed it off as if that was crazy talk. And now look. This is one of way too many “I told you so” moments with trump voters. And most of them still don’t see it. Thankfully my dad has come around to Biden so at least it won’t be a repeat with at least one of them but it’s still frustrating as all get out that anyone voted for him in the first place. So many of us knew this was coming!

    • schmootc says:

      It’s cognitive dissonance at its worst.

      • H says:

        Actually, I think its brainwashing. My father only watches FOX News. He has no other “news” source. So, his critical thinking skills are influenced by that. He believes everything Fox says. I’ve tried to get him to watch other channels, he calls them “fake news.” Even tried to get him to read British newspapers, who are more unbiased. Nope. He believes the propaganda. Until that generation dies out, this is what we have, older folks voting against their own self interests.

      • Lena says:

        I believe older voters vote against their self interests BUT for fooling with Medicare and SS. The Democrats need to push this HARD. The disastrous covid response also, since they know it’s their lives on the line. Trump won them last time but I really don’t think he will this time (here’s praying).

  11. AL says:

    That picture selection is everything.

  12. Dazed and confused says:

    The payroll tax “holiday” is a deferment, not an elimination. Instead of taking out a little each check, you will get hit with the entire amount all at once. It will be a huge hardship.

    Not that it matters to this administration, but Congress controls these taxes, not the executive branch. This is just a way for that man to pretend he supports people.

  13. adastraperaspera says:

    Trump only does what he’s told. McConnell stonewalled the Dems and set Trump up to do this. It’s the Leninist approach that Steve Bannon bragged about–which is to bring about “the destruction of the administrative state.” (Which will lead to dictatorship.) They are all traitors.

  14. Mina_Esq says:

    He is truly awful.

  15. Marietta58 says:

    Here’s part of the reason why the rich would love Medicare to go away…

    If a person of Medicare age is rich, and makes over $85,000 (single)/$170,000 (jointly with spouse) than they would have to pay almost $150/month for Part B and D for Medicare. That’s $300 extra a month for Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). So, yeah, if they have to pay that they may want SS to go away. As most rich folks do. I’ve talked to so many who sign up for Medicare not knowing that they’ll have to pay it and they end up leaving the plan because they don’t want to pay, getting privatized insurance instead.

    In other words, most of the rich are pissed because they have to pay more for the same thing that the middle class/poor have to pay way less for. Sad thing is most of the rich make so much but complain about the measily $300 that they have to contribute. Most of them gripe to me, “I don’t want to pay, this is bulls**t!”

    • Swack says:

      I pay close to $150 a month for part B alone and I make well under $100,000 every year. I luckily don’t depend on SocSec because my teacher’s retirement pension is almost what I made while teaching. I get my Medicare through my ex as I did not pay into SocSec as a teacher.

    • Christin says:

      I know someone who made nearly one million per year for several years, and he worked past 65. This multi-millionaire was dumbfounded to discover he would need to pay 160 dollars a month extra for Medicare. He acted as if they were charging him thousands per month!

      The income thresholds are based on taxable income, so the single payer is likely earning six figures to have 85,000 in taxable income. A couple with 170,000 taxable is likely close to a quarter million in annual income. Plus, I think the extra premium amounts start lower than 160 depending on tiers, so it’s not exactly going to send upper income earners into bankruptcy.

  16. Veronica says:

    Oh yeah, that’s what a country in a multi-trillion dollar joke needs – fewer taxes paying into the system. The disaster waiting to happen because of this in not even thirty years is staggering to me. Our infrastructure and pitiful safety nets are just waiting to collapse at this point, all so a limited few can hoard wealth they couldn’t spend in a lifetime if they tried.