Fact Check: Trump Payroll Tax Cut Is Social Security Risk
Baltimore President Donald Trumps proposed payroll tax cut is a threat to Social Security no matter how he casts it.
During a news conference Wednesday, he insisted he could eliminate the tax if he were reelected, and do it without undercutting retirement benefits or greatly adding to the deficit. He said economic growth would offset the revenue losses.
That claim has little basis in reality.
He also pointed to a manufacturing boom during the coronavirus pandemic but there isnt one.
A look at some of his economic claims:
TRUMP: At the end of the year, the assumption that I win, Im going to terminate the payroll tax Well be paying into Social Security through the General Fund.
THE FACTS: Trump, in effect, has endorsed defunding Social Security by not providing an alternative source of revenues.
The risk is that this could destabilize an anti-poverty program that provides payments to roughly 65 million Americans. It also could force people to cut back on the spending that drives growth so they can save for their own retirement and health care needs if they believe the government backstop is in jeopardy.
A 12.4% payroll tax split between employers and workers funds Social Security, while a 2.9% payroll tax finances Medicare. These taxes raised $1.24 trillion last year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Over a 10-year period, Trumps idea would blow a $16.1 trillion hole in a U.S. budget that is already laden with rising debt loads.
Is This The Plan
While Goss states in his letter that he is not aware that anyone has proposed the
hypothetical legislation suggested by the four senators, the president has commented publicly on the issue.
At a press conference in Bedminster, New Jersey, the president vowed to make these tax cuts permanent if hes reelected. The article quotes the president saying, If Im victorious on Nov. 3, I plan to forgive these taxes and make permanent cuts to the payroll tax. Im going to make them all permanent. This indicates at least one half of the claim is true.
Yes, the president says he plans to cut off the bloodline of Social Security funding . But he still has not explained whether or not he will replace the funding with funds from elsewhere in the budget, or where it would come from.
The Press And The Public Fundamentally Misunderstand Social Security And They Always Have
The problem begins with already-dangerous levels of public ignorance and political opportunism regarding Social Security. Reporters and pundits truly do not understand much if anything about the system, so when they hear people say that the systems Trust Fund might be depleted at some point in the future, a Chicken Little response quickly follows.
Indeed, for many years, I knew that I would have to write columns here on Verdict or elsewhere as soon as the trustees of the Social Security system issued their annual reports. The news cycle would quickly be dominated by stories about the system going bankrupt, belly up, or running out of money. I would then feel honor-bound to publish a column pointing out that this is nonsense, even though I had written pretty much the same column the previous year .
As I noted in 2018, however, I had at that point gone almost two years without writing about Social Security here on Verdict. It was hardly a coincidence that the Republicans retirement fearmongering had stopped at the end of 2016. Trump, after all, had promised his older, White base of voters that he would leave Social Security alone and because the system was fundamentally sound, there was no need for anyone to make a big deal about it. And with Trumps relentless noise machine running full blast on other issues, everyone finally seemed willing to leave Social Security alone.
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Democrats Have Already Signaled Trumps Budget Is Going Nowhere
While Trump tries to have it both ways by proposing entitlement cuts while claiming hes not really doing that, Treasury Department spokesperson Monica Crowley was somewhat more straightforward during a Monday morning appearance on Fox Business.
Asked by host Stuart Varney if she agrees that the new budget hits the safety net, Crowley said the president understands that Washingtons habit of out of control spending without consequence has to be stopped.
Treasury Secretary Assistant Sec. Monica Crowley defends cuts to entitlements in Trump’s new 2021 budget proposal: “The president also understands that Washington’s habit of out of control spending without consequence has to be stopped.”
But for Trump, not all spending is bad. While his budget cuts non-defense spending by 5 percent, he actually slates defense spending for an increase to $740.5 billion for fiscal year 2021.
Budget proposals are just that proposals. And while Trump insists that Republicans are the ones trying to save entitlements from destruction, the irony is that the truth is exactly the opposite: Entitlement cuts are dead on arrival as long as Democrats control a chamber of Congress.
House Budget Committee Chair John Yarmuth alluded to this reality in a statement he released on Sunday blasting Trump for proposing deep cuts to critical programs that help American families.
The Quiet Before The Storm Mute Button Prompts Calmer Debate So Far
The mute button so far has resulted in a calmer debate as Trump and Biden debate the response to Covid-19.
The candidates are criticizing each other without crosstalk, and the moderator has control over the debate as a result. Trump also appears to be taking notes, which he has not done in previous debates. He has also been clearer and more coherent than in past debates.
Jane C. Timm and Adam Edelman
Trump has said this before, and it requires more context.
“Now they say I am immune. Whether it’s for a month or lifetime, nobody has been able to say that but I’m immune,” Trump said Thursday.
There is some evidence that coronavirus infection may confer immunity that lasts for a few months after a person has recovered from a Covid-19 infection, though research is ongoing.
Some infections result in lifelong immunity while other infections will produce short-term immunity in recovered patients. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said he believes the coronavirus confers at least some short-term immunity.
In his response to Trump’s answer on the pandemic, Biden refers to a scathing editorial that The New England Journal of Medicine published earlier this month.
The 35 editors who signed the editorial did not call out President Trump by name, the article is filled with references to his actions.
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Our Rating: Partly False
Based on our research, the claim that Trump said he will “terminate” Social Security if he is reelected is PARTLY FALSE. Trump recently signed an order offering temporary relief from the payroll tax that funds Social Security, and he has repeatedly said he’d terminate the tax entirely if he’s reelected.
But ending the tax that pays for Social Security and ending the Social Security program itself are not the same. When asked, Trump said he the measures would have “zero impact” on Social Security, and he said he’d “protect” the program. And it’s true that he could advocate an alternate source of funding, like the general fund although it would have to go through Congress first.
Ja’ron Smith One Of The Top Black Officials In The White House Touts Trump’s Empathy
JaRon Smith, an assistant to the president and one of the top senior officials in the administration who is Black, gave a speech touting Trumps empathy on the final night of the RNC.
In the wake of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and LeGend Taliferro, a moment of national racial consciousness. I have seen his true conscience. I just wish everyone could see the deep empathy he shows to families whose loved ones were killed in senseless violence, he said.
However, during the week of the RNC, the racial unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin prompted by the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, has barely been mentioned. Also, no mention of the continued unrest prompted by the killing of two people allegedly by a 17-year-old white Trump supporter.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows also said Thursday no one from the White House has spoken to Blakes family, but Meadows reached out to the familys pastor and conveyed the message of the presidents sympathies.
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Trump’s Debate Topics Tonight: China And Hunter Biden
Alyssa Farah, the White House director of strategic communications and assistant to the president, said expect President Trump to discuss two topics at tonight’s debate: China and Hunter Biden
“We need to have a real discussion on China,” Farah said Thursday on Fox Business News.
“Traditionally the third debate is really a foreign policy debate. But this ones got a whole lot of different topics,” she said. “So the presidents going to go in ready to make his case on the issues he sees as most important the economy, holding China accountable, the economic recovery.”
“And I do think we are going to, whether it’s asked or he has the opportunity to bring it up, he is going to get into this issue of Hunter Biden,” she said. “The American people need to know if the Biden family in any way is beholden to China.”
WASHINGTON A cybersecurity company says it has found a hacker selling personally identifying information of more than 200 million Americans, including the voter registration data of 186 million.
The revelation underscored how vulnerable Americans are to email targeting by criminals and foreign adversaries, even as U.S. officials announced that Iran and Russia had obtained voter registration data and email addresses with an eye toward interfering in the 2020 election.
We referred the matter to the FBI and will continue to work with law enforcement and others in the industry to identify and remove any related content.
Fact Check: Ivanka Trump Claims Trump Built ‘most Robust Testing System In The World’ That’s Inaccurate
President Trump built the most robust testing system in the world, daughter and White House adviser Ivanka Trump claimed Thursday night.
This is inaccurate. Experts say U.S. testing is far too limited to gauge the true size of the countrys uncontrolled and fast-moving outbreak, as high rates of positive tests indicate that many milder cases are going undetected. Meanwhile, manufacturers continue to report shortages of supplies and lab backups leave people waiting weeks for test results. The U.S. has actually begun conducting fewer tests than it was in July, even as the outbreak spreads rapidly.
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‘that Doesn’t Look Like America In 2020’: Mary Trump Blasts The Packed Crowd At The White House
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said during his RNC speech Thursday that Democrats want to defund the police and that they want free health care for illegal immigrants.
The first claim is misleading, and the second false. Though some progressives within the Democratic Party do support calls to “defund the police,” the official Democratic Party platform, approved last week, includes no reference to it. And, as NBC News has pointed out on the the first, second and third nights of the RNC, Joe Biden, the party’s nominee, does not support defunding the police. He has explicitly said so on multiple occasions.
NBC News has an explainer on the different and sometimes overlapping proposals from activists on how to address police violence here.
Additionally, while some on the left have called for free health care for undocumented immigrants, Biden has not. He supports allowing undocumented immigrants to purchase health care with their own money, they would not be eligible for taxpayer-funded subsidies. The official Democratic Party platform calls for extending Affordable Care Act coverage to Dreamers, and working with Congress to lift the five-year waiting period for Medicaid and Childrens Health Insurance Program eligibility for low-income, lawfully present immigrants.
McConnell also said Democrats want to make Washington, D.C., Americas 51st state.
A Call For Means Testing
Another pathway to Social Security benefit cuts, loosely proposed by President Trump while on the campaign trail four years ago, is means testing, which would partially or fully phase-out benefits for individuals who earn more than preset income thresholds. In other words, it would keep well-to-do seniors from receiving a full benefit or perhaps any benefit at all, if they aren’t reliant on their Social Security income to make ends meet.
Trump has previously suggested that he wouldn’t take a Social Security benefit and that other wealthy individuals should follow suit. However, without seeing Trump’s tax returns, it’s unknown whether or not the president is currently receiving a monthly payout from the program.
Additionally, it’s worth pointing out that President Trump has never made means testing for Social Security benefits an official proposal. It was merely a discussion point tossed out by Trump prior to his 2016 election as a way to reduce Social Security’s long-term outlays.
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Trump With White House As Literal Backdrop Talks About Its History As Critics Say Hes Violating The Law
Trump embedded references to the countrys past presidents, such as Lincoln, Grant and Eisenhower, and the work they did in the White House as he gives a speech from the Peoples House.
Gathered here at our beautiful and majestic White House known all over the world as the People’s House we cannot help but marvel at the miracle that is our Great American Story, Trump said. This has been the home of larger-than-life figures like Teddy Roosevelt and Andrew Jackson who rallied Americans to bold visions of a bigger and brighter future. Within these walls lived tenacious generals like Presidents Grant and Eisenhower who led our soldiers in the cause of freedom.
Critics and ethics experts have routinely hammered the president for hosting a political convention that included the performance of official duties at the White House, which they say is a violation of federal law that prohibits government employees from participating in political activities.
White House advisor Kellyanne Conway, who gave a speech, was excoriated by a government watchdog for repeatedly violating the federal law called the Hatch Act by engaging in partisan politics. Ivanka Trump, a senior aide, also gave a speech at the White House, raising similar issues.
How Alice Marie Johnson Became Of Symbol Of Trumps Criminal Justice Reform Agenda
Two years ago, reality star Kim Kardashian West personally lobbied the president in an Oval Office meeting to intervene on behalf of Alice Marie Johnson.
Johnsons story went viral after she did an interview from inside of an Alabama federal prison in which she was serving a life sentence without parole for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense.
In that video, Johnson shared the details of her story.
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