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Trump’s war on social security


Helaine Olen has an excellent column on how the purpose of Trump’s worse-than-useless memo seeking to suspend payroll tax collections is to set up Social Security for destruction:

There is a lot wrong with President Trump’s announcement on Saturday that he would order the federal government to cease collecting Social Security payroll taxes for the majority of workers for the rest of the year.

The move is quite possibly unconstitutional. It’s a logistical nightmare. Employers could get stuck owing money. Workers almost certainly will. It won’t do a thing to help the unemployed, who obviously don’t have a paycheck. It’s not a permanent suspension, but something more akin to an interest-free loan. As of right now, the money will need to be paid back.

All that’s bad. But here is the worst part: When combined with his comments that he would like to “terminate” the payroll tax, which funds Social Security, Trump is revealing yet another con. He’s not, as he’s claimed from the day he announced his run for president, going to save Social Security. Instead, Trump is promoting a scheme to weaken the program that keeps a majority of the elderly out of poverty.

And since this is Trump, he’s doing it just when the need for it to offer seniors an income is about to become more pressing than ever. (Also, in true Trump fashion, he picked his moment. This Friday is the 85th anniversary of the day President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law. Talk about a birthday gift.)

You know, I’m beginning to think that pivot to economic populism isn’t going to happen.

Anyway, this is something the Biden campaign needs to hammer on, hard.

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