FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10th, 2020
Contact: Linda Benesch, [email protected]socialsecurityworks.org

(Washington, DC) — The following is a statement from Nancy Altman, President of Social Security Works, on President Donald Trump’s proposal to reduce payroll contributions:

“Donald Trump is using the coronavirus crisis as an excuse to propose a reduction in payroll contributions. This is a Trojan Horse attack on our Social Security system, which will do nothing to meaningfully address the crisis at hand.

Other proposals to stimulate the economy, such as restoring the Making Work Pay Tax Credit or expanding the existing Earned Income Tax Credit, are more targeted and provide more fiscal stimulus. They are fairer in their distribution and place no administrative burdens on employers.

The only reason to support the Trump proposal above those others is to undermine Social Security. This is true even if borrowed federal funds are substituted for Social Security’s dedicated revenue. Under the guise of stimulating the economy, Trump’s plan to reduce Social Security contributions would either undermine Social Security’s financing or employ general revenue, both of which would set the stage for future demands to cut Social Security.

At base, tax cuts do nothing to meaningfully address coronavirus, or even the resulting market panic. We do want to ensure people have the cash they need while they face massive uncertainties around employment and other costs. We want people to stay home as much as needed without having to worry about paying their rent or other costs. What we need most is a robust public health response, which the Trump Administration is utterly failing to provide.

Earlier this week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer released an excellent list of steps we should take to combat coronavirus. Their plan includes paid sick leave, free coronavirus testing, and treatment for all. Our government should enact these measures, not slash payroll contributions. And, for supporters of Social Security, their plan, unlike Trump’s, will not undermine this vital program.”

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