March 12th, 2020
Contact: Linda Benesch, lbenesc[email protected]

(Washington, DC) — The following is a statement from Nancy Altman, President of Social Security Works, on President Donald Trump’s tweet claiming that President Obama proposed the 2010 payroll contribution holiday and Speaker Nancy Pelosi “thought it was a brilliant thing”:

“Donald Trump’s tweet is revisionist history. Here’s the truth.

When Democrats had full control of Congress in 2009, they passed the Making Work Pay (MWP) Tax Credit, which is far superior to cutting Social Security’s dedicated revenue. It is a much better stimulus to the economy and provides greater economic relief to those who need it most. Indeed, the only reason to prefer the proposal to reduce payroll contributions is if your true goal is to undermine Social Security – a program Trump once labeled a Ponzi scheme and that he’s said he intends to cut if he’s re-elected.

When the MWP tax credit was due to expire at the end of 2010, the economy was still reeling from the Great Recession. By that time, however, Democrats had lost their filibuster proof majority in the Senate. They were lame ducks, having lost control of the House in the midterm elections. Republicans refused to extend the MWP tax credit, but insisted on a reduction in payroll contributions instead.

strongly opposed this proposal, along with many other Social Security advocates. But with the country still in recession and Republicans about to take control of Congress, the Obama Administration was desperate to pass any stimulus at all. They gave into Republican demands and pushed Congressional Democrats to back the reduction in payroll contributions.

Reducing payroll contributions was the wrong response to the 2010 recession. It’s even more inadequate as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus far, Pelosi has shown herself to be a far superior negotiator than Donald Trump and a leader who will not give into Republican hostage taking. She and her fellow Social Security supporters in Congress should continue to hold the line and refuse to support Trump’s demands for a reduction in payroll contributions.”