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Coronavirus: President Trump threatening to block new stimulus money unless Congress cuts Social Security and Medicare contributions

Written by Diane Archer

The US lacks the strong leadership it needs to both contain the spread of the novel coronavirus and to protect Americans from economic ruin. On Sunday evening, Donald Trump insisted at a Fox News townhall that he will block any new Congressional stimulus packages to address the coronavirus pandemic unless it also includes cuts to Social Security and Medicare payroll contributions. Of course, cuts to Social Security and Medicare could endanger the lives of millions of Americans.

Cuts to Social Security and Medicare are wildly unpopular, garnering almost no public support. Republicans and Democrats alike overwhelmingly support maintaining or increasing spending on Medicare and Social Security. Payroll contributions put money into their Trust Funds. As it is, these Trust Funds would benefit from an injection of money. With so many people out of work, far less money is going into them right now.

In the last month, more than 30 million Americans have lost their jobs. More than 10 million of them have lost their health insurance. They have little if any income. But they need to pay their mortgages and rent, their electric, phone and internet bills. They also need to eat.

Without a paycheck, younger Americans are at serious risk. Older Americans are at high risk of dying from Covid-19. Many hospitals are losing enormous amounts of money and might not survive. They all need government help.

But, President Trump is threatening to withhold this critical help unless Congress also cuts the payroll tax. In his words, “We’re not doing anything without a payroll tax cut.”  Of course, a payroll tax cut is not what we need. The payroll tax cut helps wealthy people, working people with incomes over $75,000 a lot more than it helps low-income people.

A person earning $75,000 a year would save $1,500 over the course of the year. Someone earning $45,000 a year would save $900. A minimum wage worker would save just $302. And, of course, anyone who has been laid off would save nothing.

Americans and hospitals need money now. And, low-income workers need more help and should get more help than wealthy Americans. If the goal is to help America and its residents, the cut in payroll contributions makes no sense and depletes the Social Security Trust Funds.

President’s Trump goal appears to be to cripple Social Security. In fact, he has said he wants to cut Social Security if he is re-elected.

As Nancy Altman, President of Social Security Works explains, to help the country out of its economic and health crisis, Congress should be allocating more emergency funds to people. It should be increasing Social Security benefits and Medicare should be covering the costs of health care that are not covered by insurance and for the uninsured.

Most older adults rely on Social Security to survive–to pay for their basic needs. It keeps millions of older adults from impoverishment. President Trump’s proposal should be seen for what it is: a death sentence for many older adults, if not today, down the road.

It’s up to Congress to push back against President Trump and do right by older adults and the country and not cut Social Security or Medicare payroll contributions. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for her part, says “No way.”

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11 Comments

  • Joe Biden’s repeatedly pushed to cut Social Security and Medicare for many years, too. It would be nice to count on Nancy Pelosi’s say-so; I wouldn’t. The corporate Democrats need to be reminded they’ll pay some consequences if they fail to oppose cuts.

  • The first administration to cut the payroll tax was Obama/Biden with their payroll tax “holiday”. They set the precedent.

    • You are lying because it did not go thru, republicans refused to allow the tax cut after Obama inherited a recession from Busch saying that it Would Not Help! So now they want to push it thru?? Karma!!

    • Obama 1st day in as pres, set up the Simpson/Bowles Commission that was dead-set on cutting our social safety net programs. That disbanded, fortunately but Obama still with his arms around Wall Street and getting along with Republicans (who ALL, ALWAYS hated our safety net programs) decided later to cut FICA. Obama set a dangerous precedent. You are right, Bob.

      All Americans must remain vigilant against corporate-owned politicians that stop listening to THE PEOPLE and only hear what their greedy, sociopathic, narcissistic donors want. But given a choice between a Democratic or fascistic Republican, I will choose Democratic every damn time. 45 is a downright nightmare!!

      Our work is cut out for us. Join National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare aka:NCPSSM and/or and even better (to me) Social Security Works. They take donations, small and all and work for The People. Our real advocates on the Hill. These important organizations

      lobby for us and our precious safety net programs, ie; Social Security, and Medicare.

    • …the difference that was a temporary measure during the worst recession since he great depression and it did have an effect on SS benefits. Yes it was also extended but finally expired at the end of 2012.

      Mr. Trump on the other hand has said he would like to make his cuts a permanent, and unlike his predecessor, is holding needed legislation as a hostage to get his way.

      • Incredibly bad idea. Some of us make a tiny amount of Soc Sec anyway. To cut my $457/month is downright murderous. I will sue, but CLASS-ACTION is the way to go. If they suicceed with any cuts, we need to gang together for the largest class-action lawsuit in history.

    • Bad idea then, worse now. Social Security must always be kept flush to help those whose condition and age may not permit them to work full-time. Raise the cap!

  • If Dems want to respond appropriately as an opposition party they should just tell him “no more bailouts for the oligarchs until the people are taken care of.” Dems just don’t know how to fight. The House can stop any bad legislation in its tracks by not passing it and the Senate can put a hold on any nomination trump makes all it takes is one courageous Senator to put a hold on any nomination.

  • No cuts to SS and Medicare. This is OUR money that we paid in as working Americans. No more stimulus money? Let’s see how that works out for Trump and his supporters. Besides, half the people I know have still not gotten their stimulus check, it’s now May 9.

  • …just another back door effort to strangle Social Security by the Republicans. Also just another attempt at extortion, this time against the House, by the “Crime Don. Holding aid hostage like this is no different what terrorists who hold living hostages until their demands are met.

  • Ok Republicans, is this what you want? Social Security isn’t enough to live on now. Why cut Social security and medicare.whemnhe can undo that huge tax cut he gave the rich?
    And let’s not forget all the vacations our tax dollars paid for for him!! Over a HUNDRED MILLION More than any other president cost us over a full 8 yrs in white house!

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