A campaign ad is currently running that says President Donald Trump promised to protect Social Security and Medicare and that he is doing so. For anyone who doesn’t know, Social Security and Medicare are funded by a dedicated payroll tax. This keeps funding for Social Security separate from the general budget and ensures the money goes to provide benefits for people. There are specific rules which guide collecting and securing the money for this fund and disbursing the funds, and Congress has to follow those rules.
In the October 2020 issue of the AARP Bulletin, page 9, both presidential candidates were asked a question on this subject. Here is the complete question and Trump’s answer. Nothing has been edited or cut.
Q: You have said you would like to “terminate the payroll tax” if you win reelection. As you know, payroll taxes fund Social Security and Medicare. How would you finance these programs without payroll taxes?
A: Providing a payroll tax deferral [which an Aug. 8 executive order permits] poses no risk to the Social Security trust find and puts more money in the pockets of hard-working Americans.
That is Trump’s complete answer. With this answer, Trump shows he has no understanding of how Social Security is funded and what would happen if the payroll tax was terminated. If he does as he says, the Social Security fund would be totally depleted by 2023 since its funding source would be gone. Some people have said the funding could be picked up by Congress, in the general budget, but this would subject Social Security to the same problems other budget items face every year. The funding would no longer be guaranteed. For those who rely on Social Security, this should be very frightening.
Trump’s answer shows, as usual, his ignorance of how government works. It also shows he has no clear plan to protect Social Security. This is an example of how Trump makes promises and uses words without an understanding of what he claims he is trying to do. On the same page, VP Biden explained his clear plan to save Social Security and keep it going for decades. He understands the problem and how to fix it. He knows what he is doing.
These two answers demonstrate clearly the difference between these two men. VP Biden gave a clear plan on how to protect and strengthen Social Security now and for the future. Trump threw out words whose meaning he may not even understand. Leaving our government in the hands of a man who doesn’t understand what he is doing and what his words mean is extremely dangerous for all of us. If you think Social Security should be saved, remember this when you vote.
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Thank you, Ms. Strong. You're one of my favorite columnists on ANY news site.