This comes from a Democratic fundraising email I received yesterday from Social Security Works
Just today, Trump's director of the National Economic Council called for the complete elimination of payroll contributions for Social Security AND Medicare until the end of the year!
Here's the truth: A temporary cut to Social Security and Medicare's funding is an election-year trap for Democrats. If Trump wins re-election, he's already signaled that he'd like to eliminate that funding permanently. And if a Democrat is elected President, Republicans will blast the new President for raising taxes—which is actually just allowing Social Security and Medicare funding to return to normal levels.
The first thing I try to do when checking a claim made by any partisan entity is to check their given sources and/or look for sources regarding whatever it is they seem to be talking about, in order to find what was actually said or done
-- because fundraising emails aren't exactly known for their careful attention to nuance and precision.
The source they cited was a Tweet
on May 19 from Brendan Duke
, who is apparently a senior policy analyst with the Joint Economic Committee Democrats
, in response to CBS News anchor Carl Quintanilla's Tweet
(earlier on May 19) saying --
KUDLOW SAYS TRUMP WANTS TO SEE 7.6 % PAYROLL TAX CUT
-- and citing Reuters as the source but not linking to any particular article.
kudlow payroll tax social security medicare
, I found a Reuters article from May 15, Trump wants payroll tax holiday to mitigate coronavirus economic pain: Kudlow
which clarifies what's going on:
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Tuesday that President Donald Trump wants a payroll tax holiday for U.S. workers in the hopes of staunching economic pain caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve offered a payroll tax holiday so that you come back to work (and) those folks will get a higher after-tax wage - 7.6% higher,” Kudlow told reporters at the White House.
So this is not a 7.6% cut in payroll taxes as CQ's Tweet states but in fact complete (though temporary) elimination of the payroll tax altogether, as stated in the SSW email I received. (CQ's confusion is understandable, as Kudlow himself seems to have gotten confused later on and referred to it on Fox Business News
as "a 7.6% cut in their payroll tax".)
A bit of research suggests that "payroll tax" is pretty much exactly what funds Social Security and Medicare
, two "socialist" programs which the Right has always hated -- so yes, Trump's proposal would seem to be a plan to de-fund Social Security and Medicare for some number of months.
Backing up a bit, though, anyone who only heard the original plan might see the logic like this:
We have a claim (top line), followed by my best guess at the motivation to which TrumpCo are hoping to appeal by proposing it.
It's easy to show what the problem is, however:Rule note: a claim is only held to be true if there are no true claims against it. In this case, there are three counterclaims against it.)
So, fast forward to SSW's hypothesized futures.
If a Republican is elected, they will be able to argue that Social Security and Medicare "are in trouble" -- but of course we will be able to clearly show that this was because they
cut the funding for those programs, using the crisis as an excuse.
If a Democrat wins, they will of course restore the payroll tax -- perhaps increasing it somewhat (an obvious solution would be to eliminate the cap so everyone is paying the same share, instead of those with lower incomes paying disproportionately more). Republicans will frame this as "tax-and-spend liberalism" or whatever -- but again, we will be able to show that we're just trying to undo the damage they did under cover of crisis.
I don't expect this tool to be used much (or properly) by Republicans, Trump supporters, flat-earthers, or anyone else taking a counterfactual
The point is that it provides a way of organizing the facts, and a quick reference for refuting arguments, down to any level of detail that might be needed.