President Trump recently announced, via Presidential Memorandum, a temporary suspension of the payroll tax for those making $104,000 or less to compensate for the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The caterwauling from Democrats was right on cue. Democrat leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi called the action “unworkable, weak and narrow.” Ignoring the fact that the payroll tax deferral would apply only to Social Security and not Medicare, the narrative, clearly designed to scare older Americans who are already jittery as a result of the frenzied media coverage of the pandemic, began almost instantly after the President’s announcement.
Democrat National Committee Chairman Tom Perez referred to the President as a liar who broke his promise to defend both programs. Pelosi further stated, “what he’s (Trump) doing is undermining Social Security and Medicare.” Presidential candidate Joe Biden issued a statement calling President Trump’s leadership into question – “This is no art of the deal. This is not presidential leadership. These orders are not real solutions. They are just another cynical ploy designed to deflect responsibility. Some measures do far more harm than good.” He also added that the payroll tax suspension was a “war on Social Security.”
Really, Joe? Doesn’t he and the Democrats know that the internet is forever, and it really wasn’t that long ago when former President Obama cut payroll taxes in 2011 and 2012? However, at that time, the narrative from Democrats was much different with then-Vice President Joe Biden penning an op-ed in USA Today extolling the virtues of the tax cut. Worried about the tax cut’s effect on the deficit? Don’t be, because Vice President Biden wrote “the cuts will grow our economy now without adding to our deficit in the future.”
What about the war on Social Security, Joe? Nonsense! As Joe further opined, “Critics have been spreading misinformation that the payroll tax cut will threaten the solvency of Social Security. That’s just plain wrong. The legislation creating the tax cut requires that any money the payroll tax would have provided to Social Security be replaced by other U.S. general revenue funds, protecting Social Security without an additional burden on taxpayers.”
Sound familiar? President Trump’s Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, confirmed that while the payroll tax is deferred, payment for Social Security would come out of the general fund.
When Obama cut the payroll tax, it was heralded as a job-creating mechanism. Nancy Pelosi issued a statement from the Speaker’s office in December 2011 calling it a “victory for all Americans – for the security of our middle class, for the health of our seniors, and for economic growth and job creation.”
So, it’s simple for Democrats, a payroll tax cut under Obama = good! A payroll tax cut under Trump = bad! To borrow a line from one of my favorite movies, Tombstone, the Democrats’ “hypocrisy knows no bounds.” Fortunately, AMAC members and the American electorate know better and realize when they’re being played. The calendar is quickly turning to September, then Election Day, and all of its retributive qualities, will soon follow.
Andrew Mangione is Senior Vice President for AMAC’s advocacy affiliate, AMAC Action. He leads AMAC’s grassroots efforts, represents AMAC’s membership in Washington, D.C., and helps chart the association’s policy course. He also serves as a national spokesperson.