September 30, 2020 - Douglas Myser

Trump social security and the election. Social Security has long been called the "third rail" in American policitcs--touch it at your own peril. With the news cycle dominated by COVID-19 since March, it hasn't been a hot button issue. But that is changing. On August 8, President Trump signed an executive order to cut the payroll taxes that millions of employees and employers pay into the Social Security system. He followed that with an announcement that if he wins a second term, he intended to eliminate the payroll tax. In 2020, the payroll tax amount is 7.65%, 6.2% of which goes into Social Security. Richard Johnson, a director of the Program on Retirement at the Urban Institute, said Trump's plan to reduce payroll taxes for Social Security would have a "significant negative impact" on the program. The board that runs the program has already projected that the system will run out of money in 2035. Trump social security and the election.

"Social Security is already facing a long term financial gap, and that is getting more pressing every year," Johnson said. "These projections were based on economic conditions before the pandemic and this deep recession, so the situation today is probably even more dire than that."   For senior voters--the biggest and most reliable voting bloc in every election cycle--the future of the program is an even larger concern. Those over the age of 45 were more likely to give Social Security a high priority on their 2020 checklist, with 68 percent listing it as a top issue. "What Trump is doing, especially with this recent payroll tax holiday, is moving seniors away from him," said Rich Fiesta, the executive director at the Alliance for Retired Americans. "It's not a very popular idea." His organization, which has 4.4 million members, recently endorsed the Biden-Harris ticket. Trump won senior voters by a significant margin in 2016, in no small part due to his promises not to cut Social Security or Medicare. In fact, on the campaign trail he said he would "Do everything within my power not to touch Social Security, to leave it the way it is." Trump Social Security and the election.

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