Trump Administration Toys With Idea of Cutting Social Security Payroll Tax

Apr 11, 2017 / Michael Natalie, Horsesmouth Associate Editor

The details of the administration’s new tax plans remain obscure, but a tentatively proposed cut to the Social Security payroll tax has provoked sharp criticism among Social Security’s advocates. Under this proposal, Social Security would be funded through a value-added tax on imports instead of joint worker-employer contributions.

Nancy J. Altman, longtime program advocate and author of Social Security Works, described the proposal as a “Trojan Horse,” a stealth benefit cut masquerading as a “gift in the form of middle class tax relief.” Michael Hiltzik of the LATimes argues that funding Social Security through anything besides worker contributions degrades the historical and philosophical backbone of the program, making it more akin to welfare—and, ultimately, setting it up to be dismantled.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) discouraged the press and the public from overreacting to the current proposal, remarking that “(the administration) is working on various ideas” and that the trial balloons surfacing in the public don’t neccessarily reflect the work happening behind the scenes.


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