Trump Threatens Social Security – BIDEN WILL STRENGTHEN IT

TOPLINE POINTS

  • President Trump is threatening Social Security by saying he will “terminate” the payroll tax that provides 90% of the program’s funding. Joe Biden wants to expand and strengthen Social Security by making higher-paid workers contribute more to the program, so it is fully funded for decades.
  • Trump has suggested replacing payroll taxes with general fund revenue, but he has not offered a specific or plausible plan for how he would replace the approximately $1 trillion that would be lost each year by eliminating the Social Security payroll tax. Without a replacement the deficit would increase by $1 trillion a year.
  • Without an alternative funding source, Social Security disability payments would end in 2021, while retirement and survivor payments would run out in 2023, according to the program’s official scorekeeper.
  • Trump has defied Congress and authorized employers to stop collecting for the rest of this year the employee part of the payroll tax for workers making less than about $100,000 a year. Trump has promised in a second term that “we’ll be cutting” benefits in entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare to reduce the national debt. He has in the past supported privatizing Social Security.
  • Joe Biden wants to strengthen Social Security and expand benefits for its oldest and lowest-income recipients. He would pay for these reforms by collecting Social Security taxes on annual salaries above $400,000 which, along with all other wages and salaries above roughly $138,000 this year, are currently exempt from Social Security taxes.

TRUMP HAS THREATENED TO END THE PAYROLL TAX, A SEVERE THREAT TO SOCIAL SECURITY

ENDING THE PAYROLL TAX WITHOUT BACKUP FUNDING WOULD QUICKLY END BENEFITS

  • According to Social Security’s chief actuary, ending the payroll tax without an alternate funding source would dry up funding for disability payments by next year and for retirement and survivor benefits in 2023.
  • Around 55 million Americans rely on Social Security retirement and survivor benefits, and almost 10 million receive Social Security disability benefits.
  • Benefits are extremely modest: retirement and survivor benefits average around $1,400 a month, disability benefits around $1,300. Yet for 70% of single beneficiaries, Social Security supplies half or more of their income. For about half of single beneficiaries, Social Security is practically their only source of income.

TRUMP HAS A HISTORY OF THREATENING SOCIAL SECURITY

IN CONTRAST, JOE BIDEN WOULD STRENGTHEN AND IMPROVE SOCIAL SECURITY

  • Biden has pledged to strengthen Social Security so it is fully funded for decades and to improve its benefits, especially for its most vulnerable recipients.
  • He would boost benefits for the oldest retirees, those receiving benefits for over 20 years; create a benefit floor to keep the lowest-income beneficiaries out of poverty; and increase payments to widows and widowers.
  • Biden would pay for these reforms by requiring the highest-income workers to contribute more to the system. Currently, wages and salaries above roughly $138,000 this year (the amount increases with inflation) are exempt from Social Security taxes. Biden would apply the payroll tax to wages above $400,000. This would raise nearly $1 trillion.

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