Former Vice President Joe Biden criticized President Donald Trump’s executive order paving the way for a payroll tax holiday years after former President Barack Obama called it “inexcusable” for lawmakers not to extend a similar cut during the recovery from the 2008 recession.
Trump signed an executive order Saturday ordering a payroll tax holiday from Aug. 1 through the end of 2020 in an attempt to boost an economy struggling from the coronavirus pandemic shutdowns.
Biden called the order “a reckless war on Social Security” in a statement Saturday, but comments come in contrast to Obama’s decision in 2011 to sign a similar payroll tax cut.
Trump’s order specifies that the deferral period would begin Sept. 1, with the president suggesting it could be retroactive to Aug. 1. The president also suggested that he might make permanent payroll tax cuts if he is reelected in November. “If I win, I may extend and terminate,” he said Saturday while announcing the order.
“In other words, I’ll extend it beyond the end of the year and terminate the tax,” Trump said.
Major changes to the country’s tax code fall under the purview of Congress, meaning the president cannot unilaterally forgive tax debts, according to the Washington Post.
Biden took issue with Trump’s willingness to consider a permanent cut. “He is laying out his roadmap to cutting Social Security,” the former vice president said while drawing a distinction between Obama’s cuts and Trump’s move. “Our seniors and millions of Americans with disabilities are under enough stress without Trump putting their hard-earned Social Security benefits in doubt.”
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The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee argued that, unlike his Democratic predecessor, Trump’s order doesn’t provide “protections or guarantees that the Social Security Trust Fund will be made whole.”
Obama criticized lawmakers in 2011 who opposed any calls to reduce the tax cut while Americans were dealing with the fallout from the 2008 recession.
In 2011 President Obama said it was “inexcusable” not to boost the economy with a payroll tax holiday.
Biden now says that it is “a reckless war on social security.” pic.twitter.com/vSk8CpixhF
— Eddie Zipperer (@EddieZipperer) August 9, 2020
“It is my expectation, in fact it would be inexcusable for Congress not to further extend this middle-class tax cut for the rest of the year,” the former president said during a press conference in 2011 addressing ways to help an ailing economy. “This is a way to boost the economy that has been supported by these very same Democrats and Republicans in the past.”
Employees and their employers each pay Social Security payroll taxes of 6.2 percent of wages. Biden proposed in March that he would increase the payroll tax rate for Americans making in excess of $400,000, The Hill reported in March.
The economy plummeted after governors and mayors began instituting economic lockdowns to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in Wuhan, China, in late December before spreading to the United States, where it has reportedly reportedly 162,000 people, according to data from John Hopkins University.
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