Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

President Donald Trump takes questions from reporters during an event in the East Room of the White House April 28, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

'Pathetic': Trump Says No to Additional Covid-19 Stimulus Checks, Backs Cutting Tax That Funds Social Security Instead

"Cutting payroll taxes does nothing to help seniors or the millions of people who just lost their jobs. It does, however, defund Social Security and Medicare—which is why Trump is obsessed with the idea."

Jake Johnson

President Donald Trump on Tuesday expressed opposition to providing additional direct relief payments on top of the $1,200 checks that are slowly trickling out to eligible U.S. households, saying he would instead prefer to slash the tax that funds Social Security and Medicare.

"Well, I like the idea of payroll tax cuts," Trump said at a press conference when asked about the idea of authorizing another round of direct payments in the next coronavirus stimulus package as mass layoffs continue.

"A payroll tax cut does nothing for the 26 million who lost their jobs."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

"I've liked that from the beginning," the president said. "That was a thing that I really would love to see happen. A lot of economists would agree with me. A lot of people agree with me. And I think frankly it's simple, it's not the big distribution, and it would really be an incentive for people to come back to work and for employers to hire."

Watch:

Trump has floated the idea of a payroll tax cut several times in recent weeks—suggesting at one point earlier this month that the cut should be permanent—even though the move would not provide any relief for the tens of millions of people who have lost their jobs since mid-March.

"Economists don't actually agree with him," said Justin Wolfers, economics professor at the University of Michigan. "Payroll tax cuts are too slow and poorly targeted."

But a payroll tax cut would advance a longstanding objective of the conservative movement by striking a blow to Social Security and Medicare funding, advocacy groups pointed out. The CARES Act, which Trump signed into law last month, contained a little-noticed provision allowing employers to delay payment of the payroll tax for at least the rest of 2020.

"Unlike additional stimulus checks, cutting payroll taxes does nothing to help seniors or the millions of people who just lost their jobs," tweeted Social Security Works. "It does, however, defund Social Security and Medicare—which is why Trump is obsessed with the idea."

The president's opposition to additional direct payments comes as progressive lawmakers and activists are pushing for $2,000 monthly payments to all U.S. households for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis because the initial $1,200—for those lucky enough to have received it—was far from sufficient to cover basic expenses.

"Pathetic," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said in response to Trump's remarks. "A payroll tax cut does nothing for the 26 million who lost their jobs. With rent due on May 1, we need to provide $2,000 a month to everyone until this crisis is over. If we can bail out corporations, we can make sure everyone has enough to pay for basic necessities."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Dems to Biden: Overhaul Drone Program That Has Killed Thousands of Civilians

"In too many instances, U.S. drone strikes have instead led to unintended and deadly consequences—killing civilians and increasing anger towards the United States."

Brett Wilkins ·


War With Russia Over Ukraine 'Last Thing' US Needs, Say Progressives

Urging diplomacy over violence, foreign policy experts say "Biden's failure to acknowledge Russia's legitimate security concerns has led to the present impasse."

Jessica Corbett ·


Asked About Black Voters, McConnell Says Quiet, Racist Part Very Loud

"The othering of Americans who aren't white was never a 'quiet part,'" said Rep. Ilhan Omar, "it has always been loud and painful for everyone who has experienced it."

Brett Wilkins ·


'A Basic Human Right': Bowman, Markey Unveil Affordable Energy Bill

Sen. Ed Markey called the proposal "the ambitious and comprehensive legislation we need to help ensure the health and safety of American families and support a just transition away from fossil fuel consumption."

Julia Conley ·


Heavily Polluted Louisiana Community Asks EPA to Step In

"Louisiana has failed to protect fenceline communities, including St. John residents, from the harms of highly polluting facilities," said one local advocate.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo