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.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'Do Better,' Say Advocates as Biden Seeks to Double Refugee Admissions

"When thousands of Afghans have been forced to flee their home to find safety, and Haitians are seeking safety on the southern border, the very least the United States can do is set a resettlement goal that meets the moment."

Brett Wilkins ·


Border Patrol Accused of 'Unfathomable Cruelty' for Cracking Whips on Haitians

"It doesn't matter if a Democrat or Republican is president, our immigration system is designed for cruelty towards and dehumanization of immigrants," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Brett Wilkins ·


As Gov. Tim Walz Proclaims 'Minnesota Climate Week,' Ilhan Omar Says 'Stop Line 3'

"The state of Minnesota simply cannot meet our carbon reduction targets if this pipeline goes through," said the Democratic congresswoman. "Our future is on the line."

Kenny Stancil ·


Supreme Court Announces Date for Case Directly Challenging Roe v. Wade

"The fate of Roe v. Wade and legal abortion is on the line."

Julia Conley ·


Avi Lewis Hoping Canadians' Climate Concerns Deliver Electoral 'Upset of Epic Proportions'

"We need to send Avi to Ottawa to shake up the entire political establishment, including his own party, and tip the scales in favor of people and the planet," said environmentalist David Suzuki.

Brett Wilkins ·

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