Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

President Donald Trump speaks to the press before boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on August 6, 2020. (Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

Retirees Vow to 'Fight This Attempt to Gut Social Security' as Trump Announces Executive Order to Suspend Payroll Tax

"President Trump just betrayed seniors, ordering cuts in Social Security funding because Congress wouldn't go along with his payroll tax cut scheme."

An advocacy group representing more than four million American retirees warned Thursday that President Donald Trump took a dangerous step toward "single-handedly" dismantling Social Security by announcing he plans to sign an executive order suspending collection of the payroll tax as early as Friday afternoon.

With congressional negotiations over the next Covid-19 stimulus package still at an impasse, Trump told reporters Thursday that executive orders to suspend the payroll tax, extend boosted unemployment benefits, and reestablish an expired eviction moratorium are "being drawn now" despite questions over whether the president has the authority to unilaterally take any of those actions.

"Older Americans have earned their benefits through a lifetime of work. Their retirement security should not be put at risk because President Trump is mad at Congress for not bending to his will."
—Richard Fiesta, Alliance for Retired Americans

Trump said he expects to sign the orders "tomorrow afternoon or maybe the following morning" if White House negotiators and Democratic leaders don't reach a deal. Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have rejected the idea of cutting the payroll tax, the primary funding mechanism for Social Security.

Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, said in a statement that "after learning that Democratic and Republican congressional leaders would not go along with his harebrained scheme to cut Social Security's dedicated funding source, President Trump lashed out and announced he would begin dismantling the system single-handedly."

"Seniors pay for their housing, food, and medicine with their Social Security, putting $1 trillion into our economy every year," said Fiesta. "Older Americans have earned their benefits through a lifetime of work. Their retirement security should not be put at risk because President Trump is mad at Congress for not bending to his will."

The group's 4.4 million members, he vowed, "will fight this attempt to gut Social Security."

Progressive advocacy group Social Security Works tweeted Thursday that suspending collection of the payroll tax is "defunding of Social Security, as a first step to cutting our earned benefits."

"And doing so by executive order is unconstitutional," the group said.


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

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

Share of Fossil Fuels in Global Energy Mix 'Has Not Moved by an Inch' in a Decade

"We are waking up to the bitter reality that the climate policy promises over the past 10 years have mostly been empty words," said the executive director of REN21, which released the new report.

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


Latest Nina Turner Ad in Ohio Highlights Working-Class Need for Medicare for All

"Wealth should never dictate whether you are able to see a doctor or live a healthy life."

Jenna McGuire, staff writer ·


Biden Admin Urged to 'Prevent a Historic Wave of Evictions' by Extending CDC Moratorium, Speeding Up Aid

"Far too many renters are struggling to access emergency rental assistance programs and are at risk of losing their homes when the moratorium expires," said the president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Kenny Stancil, staff writer ·


Democrats Unveil Decriminalization Plan to End 'Mass Devastation' of Failed US Drug War

"50 years. That's how long our government has waged a war—not on drugs, but on people."

Julia Conley, staff writer ·


Norwegian 'People vs. Arctic Oil' Case Heads to European Human Rights Court

"We have to take action now to limit irreversible damage to our climate and ecosystems to ensure livelihoods for the coming generations," said one activist.

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·