Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

For Immediate Release


Karen Conner, 202-293-5380, ext. 117,

Press Release

Trump Cannot Be Trusted with a Social Security Payroll Tax Cut, CEPR Economist Says


President Donald Trump said he will announce today details of measures to boost the economy. Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)’s senior economist, Dean Baker, has this comment on the proposal.

“President Trump is proposing a temporary cut in the Social Security payroll tax as part of an economic stimulus package to offset the impact of the coronavirus. While the economy will need a boost to limit the extent of the downturn caused by the virus, cutting the Social Security tax is the wrong way to go.

“Under the law, Social Security payments can only come from the program’s dedicated revenue stream, which is primarily the Social Security payroll tax. Under President Obama, a temporary Social Security tax cut was put in place in 2011. The lost revenue was replaced by general revenue, so the Trust Fund was not in any way diminished. When the tax cut expired, the tax rate returned to its prior level.

“Unfortunately, Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress cannot be trusted to protect the Social Security trust fund. They have frequently proposed cuts to the program, and under President Bush, sought to privatize it. They may well use a temporary tax cut as an opportunity to weaken the program’s finances so that they can then push for cuts or privatization.

“A much better model for a stimulus would be President Obama’s Make Work Pay tax credit. This was a refundable tax credit that gave workers 6.2 percent of their pay, up to $400 per worker. It was phased out for higher earners, beginning at roughly $100,000. This is a more progressive structure and does not in any way threaten the Social Security trust fund. Given inflation over the last decade, and the needs of the economy, we may want to double the size of the credit.

“Of course, the stimulus must go further to include items like tax credits for paid sick days, increased SNAP benefits, and other subsidies for low-income families, in addition to free testing and treatment for the coronavirus. However, Congress should not allow a stimulus to dampen a coronavirus-induced recession to be an excuse to attack Social Security.”


The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people’s lives. In order for citizens to effectively exercise their voices in a democracy, they should be informed about the problems and choices that they face. CEPR is committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better prepared to choose among the various policy options.

'And Maybe More': Biden Says He's Open to Reforming Filibuster to Win Voting Rights

"It's a simple choice between a free America or one chained by the past," said one advocate. "Our democracy hangs in the balance."

Julia Conley ·

Carbon Offsets Are Nothing But a 'Dangerous' Con Job, Warns Climate Group

"The best way to prevent the heating of our planet," says Friends of the Earth, "is to end the use of fossil fuels for good."

Andrea Germanos ·

Plastic Pollution in Waterways Could Triple by 2040, Warns UN

"This assessment provides the strongest scientific argument to date for the urgency to act, and for collective action to protect and restore our oceans from source to sea."

Kenny Stancil ·

In Face of Planetary Emergency, US Climate-Related Financial Risk Report Denounced as 'Pitiful' Failure

"Finding consensus between those who see or don't see our climate reality," said one critic, "is not democracy in action: it's homicidal."

Jon Queally ·

Schumer Endorses 'Inspiring Community Leader' India Walton as Buffalo's Next Mayor

The U.S. Senate majority leader's move comes as some key New York Democrats refuse to back the democratic socialist.

Jessica Corbett ·

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