How Many Ways Did The Stable Genius Bone The Census? All The Ways.
Another day, another pile of dogshit the Trump administration left for us in the back yard of the federal bureaucracy. This turd is over at the Census Bureau, where the government will be writing off millions of dollars in unpaid payroll taxes from temporary workers.
It all started back in August of 2020 when that freaking genius had the bright idea to ensure his re-election by setting fire to Social Security and Medicare. For some reason, he figured Republicans in Congress and his pals in big business would jump for joy at the suggestion that we do away with payroll taxes permanently.
"And the payroll tax — we'll be terminating the payroll tax after I, hopefully, get elected. We'll be terminating the payroll tax, so that will mean anywhere from $5,000 to even more per family, and also great for businesses and great for jobs. A lot of people will be very happy to hear that. A lot of the great — certainly, conservative economists will be great to have — they think that's the greatest thing we can do. That's better than the payments; that's better than anything else."
Turns out, not so much. Republicans were never going to agree blow up Social Security, and certainly not after the agency's chief actuary said that the program would be bankrupt by 2023 if workers stopped putting money into it. And employers were in no mood to put themselves in a position to have to go back and collect the unpaid taxes from their employees after the first of the year. So everyone who could basically ignored Trump and his babbling about paying for the cut with "tremendous growth."
But 1.3 million people couldn't ignore that lunatic, because they worked for the federal government. And Trump more or less forced them to accept a loan from Uncle Sam in the form of a payroll tax cut they'd have to pay back in 2021.
Political appointees who were out on their asses in January whined anonymously to Politico when they had to pay back the entire lump sum at once: "I thought it was a good plan — I don't think it got the traction it deserved," one complained. "I just wish I had the option to opt-out."
Yeah, we were real broke up about it at the time.
And while career bureaucrats could pay it back over a year, there was another class of employees whose service ended abruptly during the tax holiday. Which brings us to ... the Census. Toldja we'd get there!
Hansi Lo Wang is NPR's dedicated Census reporter, without whom we'd never have learned half the crazy shit Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross tried to pull with the citizenship question, among other shenanigans. (Support your local public radio station!)
Wang reported last night that the Census has given up trying to collect back payroll taxes from some of those temporary workers.
"We determined that 147,619 employees owed substantially less than what it would cost to collect the debt from them," the bureau told NPR, admitting that it intends to write off millions of dollars in unpaid taxes after sending out collection letters and emails to approximately 28,000 former Census workers.
And while the $2 million in uncollectible tax revenue is a mere drop in the federal government bucket, it's yet another reminder of the four years of absolute chaos we just lived through.
You know who doesn't subject the American people to 24-7-365 clusterfuckery and incompetence? That's right, it's Joe Biden. Now it's time to make that competence sexy again. Or else!
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.