President Math Whiz Will Fix Unemployment By Bankrupting Social Security Because LEMON IT'S ONLY WEDNESDAY!

economics

BREAKING: If we continue to take money out of the Social Security trust fund without putting anything back in, soon we'll have no money left to pay for benefits!

Sorry to bother you with math two days running, but apparently this needs to be explained to the current White House occupant, who has promised to cut payroll taxes permanently if America loses its fucking mind and gives him another four years.

"If I'm victorious on November 3, I plan to forgive these taxes and make permanent cuts to the payroll tax," he barbled on August 7 as he signed an executive order purporting to institute a payroll tax holiday through the end of the year. "In other words, I'll extend beyond the end of the year and terminate the tax."

Because sure, why not eliminate the funding mechanism for Medicare and Social Security entirely. What could possibly go wrong?


And he actually means it! On August 13, he said this:

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.

When asked by a reporter how he would fund Social Security without, you know, funding Social Security, he promised that it would all be just fine because, "we're going to have tremendous growth, we have tremendous growth."

Well ... those are all words. But this idea is so goddamn stupid that even the tax-hating Gippers wouldn't touch it. So naturally the president blamed Democrats for torpedoing his batshit insane idea to cure unemployment by bankrupting Social Security.

In reality, this scheme was so idiotic that employers just kept collecting payroll taxes like normal so that they and their employees wouldn't get slammed with a bill for the entire amount come April. Because Trump's executive action suspending the penalty for failing to collect the money didn't actually mean it wasn't due. And here on Planet Earth, no politician with half a brain was ever going to sign off on a budget legislation that doesn't fund Social Security. They don't call it the Third Rail of politics for nothing!

But fine, if President Object Permanence wants to pretend that you can continue taking cans of soda out of the fridge without ever going to the store again, let's just game this one out.

Here's the letter Senators Van Hollen, Wyden, Sanders, and Schumer sent to the chief actuary at the Social Security Administration asking what would happen under "hypothetical legislation that changes the tax paid by employers, employees, and self-employed individuals to zero percent for the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) payroll taxes and Self-Employment Contributions Act (SECA) taxes that fund Social Security's Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund and Disability Insurance (DOI) Trust Fund."

And here's the response they got demonstrating that ACCORDING TO MATH this would bankrupt Social Security by 2023.

If this hypothetical legislation were enacted, with no alternative source of revenue to replace the elimination of payroll taxes on earned income paid on January 1, 2021 and thereafter, we estimate that DI Trust Fund asset reserves would become permanently depleted in about the middle of calendar year 2021, with no ability to pay DI benefits thereafter. We estimate that OASI Trust Fund reserves would become permanently depleted by the middle of calendar year 2023, with no ability to pay OASI benefits thereafter.

Now, to be fair, this computation fails to take into account "tremendous growth," whatever the hell that means. But it does affirm that Donald Trump is proposing suicide by arithmetic for seniors and disabled Americans, a point which we should be screaming about in every ad until November.

MAKE IT SO, NUMBER ONE!

[Social Security Letter]

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Liz Dye

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.

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