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Trump Holds Relief for the American People Hostage Over Nonsense Tax Cuts

MAY 4, 2020

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Trump Holds Relief for the American People Hostage Over Nonsense Tax Cuts

Trump Announces He Is Unwilling to Sign Future Coronavirus Relief Legislation Unless It Includes Payroll Tax Cuts

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, Trump declared in a Fox News interview that he would not sign any new coronavirus relief legislation unless it includes payroll tax cuts. 

A few weeks ago, Congress passed and implemented the $2 trillion CARES Act, which already provides employers temporary reprieve from payroll, Social Security, and some retirement taxes through the end of the year. Experts agree that while tax credits conditionally tied to worker benefits can deliver some emergency help in the short-term, payroll tax cuts are bad policy because they don’t get money into people’s pockets quickly enough. Not to mention, there are nearly 30 million people who are newly unemployed — and therefore not on any payroll at all — who cannot benefit from a payroll tax.

“We are in the midst of a global pandemic and economic downturn and the President of the United States is refusing to deliver necessary aid to the American people unless legislators hand him a bill slashing payroll taxes — a move that would threaten social safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security. ” said Tax March Executive Director Maura Quint. “On top of that, Mitch McConnell announced he would prioritize protecting businesses reopening before the country is able to take proper precautions from legal liability for the risks their decisions pose to employees and customers. Trump, McConnell and the GOP are not making any serious efforts to help people but instead only want to hold the American people hostage.”

Trump and McConnell cannot hold millions of unemployed and financially strained people hostage over tax cuts that don’t address the economic strain of growing joblessness. As Howard Gleckman of the Tax Policy Center writes, “Reducing payroll taxes fails as either relief to cash-constrained businesses and individuals or as economic stimulus.” Workers cannot afford another lackluster half-measure forced through Congress by Senate Republicans with taxpayer-funded handouts for the country’s wealthiest people and corporations. 

If the president or McConnell need a rubric for future coronavirus relief legislation, we wrote some Dos and Don’ts

Here’s a hint: payroll tax cuts are a big Don’t.

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