Truth be Told: Biden's Social Security advertisement

Why taking Social Security early costs too much
Posted at 5:10 PM, Sep 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 23:29:16-04

MILWAUKEE — A political advertisement run by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's campaign takes aim at a tax cut made by President Trump that they claim could deplete Social Security in the next three years.

It's in reference to the payroll tax, which the president temporarily suspended starting this month to the end of the year as relief for people struggling during the COVID19 pandemic.

After issuing the "tax holiday," the president said in a news conference, "After I hopefully get elected, we will be terminating the payroll tax."

In a letter to Senate Democrats, the Social Security Administration said if the payroll tax was eliminated and not replaced, the fund that pays out those benefits would "...become permanently depleted by the middle of calendar year 2023."

That letter also called any move to eliminate the tax "hypothetical," adding it was "not aware that anyone has proposed the hypothetical legislation you describe."

At the same news conference he talked about eliminating the tax, Trump provided some insight into where the money would come from to replace it.

"That money is going to come from the general fund," the president said. "We're not going to touch Social Security."

Social Security will be a top issue for Wisconsin voters in this election. According to polling from AARP 71 percent of voters over the age of 50 said they are worried about cuts to Social Security. Eighty-seven percent said if Social Security is threatened, it's an issue that would make them more likely to vote.

"Think about that, 87 percent on people in Wisconsin agreeing on something is not something that we're hearing much about this year," said Lisa Lamkins.

Lamkins is the Advocacy Director at AARP Wisconsin. She says there is a lot of confusion about how Social Security will be funded without the payroll tax.

"At this point the president really needs to clarify how he would go about making this work," she said. "We need to know where is the funding coming from, where are these contributions coming from."

Lamkins added that while their members seem divided on nearly every issue, they're overwhelmingly united on the topic of Social Security.

"We think that older voters could be the deciding factor this year and especially those 65 plus, and while you might think it’s the health issues that are a big concern of theirs, and it certainly is because they’re worried about the virus, economic concerns and social security are also really high on the list," she said.

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