Democrat Joe Biden rebuked President Donald Trump’s stance on Social Security funding just days after an ad in Florida accused Trump of misusing Social Security funds to provide coronavirus relief in the absence of new legislation from Congress, whose negotiations have recently failed.
The president signed several executive orders over the weekend, including one which calls for a payroll tax holiday, directing the Treasury Department to defer payment of employee-side Social Security payroll taxes through the end of the year for those making under roughly $100,000.
“Eighty-five years ago today, as our nation sought to heal its pain and revive its promise in the midst of a Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law. In the years since, Social Security has brought greater dignity, peace of mind, and freedom to America’s seniors and families — and, in doing so, it has reconsecrated our nation as a land of greater equity, compassion, and strength,” Biden said in a statement. “Today, America is facing a new moment of extraordinary suffering and economic calamity. It is a moment that impels us, perhaps more than any in recent memory, to strengthen our commitment to Social Security and the promise for which it stands — to protect the most vulnerable and help every American family guard against uncertainty and loss.”
“Instead of rising to the moment, President Trump is threatening to sever that sacred promise. Last week, from his golf course in New Jersey, he issued an executive order to “terminate” the funding Social Security relies on. Since then, he’s only doubled down — vowing in no uncertain terms to end Social Security as we know it if given another term in office,” he continued, adding: “This is not a matter of campaign hyperbole or difference of opinion. It is a stone-cold fact: Trump announced his intention to permanently cut the funding source for Social Security — the payroll taxes that American workers pay into, trusting that Social Security will be there for them when they retire.”
President Trump has said “tremendous growth” would make up for the defunding; Biden noted this is the same reasoning he used to justify paying for highly derided tax cuts that disproportionately benefited the country’s wealthiest citizens.
“That ‘tremendous growth’ never materialized, and instead his mismanagement spiraled our nation into the worst economic and jobs crisis in a century. Like his ‘tremendous health care plan,’ his ‘tremendous infrastructure plan,’ and every other promise he has thoughtlessly made and broken, this too will turn out to be worthless — and millions of seniors will be left to face the challenges of aging without the support, peace of mind, and dignity they had counted on and earned,” Biden said.
Biden said slashing Social Security in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed the lives of over 170,000 Americans to date, “an unconscionable betrayal of American seniors, who paid into the Social Security system throughout their lives expecting it would be there for them in their golden years.”
“It isn’t a surprise that Donald Trump is promising to gut Social Security at a time when families need help the most — after all, he’s also in court right now trying to slash Medicare benefits for some of the most vulnerable Americans. The only surprise is how open and brazen he is about his intentions to destroy a cherished program that is ingrained in the moral bedrock of life in America,” he said.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.