Former Vice President and presumptive Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden is a big fan of payroll tax cuts, at least he was until Trump deferred payroll taxes on Saturday. Unable to do much from his basement in Delaware, Biden is complaining about the executive action President Trump undertook to provide relief to millions of Americans in the midst of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
In one of four executive orders signed on Saturday, President Trump deferred payroll taxes for American workers with bi-weekly incomes of less than $4,000 on a pre-tax basis. The deferral begins on September 1 and runs through the end of the year. The deferral puts more money directly in the pockets of American workers.
In a 2011 op-ed, then-Vice President Joe Biden was extolling payroll tax cuts as "real money for real people," calling the cuts "extra money" that Americans "can use to help with bills and groceries, or even to upgrade appliances or make their home more energy efficient." Biden wrote that payroll tax cuts will fuel the economy, "spurring growth and creating jobs."
One would think such a fervent believer in the miracles of payroll tax cuts would be over the moon with the president's executive order. Instead, Biden now opposes payroll tax cuts, saying the president's deferral undermines the solvency of Social Security. But check out what Biden said about Social Security and payroll tax cuts back in 2011:
"Critics have been spreading misinformation that the payroll tax cut will threaten the solvency of Social Security," Biden wrote. "That's just plain wrong."
According to Biden, Social Security isn't impacted by the payroll tax cuts because the revenue is replaced by money from the general fund. During an interview on Fox News Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin confirmed that deferred payroll tax revenue would indeed be replaced by money from the general fund.
"The president in no way wants to harm those trust funds, so they’d be reimbursed just as they always have in the past when we’ve done these types of things," Mnuchin said.
So while Biden is fearmongering seniors disproportionately impacted by the Wuhan coronavirus, President Trump is bypassing Congress to get much-needed money directly in the pockets of American workers.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who described the payroll tax cuts in 2012 as an "immediate job booster," has also done a 180 since the president signed his executive order. Like Biden, Pelosi now says payroll tax cuts threaten Social Security and Medicare.
This is exactly why Congress failed to pass a relief bill to help struggling Americans. The Democrats care more about scoring political points than they care about helping the American people.