Trump vows permanent cut to payroll tax funding Social Security and Medicare if he’s reelected

Major changes to the tax code fall entirely to Congress, so Trump alone cannot waive Americans’ tax debts or enact permanent changes to tax law. Democrats and Republicans alike already had balked at Trump’s push for a payroll tax holiday in negotiations over the next round of coronavirus aid, suggesting a more lasting tax cut may be even tougher to secure if Trump does indeed win reelection.

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In doing so, though, Trump would be embarking on a fraught process that could have catastrophic fiscal effects on programs including Social Security, which watchdogs recently have warned is in dire financial straits, expected next year to have costs that exceed its total incomes.

“By having a permanent cut, that immediately makes you ask the question on what’s going to happen on the benefits side,” Garrett Watson, a senior policy analyst at the Tax Foundation, said. “That would make it worse if you didn’t have a source of revenue to backfill [the cut].”

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