i9 Fact Checker: Biden ad misleads voters on Trump’s social security plan

Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 7:40 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The i9 Fact Checker analyzes claims in a current ad from Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign.

Source: The ad comes directly from the Joe Biden Campaign.

Claim #1: To put it plainly, Trump’s plan would wipe out social Security.

The claim stems from President Trump’s statement during an executive order signing and another press conference that he would eliminate the payroll tax if he wins reelection.

In response, four Senate Democrats wrote a letter requesting the Chief Actuary at the Social Security Administration to assess the impact.

In response to that, Stephen Gross, the Chief Actuary, sent a letter warning that hypothetical legislation eliminating the payroll tax would with no alternative sources of revenue cause certain programs to run out of money.

One program included the Old Age & Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, which provides automatic spending to pay monthly Social Security benefits to retired workers, would run out of money in 2023.

Another program included in the estimate was the Disability Insurance Trust Fund, which gives out monthly benefits to disabled-workers, would run out of money in 2021.

However, the letter also noted that hypothetical legislation hasn’t been proposed.

ABC News reported White House press secretary Kayleigh McEneany said Trump misspoke, intending to say he would eliminate the deferred payroll taxes for this year only. President Trump gave companies the option to defer those taxes, meaning they would be owed later, earlier this year as an option to effectively give Americans a tax cut in response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump later said made a similar clarification in a September press conference, specifically noting he would make sure Social Security would not lose funding.

“When we win the election — when I win the election, I’m going to completely and totally forgive all deferred payroll taxes without in any way, shape, or form hurting Social Security,” Trump said. “That money is going to come from the General Fund. We’re not going to touch Social Security.”

CONCLUSION: President Donald Trump has said he plans to get rid of payroll taxes multiple times. However, his aides said the President misspoke and the President has clarified that he only wanted to forgive some payroll tax payments this year, not get rid of them entirely. Furthermore, he has said he would backfill any lost funding to Social Security from other sources.

Biden’s facts check out but it lacks that context. The letter from the Chief Actuary said those predictions would only come true if those cuts were permanent and no other source of revenue was added. That’s why this claim gets a ‘C’.

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