When Donald Trump issued his executive order putting a temporary stop to the federal payroll tax, it also stopped payments into the Social Security system.
His actions are supposedly temporary and they may be challenged in court. But like many things connected to the pandemic, his actions shine a light on the corporate agenda and, in this case, how it targets those my age.
First, a word about Illinois teachers like me who are retired.
For all my teaching career (Chicago teachers have their own pension system) I paid into the Illinois Teacher Retirement System (TRS) nearly 10% of my pay. The pension I receive is instead of Social Security.
Illinois teachers don’t get Social Security.
Unlike private employers, neither my school district nor the state pay anything into Social Security, saving school districts billions of dollars over the years.
The state of Illinois consistently fails to meet its pension payment obligations. Former Illinois Republican attorney general Ty Fahner said the practice would have landed a private employer in jail.
Let’s return to Trump’s executive action stopping the payroll tax.
Trump’s claim is that his executive order would put more money now into workers paychecks.
Put aside for a moment that due to Trump’s leadership there are nearly 40 million newly unemployed workers who no longer receive a paycheck.
And put aside for a moment that the payments to Social Security will have to be made up at a later date.
The payroll tax essentially funds Social Security and Medicare.
Trump’s order will stop nearly $350 billion in payments to Social Security.
If Trump is reelected and a Republican Congress eliminates the payroll tax permanently, as is the plan, it is estimated that the system will be broke by the end of Trump’s second term.
No more Social Security or Medicare.
Retired teachers in Illinois and around the country who depend on a state pension rather than Social Security battle repeated efforts, often initiated by Democrats, to reduce or eliminate state pension retirement benefits.
Now those who are depending on Social Security are also facing a scary future.
It’s the same fight.