Democrats’ Hypocrisy on the Payroll Tax Suspension
Unsurprisingly, President Trump’s executive actions to bolster the economy drew criticism upon their release Saturday. Some conservatives outraged by Barack Obama’s “pen and a phone” strategy raised concerns about another instance of the executive circumventing Congress, and whether a future Democrat president would cite the Trump precedent to go even further in unilateral policy changes.
Democrats, however, took a much more disingenuous line of attack against the president’s payroll tax suspension, claiming that it would lead to the ruination of Social Security and Medicare. Yet an accurate examination of their record shows that on the payroll tax and protecting entitlement benefits for seniors, Democrats have little ground to stand on.
Joe Biden Avoided More Than $500,000 in Payroll Taxes
Biden’s Saturday statement on the executive orders said “our seniors and millions of Americans with disabilities are under enough stress without Trump putting their hard-earned Social Security benefits in doubt.” But the presumptive Democratic nominee has little ground to attack Trump’s payroll tax suspension, given that Biden previously avoided paying more than half a million dollars in payroll taxes.
In 2017 and 2018, Joe Biden and his wife Jill reported nearly $13.3 million in book royalties and speaking fees as profits from two S-corporations rather than taxable wages. This questionable tax maneuver allowed them to avoid paying payroll taxes on the millions they reported as corporate profits.
Of the more than half a million in payroll taxes they avoided, nearly $400,000 would have gone to Medicare, and more than $100,000 would have funded Obamacare. So much for “Middle-Class Joe” putting the health benefits of seniors ahead of lining his own pockets. For that matter, so much for Joe Biden caring about people with pre-existing conditions on Obamacare.
Bernie Sanders Wants to Abolish Medicare
Section 901(a)(1)(A) of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s bill, S. 1129, shows Democrats’ intentions. That section, beginning on page 63 of the legislation, includes the following language:
(A) no benefits shall be available under title XVIII of the Social Security Act for any item or service furnished beginning on or after the effective date of benefits under section 106(a);
Title XVIII of the Social Security Act refers to the Medicare program. In other words, Sanders and the other 133 congressional Democrats who support his bill — 14 in the Senate, and another 119 who co-sponsored companion legislation in the House — want to abolish Medicare. Section 701(d) of the legislation (page 59 of the Sanders bill) would also liquidate the Medicare trust funds, using those dollars to pay for the new single-payer program.
In calling the new program “Medicare for All,” Sanders and his fellow socialists continue to perpetuate a cruel bait-and-switch on American seniors. They want to take money promised to pay for benefits and divert those funds to pay for the health coverage of other individuals, including undocumented immigrants — making Sanders’ program not “Medicare for All” but “Medicare for None.”
The Democrats Raided Medicare to Pay for Obamacare
You don’t have to take my word for it on this one — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) admitted it herself. In a 2011 interview with CNBC, she said that Democrats “took half a trillion dollars out of Medicare” to fund Obamacare.
Among the many accounting gimmicks used to pass Obamacare, the biggest one centered on Democrats’ claim that the law genuinely improved Medicare’s solvency. In reality, the law worsened Medicare’s fiscal future.
By taking funds out of Medicare to pay for new entitlements, Obamacare diverted funds that could have improved the program’s financial soundness and stability. Worse yet, Democrats claimed that these savings would both extend Medicare’s solvency and fund Obamacare.
Not only does that position defy common sense, it improves Medicare’s financial position on paper only. Furthermore, enabling lawmakers in both parties to ignore the issue for another decade simply allows Medicare’s financial problems to fester and grow.
Another Raid on Medicare?
Ironically enough, Democrats tried to raid Medicare yet again earlier this summer, to pay for an Obamacare expansion. A bill that the Pelosi-led House passed in late June would take $448.2 billion in Medicare savings to fund additional Obamacare subsidies.
The party’s record — from Biden dodging payroll taxes to Sanders’ desire to abolish the program to Pelosi’s raids on Medicare — shows Democrats care less about protecting Medicare and Social Security for seniors and much more about using it as a slush fund to finance their other big-government goals. Therein lies the real source of their anger at President Trump’s attempt to let individuals keep more of their own money.
This post was originally published at The Federalist.