Voters Overwhelmingly Oppose Trump’s Plan to Defund Social Security

Via Data For Progress | Donald Trump has promised that, if reelected, he will “terminate” payroll contributions, Social Security’s dedicated revenue. New, powerful polling by Data for Progress reveals that this promise is incredibly unpopular – even among Republicans.

To be clear, Trump says he will end “payroll taxes.” Though commonly used, the phrase “payroll taxes” is misleading. The monies, withheld from employees’ wages and matched dollar for dollar by employers, are more appropriately called insurance contributions or premiums. Authorized by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, they are the monies withheld from workers’ pay in exchange for Social Security’s retirement annuities, life insurance, and disability insurance. As President Roosevelt explained, “We put those payroll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their [Social Security] pensions.”

Social Security does not add a penny to the deficit, because it can only pay benefits if it has the dedicated revenue to cover the cost. At a moment when the government is running unprecedented deficits, keeping Social Security self-financing is more important than ever. 

The polling suggests that Americans understand all of this. We are divided on many issues, but Social Security isn’t one of them. Regardless of political affiliation, people understand the importance of Social Security’s modest benefits and don’t want to see the program’s funding jeopardized. 

When people are asked about deferring or eliminating “the payroll tax,” told it funds Social Security, and given straightforward arguments for and against the proposal but given no partisan cues about who supports or opposes this plan, 71 percent oppose and only 17 percent support. The opposition consists of 74 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of Independents, and 70 percent of Republicans.

Read more: Data for Progress »

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