Chicago Sun-Times

Trump wants to de­fer pay­roll taxes be­cause he thinks you are stupid

- Taxes · U.S. News · US Politics · Politics · Business · Donald Trump · Illinois · Washington · Republican Party (United States) · United States Senate · Oklahoma · Utah · Alabama · South Dakota · North Dakota · Mendoza · United States of America · U.S. Chamber of Commerce · Fortune 500 · Santa Claus, AZ · Susana Mendoza

Don­ald Trump thinks you are stupid. Noth­ing else ex­plains why the pres­i­dent has or­dered that pay­roll taxes for many fed­eral em­ploy­ees and the mil­i­tary be de­ferred un­til next year, al­low­ing him to play Santa Claus be­fore the Nov. 3 election, when it is so ob­vi­ous that this will come back to bite.

For good rea­son, a ma­jor­ity of states and ci­ties, in­clud­ing Illi­nois and Chicago — and many For­tune 500 com­pa­nies — al­ready have de­clined Trump’s in­vi­ta­tion to do the same.

This is not a par­ti­san Wash­ing­ton is­sue. The Repub­li­can-con­trolled Se­nate ran away from the idea last sum­mer. It’s also not a red state vs. blue state is­sue. Among the 27 states that have made clear they want no part of this scheme are deeply Repub­li­can states such as

Ok­la­homa, Utah, Alabama, South Dakota and North Dakota.

It’s a mat­ter of com­mon sense. Santa Trump wants em­ploy­ers to stop with­hold­ing a 6.2% So­cial Se­cu­rity tax through the end of the year for work­ers who make less than $4,000 ev­ery two weeks. But — and here’s the coal in the stock­ing — em­ploy­ers then would need to collect ev­ery penny of that de­ferred tax by in­creas­ing with­hold­ings from pay­checks from Jan­uary through April.

Come the new year, your take­home pay would be lower than it is now.

For­giv­ing those de­ferred taxes — ab­solv­ing you from hav­ing to pay them later — would re­quire con­gres­sional ac­tion. But Congress has made clear it has no stom­ach for writ­ing off bil­lions of dol­lars in fund­ing for the sin­gle most pop­u­lar en­ti­tle­ment pro­gram in Amer­i­can history — So­cial Se­cu­rity.

Mess­ing with So­cial Se­cu­rity, po­lit­i­cally speak­ing, is a fool’s game.

“Pres­i­dent Trump’s or­der is a cruel hoax,” Illi­nois Comptrolle­r Su­sana Men­doza told us. “It’s a bai­tand-switch. In ef­fect, he’ll let you breathe a lit­tle eas­ier for the next few months. Then he’ll suf­fo­cate you start­ing in Jan­uary.”

The find­ing that at least 27 states al­ready have de­cided not to de­fer the tax comes from a sur­vey con­ducted, at Men­doza’s re­quest, by the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of State Au­di­tors, Comptrolle­rs and Trea­sur­ers. As of Thurs­day, not a sin­gle state had re­ported that it would, in fact, de­fer the tax, and other states were still de­cid­ing.

“Clearly, this is not a par­ti­san is­sue,” Men­doza said. “When you have most states and busi­nesses, in­clud­ing the U.S. Cham­ber of Com­merce, ig­nor­ing his ex­ec­u­tive or­der, it reaf­firms how bad this pol­icy re­ally is.”

Trump thinks he’s the smartest per­son in any room. A corol­lary to that kind of think­ing is a sus­pi­cion that ev­ery­body else is a lit­tle bit stupid. It’s the mind-set of a car­ni­val barker.

Trump’s pay­roll tax de­fer­ral is just more snake oil for the rubes.

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