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特朗普誓言是否要 “终止” 社会保障?

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总统在 2020 年 8 月在他的高尔夫俱乐部举行的新闻发布会上阐述了几个不同的工资税计划。

【宣称】

2020 年 8 月,美国总统唐纳德·特朗普誓言 “终止” 社会保障。

【结论】

混合物

【原文】

In the summer of 2020, less than three months before that year’s U.S. presidential election, several readers asked Snopes to examine the accuracy of reports that President Donald Trump had vowed to “terminate” Social Security.

On Aug. 8, 2020, the non-profit group Social Security Works published a news release with the headline “Donald Trump: If Re-Elected, I Will ‘Terminate’ Social Security.” In the press release, the group’s president Nancy Altman wrote:

Donald Trump once promised that he would be ‘the only Republican that doesn’t want to cut Social Security.’ We now know that what he meant is that cutting Social Security doesn’t go far enough for him: He wants to destroy Social Security.

Donald Trump’s executive order, which seeks to defer Social Security contributions, is bad enough. But his promise to ‘terminate’ FICA contributions if he is reelected is a full-on declaration of war against current and future Social Security beneficiaries.

Social Security is the foundation of everyone’s retirement security. At a time when pensions are vanishing and 401ks have proven inadequate, Trump’s plan to eliminate Social Security’s revenue stream would destroy the one source of retirement income that people can count on. Moreover, Social Security is often the only disability insurance and life insurance that working families have. If reelected, Trump plans to destroy those benefits as well.

On the same day, left-leaning website Common Dreams posted an article whose headline read, “Donald Trump Just Admitted on Live Television He Will ‘Terminate’ Social Security and Medicare if Reelected in November.” The Common Dreams article stated that “President Donald Trump openly vowed to permanently ‘terminate’ the funding mechanism for both Social Security and Medicare if reelected in November … Announcing and then signing a series of legally dubious executive orders … Trump touted his order for a payroll tax ‘holiday’ — which experts noted would later have to be paid back — but said if he won in November that such a cut would become permanent.”

Trump did not explicitly vow to terminate Social Security, as those headlines claimed, but one of several plans he mentioned in an Aug. 8 press conference involved eliminating payroll taxes — a move that would, as things stand, remove the overwhelming majority of funding for Social Security and likely pose a threat to its continued existence.

 
Trump articulated several intentions in that section of his speech.

First, he said he planned to “forgive” the payroll taxes in question, meaning that rather than simply being delayed, the obligation to pay those four months’ worth of Social Security and Medicare taxes would be removed entirely. Second, he said he planned to “make permanent cuts to the payroll tax,” suggesting that the rate at which Social Security and Medicare contributions are withheld would be reduced from 6.2 % and 1.45 %, respectively. Third, Trump said he would “extend” the payroll tax deferral beyond Dec. 31. Finally, Trump said he would “terminate the tax.”

An important difference exists between extending the deferral of payroll tax obligations and forgiving deferred obligations — just as a very significant difference exists between cutting payroll taxes and terminating them entirely.

Although Trump articulated several plans for payroll taxes, it remains the case that he did at one point say he would “terminate the tax.” Doing so would remove the overwhelming majority of funding for the two benefits that comprise Social Security: Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI), and Disability Insurance (DI), known collectively as OASDI. According to the federal Social Security Administration, fully 89% of OASDI came from payroll taxes in 2019.

It is reasonable to suppose that removing so much funding for Social Security, without replacing it, would pose a threat to the continued existence of Social Security itself and its associated OASDI benefits. In his Aug. 8 remarks, Trump made no reference to a plan for replacing the funding that would be lost if he carried out his stated intention to terminate payroll taxes, nor has he done so anywhere else. (Snopes asked the White House and the Trump campaign to provide details on how the president intends to cover the shortfall in Social Security funding, but we did not receive a substantive response from either.)

Since Trump has publicly articulated an intention to eliminate payroll taxes, and he has not accompanied that with any proposal to replace the taxes as a source of Social Security funding, it is reasonable to argue that, as Social Security Works and Common Dreams did, Trump’s payroll tax proposals, as they stand, could effectively spell the end of Social Security.

However, it should not be ignored that, in the same Aug. 8 speech, Trump also articulated several other plans in relation to payroll taxes, and that at least one of those plans was mutually incompatible with “terminating the tax,” since Trump could not initiate “permanent cuts” to payroll taxes if those taxes no longer existed. As a result, we are issuing a rating of “Mixture” for this claim.

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