Readers should beware multi-millionaires advocating the elimination of Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes during the Coronavirus pandemic (Suspend the Payroll Tax, 4/19/20). Steve Forbes and Arthur Laffer have joined the chorus of conservatives insisting that working people need “relief” from the very payroll contributions that fund their own retirement and health security. Never mind that cutting payroll taxes would do nothing to help the 22 million Americans who currently find themselves unemployed. Disregard the inconvenient truth that a payroll tax cut would accrue mainly to the benefit of higher income earners – who would reap thousands of dollars every year while lower-income workers would receive, on average, a few hundred. Steve Forbes has long advocated getting rid of Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes permanently. He also has supported raising the retirement age and privatizing Social Security. Laffer is the father of trickle-down economics, which posits that cutting employers’ taxes leads to job growth – and has been proven demonstrably false by forty years of history. Their payroll tax cut proposal is nothing more than another ploy to undermine two favorite conservative targets: Social Security and Medicare. The truth is, working people will need both programs when they retire a lot more than Steve Forbes and Arthur Laffer.
President & CEO
National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare
111 K St. N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002