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

The president wants to play Santa Claus before the Nov. 3 election, though this is a scheme that will come back to bite.

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President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Sept. 17.

Alex Brandon/AP Photos

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.

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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 versus 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 take-home 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 bait-and-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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