The truth is that the Biden campaign lied, according to The Washington Post, which awarded the campaign its maximum rating for untruthfulness over a recent ad.
The ad puts a highly unfavorable spin on President Donald Trump’s executive order that created a payroll tax holiday.
The order did not end the payroll tax, which funds Social Security, but deferred it. Trump’s order was accompanied by comments from the president saying that he would like to see the tax eliminated in the future and that if re-elected, he would seek to make that happen.
The Biden ad claimed: “The chief actuary of the Social Security Administration just released an analysis of Trump’s planned cuts to Social Security. Under Trump’s plan, Social Security would become permanently depleted by the middle of calendar year 2023.
If Trump gets his way, Social Security benefits will run out in just three years from now. Don’t let it happen. Joe Biden will protect Social Security.”
Well, not quite.
As The Post noted, Stephen Goss, the chief actuary of Social Security, was asked by four Democratic senators to respond to “hypothetical legislation” that would mandate a “zero percent” payroll tax.
The senators wanted to know how long it would take for Social Security to run out of funds if no money flowed into its coffers.
“I am not aware that anyone has proposed the hypothetical legislation you describe,” Goss riposted in his reply.
He then said that if there was no new money flowing, the fund would run dry up in 2023.
However, Goss also said that if any new legislation used the U.S. Treasury’s General Fund instead of the payroll tax as the source of the funding to meet Social Security’s needs, which is what Trump proposed, “the projected depletion date of the trust fund reserves would be essentially unaffected by the legislation.”
What this means, according to The Post, is that “Democrats ginned up a letter from the chief actuary to describe a plan that does not currently exist.”
“Trump certainly suggested he might eliminate the payroll tax, but then he pulled back from that idea and reiterated that any diversion for a payroll tax holiday would come out of general funds,” reporter Glenn Kessler wrote.
The ad implies that there is a reality that simply does not exist, he said.
“The ad refers to ‘Trump’s planned cuts.’ But there are no planned cuts,” Kessler wrote.
“The ad cites ‘Trump’s plan.’ But the actuary’s letter says it is referring only to a hypothetical plan sketched out by Democrats.”
The Post pointed out that the Biden campaign ad misrepresents Goss’ letter.
“The ad asserts that if ‘Trump gets his way,’ benefits will run out. But actually the letter says if transfers are made from general funds, no benefits would run out. That, at least at the moment, is what Trump says he would do.
“That adds up to Four Pinocchios,” Kessler wrote. On its ratings scale, no whopper is a bigger lie than one that receives four Pinocchios.
The White House and Trump campaign pushed back against the ad.
“The president was referring to making forgiveness of the temporary payroll tax deferral permanent,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Matthews told The Post. “President Trump wants to fully fund and protect Social Security as he has stated numerous times.”
Trump campaign spokesman Zach Parkinson added in a statement: “Joe Biden and his campaign’s scare tactics are a sad attempt to distract from his own record. President Trump and Administration officials have repeatedly said he wants to make the payroll tax cut deferral permanent to help America’s workers.
“The President has been clear: his payroll tax cut will have ‘zero impact’ on Social Security or the seniors that rely on the program. He supports transferring money from the government’s general coffers, protecting the program’s Trust Fund,” Parkinson added.
“America’s seniors can rest assured that President Trump will always protect Social Security, unlike Joe Biden who bragged in the 1990s about his efforts to ‘freeze’ benefits.”
— conservative fighters