Trump Payroll Tax Deferral: 1.3 Million Military Members Forced Into Program, Can't Opt-Out

It has been announced that 1.3 military members have been forced into President Donald Trump's payroll tax deferral program, and they can't opt-out. According to Forbes, a White House official confirmed the plans, saying, "All active-duty military members, as well as federal civilian employees, will be subject to the president’s upcoming payroll tax deferral." The outlet went on to note that the "deferments are “non-negotiable," which means that those subject to the program are obligated to participate.

Payroll taxes include Social Security and Medicare from employees, as well as from employers. The purpose behind payroll tax cuts is to take less money from workers, as well as employers. On Sept. 1, Trump’s payroll tax deferral initiative took effect, but Forbes notes that it "landed with a thud." The outlet noted that very few private employers have voiced intent to participate in the program. Most are wary of the program, as the deferred money would eventually have to be paid back. The idea of payroll tax cuts have become a widely discussed issue surrounding second stimulus plan negotiations.

Many argue that payroll tax cuts would actually be detrimental to the social security program. "Trump's proposed payroll tax cut would do nothing for the 30 million who lost jobs during the pandemic while taking money away from Social Security," Senator Bernie Sanders previously said of the plan. "Instead, we must extend unemployment benefits, provide $2,000 a month to every working-class American, and expand Medicare to all."

Senator Kamala Harris — who is now the running mate for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden — added, "If Trump and Republicans succeed, this would be a gut-punch for unemployed Americans. A payroll tax cut doesn’t help those who aren’t on a payroll, and slashed unemployment benefits won’t help people get back on their feet. This should be a nonstarter."

Most recently, Representative Don Beyer (D-VA) commented on the payroll tax cuts, and criticized the plan. Beyer represents the largest number of federal employees of any U.S. representative, and a significant portion of those federal employees have been impacted by Trump's forced payroll tax cuts plan. "The Trump administration’s plan to initiate payroll tax deferrals for civil servants treats the federal workforce as a guinea pig for a bad policy that businesses already rejected as 'unworkable,'" said Beyer. "This payroll tax deferral does not really put money in workers’ pockets, it simply sets up the members of the federal workforce who can least afford it for a big tax bill that many will not expect."