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TRUTH TEST: Does Trump plan to eliminate Social Security? No.

Tom Hauser
Updated: September 21, 2020 06:40 PM
Created: September 21, 2020 05:16 PM

Presidential candidates have been accusing each other of being a threat to Social Security for several decades. Yet the Social Security system remains in place. A TV ad from the campaign of Democratic nominee Joe Biden says Social Security will be eliminated in 2023 under a plan by President Donald Trump.

"The current president is threatening to break that promise," of Social Security, says one Biden ad. "He's proposing to eliminate a tax that pays for almost half the Social Security without any way of making up for that lost revenue."

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He doubles down in a second ad that cites an analysis from a high-ranking Social Security Administration official.

"The chief actuary of the Social Security Administration just released an analysis of Trump's planned cuts to Social Security," the ad says. "Under Trump's plan, Social Security would become permanently depleted by the middle of calendar year 2023."

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It is true Trump has said he wants to reduce the payroll taxes that are paid by employees and employers, and help fund the Social Security and Medicare programs. However, he has repeatedly said he will protect Social Security benefits by making up for payroll tax revenue with other general fund money. This would have the impact of increasing the budget deficit.

It is also true the chief actuary from the Social Security Administration says eliminating all payroll taxes would jeopardize payments by 2023. However, he was responding to a letter from four Democratic Senators who posed a "hypothetical" plan, not one proposed by the President. 

"If Trump gets his way, Social Security benefits will run out in just three years from now," one Biden ad concludes. "Don't let it happen."

KSTP Truth Tests

It's not likely to happen because Trump hasn't proposed to eliminate Social Security. Even if he did, it would require Congress to approve it. There are also no plans in Congress to eliminate Social Security.

This ad is a mix of true, false and misleading claims and earned a C-minus on the "Truth Test."


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