CLAIM: Former Vice President Joe Biden claimed: “Donald Trump will bankrupt Social Security by 2023. … Google it.”
VERDICT: FALSE. Biden has used this false claim many times before. It is Biden who has proposed cuts to the program.
Throughout the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden has told voters that President Trump plans to cut Social Security — a familiar attack line from Democratic campaigns for decades. He tried the same tactic on Thursday in Tampa, Florida.
Ironically, as Trump has pointed out in video clips at recent rallies, it is Biden who once proposed Social Security cuts:
— Team Trump (Text VOTE to 88022) (@TeamTrump) October 24, 2020
Breitbart News fact-checked Biden’s claim in August:
On Monday, former Vice President Joe Biden claimed that Trump “said” he would defund Social Security.
Donald Trump said that if he’s re-elected, he’ll defund Social Security.
We can't let that happen.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 10, 2020
Trump never said that. What he did say is that he wanted to make payroll tax cuts permanent if he was re-elected.
Payroll taxes, deducted from employees and employers, are the chief mechanism through which Social Security is funded. They are also controversial, since they act as a tax on work and hiring, and hit the poorest Americans.
Economists have debated alternative ways to raise the same revenue. Some on the left have even proposed taxing carbon emissions instead, which would have the effect of rewarding work while also encouraging efficient energy use and helping the environment.
In the past, Democrats — including Biden — have supported temporarily suspending the payroll tax. The Obama-Biden administration adopted that policy during the last recession, and President Barack Obama touted it on the campaign trail.
Over the weekend, President Trump told reporters specifically that his own temporary payroll tax cut, which will last until the end of the year, would not cost Social Security anything because missing funds would be reimbursed by the Treasury.
Biden told his audience at a drive-in rally in Florida that the “Social Security actuary” said Trump’s policy of eliminating the payroll tax would bankrupt the system by 2023, and challenged his audience to “Google it.” So … someone actually did that:
Biden claims, citing the social security actuary, that @realdonaldtrump's social security plan "will bankrupt Social Security by 2023. …Google it. You'll see what I'm telling you."
— (((Jason Rantz))) on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) October 30, 2020
Here is what FactCheck.org said: “The Social Security Administration’s chief actuary analyzed “hypothetical legislation” that would eliminate the payroll tax that funds Social Security — not a proposal from Trump. The president has said he won’t cut benefits.”
And here is what PolitiFact said: “Overall, Trump’s comments suggest he wants a fully funded Social Security program, but he doesn’t want the taxes that pay for it. This is contradictory, but it doesn’t mean he wants Social Security to run out of money in three years.
“We rate the claim Mostly False.”
Update: Biden told the lie again on Friday in Des Moines, Iowa:C-SPAN
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.