When 9/11 hit, the Bush administration saw that the terror event could have serious ramifications on the economy as people naturally would pull back on spending out of fear of further geo-political and domestic crises. And in the wake of this the President not only went on the air encouraging people to spend using the guise of 'Don't let the terrorists win', but he also got Congress to approve a tax rebate to filter billions of dollars into consumer's pockets so they would prime the pump to keep spending.
Then following the 2008 Financial Crisis and subsequent Great Recession, that decade of spending that was additionally fueled by near zero interest rates and a housing bubble which gave homeowners a virtual 'equity checkbook' came to an abrupt halt as job losses, foreclosures, and the realization of massive consumer debt put the economy into its worst environment since the Great Depression.
So the Fed then embarked on a new program called Quantitative Easing where they pumped $10's of trillions of dollars onto Wall Street and the Federal Government to facilitate the creation of not just one asset bubble, but multiple ones in housing, stocks, student loans, automobile loans, and the bond market. And this provided the illusion of recovery, but only sustainable as long as the increased printing of money did not reach the point of diminishing returns.
But alas, that happened during 2015 where it takes at least $4 new printed dollars to equal $1 new dollar in GDP growth.
As we reach the end of the first quarter of 2017, the data is signalling the tipping point of all of these bubbles, and an end to consumers being able to borrow and spend beyond their means. Retailers are closing stores and filing for bankruptcies at accelerating rates, and earlier this month credit card debt for Americans crossed over $1 trillion for the first time since prior to the 2008 crash.
So with consumer and government spending making up 80-85% of the nation's GDP, what is left for Congress and/or the Fed to scheme up to keep the economy from 'officially' spinning back towards an ever greater recession than nine years ago?
One proposal suggested by a Congressional lobbyist to legislators would be to cut or eliminate the Social Security tax paid by workers and business owners in favor of getting that money into the pockets of consumers so they can keep the ponzi scheme going for a few more years.
President Trump and his Republican colleagues are in a precarious position at the moment. They need to find ways to trim costs, yet not at the expensive of expanding the federal deficit. One idea being floated around Washington by a GOP lobbyist, according to Fox News, is one that would see the payroll tax drastically cut or eliminated entirely.
In 2015, Social Security generated $920.2 billion in revenue, and the payroll tax accounted for 86.4% of that revenue. The payroll tax, which also funds Medicare, is a 15.3% aggregate tax on earned income. Overall, 12.4% goes to fund Social Security, and 2.9% funds Medicare. However, most workers are only responsible for half of this amount, with their employers covering the remainder. Thus, your responsibility as a worker is often 7.65% of your earned income (6.2% to Social Security and 1.45% to Medicare). Only the self-employed wind up paying the full 15.3%.
Even then, Social Security's payroll tax has added exemptions. Earned income is taxed between $0.01 and $127,200, as of 2017. Any additional income above and beyond $127,200 is free and clear of taxation, which is a big benefit to the wealthy.
Under the Republican proposal, the payroll tax for Social Security (the aforementioned 12.4% tax) would be eliminated, while the Medicare tax of 2.9% would remain in place.
Why eliminate this absolutely critical source of funding? Removing the Social Security payroll tax would add $3,100 to the pockets of the average Americans household earning $50,000 a year. Republican lawmakers have long believed that putting money back into the pockets of Americans is the best way to stimulate our consumption-driven economy. - Madison