Thursday, August 20, 2020

Payroll Taxes Are the Achilles Heel of Social Security

On August 8th, Donald Trump took four executive actions on coronavirus relief. One was a memorandum deferring, to the end of the year, payment of the employee portion of the payroll tax for employees making less than $4000 biweekly. (Employer payments had already been deferred in the CARES act.)

He did this, according to the language of the memorandum, because “This modest, targeted action will put money directly in the pockets of American workers, and generate additional incentives for work and employment, right when the money is needed most.”

In an additional Trumpian flourish, he stated: “If victorious on November 3rd, I plan to forgive these taxes and make permanent cuts to the payroll tax…I’m going to make them all permanent,” and: "If I win, I may extend and terminate… I'll extend it beyond the end of the year and terminate the tax."

To that effect, he included this language in the memorandum: “The Secretary of the Treasury shall explore avenues, including legislation, to eliminate the obligation to pay the taxes deferred pursuant to the implementation of this memorandum.”

The “payroll tax” is, of course, the FICA tax—part paid by the employer and part by the employee—that is earmarked for the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds. The understanding is that Social Security and Medicare (SS&M) benefits are paid out from these funds. For FDR, that understanding “justified” SS&M in fiscally stringent terms that would make SS&M impervious to challenge from conservative politicians: “We put those pay roll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions and their unemployment benefits. With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program.”

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Critical Hour Discussion of Dem Delegates' Protest of Biden's "horror show" Foreign-Policy Team (8/7/2020)

 Is New York Attorney General's Lawsuit Seeking to Dissolve NRA Political Folly?

"Russia continues to use a network of proxy websites to spread pro-Kremlin disinformation and propaganda in the United States and other parts of the West, according to a State Department report released on Wednesday," the New York Times reported on August 5. "The report is one of the most detailed explanations yet from the Trump administration on how Russia disseminates disinformation, but it largely avoids discussing how Moscow is trying to influence the current campaign." Here we go again.

A Thursday headline in the Washington Post read: "For 20th straight week, more than 1 million Americans filed jobless claims even as enhanced benefits expired." The subheadline noted, "Nearly 1.2 million Americans sought the benefits last week, down slightly from the week before."

It’s Friday, so that means it’s panel time. Joining the first panel are Jim Kavanagh, political analyst and commentator and editor of The Polemicist whose latest piece is entitled of “Over the Rainbow: Paths of Resistance After George Floyd”; and Dr. Clarence Lusane, political scientist, former chair of the Political Science Department at Howard University, internationally recognized expert on international and comparative politics, international poll-watcher, author, professor and activist. They discuss a Wednesday article in HuffPost that was entitled "DNC Delegates Call Biden's Foreign Policy Team ‘A Horror Show’ And Ask For New Hires."

Thursday, August 6, 2020

By Any Means Necessary Discussion of GDP Plunge and Trump Floating Election Delay (7/30/2020)

 Trump Floats Election Delay As US Economy Contracts At 33% Annual Rate

In this segment of By Any Means Necessary hosts Sean Blackmon and Jacquie Luqman are joined by Jim Kavanagh, political analyst and contributor to Counterpunch and ThePolemicist.net (where you can read his latest piece, "Over The Rainbow: Paths of Resistance After George Floyd"), to talk about ongoing concerns that President Trump will attempt to postpone the elections and how this morning's unprecedented news that the US economy contracted by nearly a third in the last quarter may be impacting Trump's political calculus.


“By Any Means Necessary” on Radio Sputnik is hosted by Sean Blackmon and Jacquie Luqman and aims to connect the political, social and economic movements shaping the world around us. With a sensibility informed by movements from Black Power to #BlackLivesMatter with a dash of Occupy, the show elevates the people and narratives that (while often ignored) are driving some of the most important changes in the world.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Discussion with Charles Dunaway on His Wider View Radio Podcast (7/30/2020)

Jim Kavanagh on the George Floyd Protests, COVID, and the election

This is the first episode since our summer hiatus and I am delighted to welcome Jim Kavanagh back to kick off our 4th season of Wider View.  
Jim refers to a recent article by Ajamu Baraka and echoes his call to expand the George Floyd protests into a struggle for the structural change that we need in this nation. (Broadcast on August 1)

PressTV Discussion of Unprecedented Drop in GDP (7/31/2020)

Second-quarter GDP plunged by worst-ever 32.9% amid virus-induced shutdown


PressTV Discussion of EU Coronoavirus Recovery Plan (7/19/2020)

EU summit on post-coronavirus economic recovery plan ends without breakthrough

The EU leaders gathering together in Brussels to discuss the €750-billion coronavirus recovery package, but they didn't manage to reach an agreement on a deal.


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