President Trump Employs Ineffective Measures to Help the American People
By: Ian Hill
President Donald Trump wanted to extend supplemental unemployment benefits, suspend a few payroll taxes, provide relief for student loans and offer eviction relief. Most likely all except the relief funds for student loans will not happen. Here are more details on what exactly these declarations from President Trump actually mean.
There was an urgent crisis at the end of July due to the expiration of the $600 weekly unemployment benefits, because of the nearly 30 million unemployed Americans that were relying on it. President Trump declared in a memo that he would be giving an extra weekly $400 in benefits. Policy analysts said that the plan in Trump’s memo was extremely complicated and costly for the states, and that the American people are unlikely to get their money very quickly, if at all.
This plan written out by President Trump is full of hitches. First off, recipients will only receive $300 because the Federal Government will pay for only 75 percent, while the states must chip in the other $100. They must do this for every recipient, every week. The states only have so much money. This is why this plan will be so costly for the states.
Two more big catches to this plan are that the federal money will get spent extremely quickly. President Trump told the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to use up $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund to cover the federal payments. Michele Evermore, who is a senior policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project, says that the $44 billion dollars would run out in 5-6 weeks. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget also evaluated that the money would only last 5 weeks.
Second, state governors have to agree to distribute money between their regular unemployment insurance system as a supplemental payment, which comes down hard on states that are already not doing well financially. In fact, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo from New York said that the president’s executive measures were on “shaky ground legally” and asking struggling states to increase their unemployment benefit payments is “laughable”.
What normally happens for people with an employer is that the employer pays 50% of the Social Security, and then holds back the other half from the paycheck. This is only true for people who earn less than $4000 every 2 weeks, which is equal to about $104,000 a year. The people who earn more than that will still be subject to withholding. Because this cap is per individual and not per household, two-income families might have at least one working adult qualify. Soon, the Internal Revenue Service will say when the taxes are due. Trump’s order says that the government would explore avenues, like legislation, to stop the obligation that people have to pay their taxes deferred. This will most likely never happen.
The White House plans to extend the student loan relief funding by three months. This means that there are no payments due through September 30 on federal loans. Interest will not accrue, although there was no loan cancellation that was associated with this order. If this actually happens, and it seems as though this may be the only one that does, the forbearance will last all the way through December 31.
President Trump’s order on assistance does not offer immediate hope for Americans about to lose their homes. During the Last week of July, the CARES Act put an order into place saying that no American would be in danger of eviction. This law included people who lived in apartments, qualified for the Section 8 rental assistance program or rented from landlords with certain types of mortgages. Now, however, those people do not have any protection whatsoever from the government. This directive directs some federal agencies to see what they can do to help, but instant help seems very unlikely at this point.