By Carol Frenier
It is not surprising that members of Congress (both Democrats and Republicans) are balking at the thought of suspending the payroll tax to offset the economic effects of the coronavirus. There are already cries of distress about the cost of such a suspension from the very same people who have allowed a national debt in the trillions to amass over decades.
But as a private citizen, and more specifically as a business owner, my immediate response is a resounding “yes.” For the better part of four decades, I have done the payroll for my company. In my case that means that twice a month I cut payroll checks, after deducting 6% from each employee’s salary. That 6%, along with another 6% that my company pays for each employee, gets deposited as a “payroll tax” to the federal government.
So, think of it: 6% of each employee’s salary, plus another 6% that businesses would otherwise have to pay, would be freed up to help people cope with the virus. Maybe that means staying at home longer if an employee is sick or taking personal time off to care for someone in his or her family who gets seriously ill. Maybe it means an employer can pay temporary wages to someone filling in for someone who is ill. Along with loans from the Small Business Administration that are part of the president’s program, local needs can be dealt with locally.
And it gets better. Suspending the payroll tax can happen in a matter of days — no new government administrators are needed, no new regulations, no paperwork. The process is already in place. Just suspend it.
There is no need for growth of government at all. Perhaps that is exactly why the Congress is resisting it.
Carol Frenier is a business owner living in Chelsea, Vermont. She is the chair of the Orange County Republican Committee.