《北威觀測站》  川普簽署紓困行政命令
《Bellwether Watchpoint》 Trump Signs Coronavirus Relief Executive Orders 2020.8.10

撰寫: Abby Dzeng

上週,美國會領袖在多次會議後仍未能在第二階段紓困計畫上達成共識。總統川普在美國時間週六(8/8)簽署了四道行政命令,延長上週結束的新冠病毒經濟紓困計畫。這些行政命令分別概括了每週400美元的失業救濟金、暫停課徵薪資稅、延長學貸還款期、延長凍結迫遷令。川普此舉從行政命令的細節到其本身的法律正當性都引起不小的爭議。

以暫停課徵薪資稅來說,川普的行政命令將暫時停止課徵年薪10萬美元以下的薪資稅(此稅由雇主和員工各負責一半,主要用來資助社會安全制度與聯邦醫療保險);他更進一步稱如果十一月獲選連任,將會完全「終結」此稅制。問題是,此行政命令只讓課稅日期延期至明年,若川普未獲選連任,或是連任後無法得到國會立法授權,這些員工因「免稅」省下來的薪資將必須繳回;另一方面,原本依靠此稅制運行的社會安全和醫療保險制度將會面臨極大危機。退一萬步說,眾多法律與稅制專家指出,光是延期稅制的行為就未必符合法律規範,因擁有課稅權力的是國會,而非總統。

雖然川普的四道行政命令是否可行仍有待商榷,但美股今晚開盤前的期貨卻正面回應。截至美國時間週一(8/10)上午5:30(台北時間週一下午5:30),道瓊期貨上漲105點,S&P 500期貨也見漲勢,Nasdaq則小跌0.02%左右。上週,道瓊總共上漲了3.8%,為六月以來最大漲幅,S&P 500和Nasdaq也上漲了2.5%。

但誠如一些經濟學家所指出的,美國財政懸崖是八月份很大的威脅,九月起這次新一輪的財政支助,雖將會創造又一波正面動力,但也將加劇美國政府的財政困窘;今晚的美股表現,將顯示市場如何看待川普的四項紓困行政命令。

Trump Signs Coronavirus Relief Executive Orders 2020.8.10

By Abby Dzeng

After the congressional leaders failed to reach an agreement on the second wave of coronavirus relief last week, President Donald Trump took matters to his own hands and signed four executive orders on Saturday (8/8). These executive orders include another round of unemployment benefits ($400 per week), a payroll tax holiday, a deferral of student loan payments, as well as the extension of a federal moratorium on evictions. The legal validity of Trump’s move is in question, as it is unclear whether he has the power to move around funds controlled by the Congress.

The executive order concerning payroll tax, specifically, is supposed to defer the collection of employee portions of the payroll tax for Americans earning less than $100,000 per year. Trump went on to add that if re-elected in November, he’d try and “terminate” the tax altogether, which is mainly used to fund Social Security and Medicare programs. One of the main issues here is that a tax deferral does not imply its forgiveness; in other words, if Trump isn’t back in the office after November (or if he is but fails to gain legal support from the Congress), the taxes will still be collected in the beginning of next year. Other concerns were raised, including the purpose of this tax – social security and medicare – being undermined, regarding this so-called payroll tax holiday. As a matter of fact, the mere deferral of taxes might be out of line for the President, as it is the Congress, not him, who holds the power to tax.

Although Trump’s executive orders might not be as solid as he had hoped, the futures market reacted positively regardless. As of Monday (8/10) 5:30am ET (5:30pm Taipei time), Dow Jones futures gained 105 points, and S&P futures were also up, while Nasdaq futures lagged behind at a 0.02% loss. Last week, the Dow rose an impressive 3.8% (the biggest weekly gain since June), while Nasdaq and S&P gained 2.5%.

However, some economists pointed out that the fiscal cliff will be a great risk in August. Even though the new round of fiscal support might bring out positive momentum in the market starting from September, it will no doubt worsen the existing financial issues within the US government. The stock market tonight will be an illustration of investors’ stands on Trump’s executive orders.

4 Executive Orders (1)

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