Libertarian, Green Parties Propose Significant Changes for Payroll


The 2016 party platforms of the Democratic and Republican parties, and the political positions of the parties’ respective presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, have received extensive media coverage. Many policies advocated by these parties and candidates would affect payroll if implemented, as would policies advocated by the Libertarian Party, with presidential candidate Gary Johnson, and by the Green Party, with presidential candidate Jill Stein.

Among the payroll-related policies advocated by Clinton and the 2016 Democratic platform are an increase to the federal minimum wage and an increase to the Social Security taxable wage base. The payroll-related policies advocated by Trump and the 2016 Republican platform include reductions in personal income tax rates and elimination of the Affordable Care Act. More details on the payroll-related policies advocated by the major parties’ 2016 platforms and presidential candidates are analyzed in the Aug. 10 issue of Payroll Administration Guide Newsletter, part of Bloomberg BNA’s Payroll Library.

Among the third parties, this blog post focuses on the Libertarian and Green Parties because their presidential candidates are widely expected to receive more votes this year than those of other third parties.   

The Libertarian Party would eliminate core components of payroll processing, as the party’s 2016 platform advocates a “repeal of the income tax, [and] the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service.” The 2016 Republican platform similarly used the word abolished to describe what should be done to the IRS, but did not call for repealing the federal income tax.

Other types of tax withholding, such as Social Security and Medicare tax withholding from employees’ pay, also would be eliminated by the Libertarians. “We oppose any legal requirements forcing employers to serve as tax collectors,” the party’s 2016 platform said. Also with regard to Social Security, the Libertarians propose to eventually eliminate the current Social Security system and replace it with a private, voluntary system, which consequentially would eliminate Social Security taxes.

The Libertarian platform, if implemented, would eliminate federal requirements regarding wage payment amounts, sick leave and similar benefits, since the party considers regulation of such aspects as “outside the scope of government.”

“Minimum wage is much ado about nothing,” Johnson said April 6 in an interview posted to Youtube. “Who’s to say the government is right? Let the marketplace function.”

In contrast to the Libertarian position on minimum wages, the Green Party platform advocates implementing a federal hourly minimum wage of $15, with indexing for inflation, a position also supported by the 2016 Democratic platform.

“We support the establishment of a reduced-hour work week and at least one month of vacation per year for all workers,” the Green Party platform said.

Stein supports a government-run, single-payer health care system. “We can create health care as a human right through an improved Medicare-for-all system of everybody in, nobody out,” she said during her presidential nomination acceptance speech Aug. 6.

How Stein’s proposed health system would affect current Medicare taxation and Affordable Care Act procedures is unclear, so the payroll implications of her plan are not known.

The Greens, also in stark contrast to the Libertarians, oppose Social Security privatization. Presumably, Social Security taxation therefore would continue under a Stein presidency.

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