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Trump Vows Payroll Tax Cut in Face of Covid-19

As stocks plunge, Trump says U.S. economy is in great shape and promises 'dramatic' economic relief.

President Donald Trump said Monday his administration will be meeting with House Republicans Tuesday to discuss a "substantial" payroll tax cut, and "getting help" for hourly workers, as well as working with companies on an economic relief plan in the face of spreading worries about the Covid-19 outbreak and record-breaking declines in the financial markets.  

Trump spoke early Monday evening, during a White House coronavirus task force briefing. He added there would be a press briefing Tuesday promising "dramatic" economic steps. 

Vice President Mike Pence, also speaking at the briefing, reiterated the administration's assertion that Covid-19 presents a very small risk to Americans. 

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin addressed the decline in stocks, saying he is confident about the strength of the U.S. economy, and that managing the situation is a matter of having the "proper tools for liquidity to get through the next few months."

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Federal health officials said new guidance will be issued Monday night or Tuesday informing businesses, institutions and the general public on how to help prevent the spread of the virus.

U.S. stocks tanked Monday, global stocks sank and bond yields were sharply lower as investors' fears about the spread of the coronavirus deepened and oil prices plunged as producers argued over how to cut production and lift prices in the face of weaker demand. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 2,013 points, or 7.78%, to 23,851, the S&P 500 declined 7.6% and the Nasdaq sank 7.29%. The Dow had its worst day since December 2008.

With global coronavirus infections rising to 113,579 and the death toll from coronavirus Covid-19 just below 4,000, global investors can no longer ignore the virus's impact on the world economy. In the U.S., the CDC reports 423 confirmed cases and 19 deaths as of Monday. The Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering, reports 605 cases in the U.S. with 22 deaths.

Compounding the global market selloff was a dramatic fall Monday in government-bond yields. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury slumped to an all-time low of 0.318% overnight, one of the sharpest declines since the financial crisis. At last check, the yield was 0.57%.