As President Donald Trump’s advisers cast about for ways to cut taxes to juice the economy, temporarily trimming payroll taxes has fallen out of favor, and with good reason: voters might not even notice it.

While a payroll tax cut could help increase consumer spending to head off a potential economic slowdown it would be one of the least visible boosts to workers’ paychecks.

With a payroll tax cut “you’re getting some economic advantages but sacrificing the political advantage of big, fat check signed by President Trump that is very visible and salient to people,” said Ernie Tedeschi, a policy economist for Evercore ISI.

Trump insists that the economy is strong, but his advisers are quietly discussing options for tax cuts as signs of slowing growth have roiled financial markets and sent Treasury yields toward records lows. While a payroll tax cut has been under discussion, a White House official said Monday that such a move isn’t currently on the table.

“I’ve been thinking about payroll taxes for a long time,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday. The president also said, “We’re looking at various tax reductions” but that the White House does that “all the time.” Trump said “we’re very far” from a recession.

Payroll taxes -- a 7.65% levy automatically taken from paychecks to fund Social Security and Medicare -- are a hidden tax for many people. While taxpayers are likely to spend a modest increase in their take-home pay, they probably won’t recognize that it’s from a federal tax change.

‘Sending a Check’

President Barack Obama didn’t get credit for several tax cuts -- including a temporary reduction in the payroll tax -- implemented at the start of his administration as a counterweight to the recession in 2008.

The payroll cuts under Obama reduced the tax burden for a median-income family by about $996, according to Politifact. Spread over a twice-a-month pay days, that meant about $41.50 extra in each check.

The money got into the economy quickly, but the amounts were so small that people largely didn’t notice, said Dean Baker, a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

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