Democrats know they are vulnerable on the tax issue with voters. They are the party of higher taxes and Republicans are the party of lower taxes.
President Biden and congressional Democrats have been pushing tax increases nonstop since last year. They are trying to impose new and higher taxes on energy production, personal income, capital gains, small businesses and American corporations. Meanwhile, Republicans oppose tax increases, support tax reduction for American families and individuals and have proposed numerous tax cuts.
Because they desperately need a distraction on the tax issue, Democrats are claiming that Republicans want to raise taxes. Mr. Biden repeated the claim in a major speech deflecting blame for inflation, and even The Washington Post called him out for the tax lies, twice.
The left is basing its misleading claim on a personal brochure released by a single Republican senator — Rick Scott of Florida — which has zero support from other congressional Republicans.
Mr. Scott released this as one of 128 bullet points in his “Rescue America” brochure. It is the only proposal in his plan that deals with taxation. Mr. Scott states that half of the country does not pay federal income taxes and calls for them to be taxed so that they have “skin in the game.”
The tax plank was hastily drafted and has no support from any other Republican. But it is worth discussing the fallacy at the heart of it.
There are many ways to have “skin in the game.” Using the income tax as a proxy for “skin in the game” is as foolish as it is untrue. There are many reasons a taxpayer may not make enough to pay any federal income tax in a year — for instance, they may be taking time off in order to be a caretaker for an elderly relative or to go to welding school.
Income taxes are just one of many ways a person pays taxes. Americans pay payroll taxes including the 6.2% Social Security tax and the 1.45% Medicare tax.
They pay taxes on capital gains and dividends. They pay sales taxes on the purchase of many goods and services and pay taxes when purchasing gasoline. They pay excise taxes on the purchase of alcohol and tobacco. And fishing poles, fishing tackle and guns.
Americans are also impacted by corporate tax. According to the Tax Foundation, 70% of the corporate tax is borne by workers all Americans pay the corporate tax built-in to the price of goods and services.
Not only is the premise of Mr. Scott’s plan wrong, but the proposal undermines the Republican-passed Trump tax cuts, which took 3.67 million households off the income tax rolls.
The tax cuts reduced taxes for Americans at every income level, reduced tax brackets, doubled the standard deduction from $12,000 to $24,000 for a family, and doubled the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000.
This law saw strong tax reductions for taxpayers across the country, with Americans earning between $50,000 and $100,000 per year seeing tax reduction of 15%.
There are many proposals that Republicans support to build on this. For instance, Republicans support making these tax cuts, which are set to expire at the end of 2025, permanent.
They support expanding tax-advantaged savings accounts like 40(k)s, IRAs and HSAs. They support proposals to encourage economic growth and support allowing businesses to invest through the R&D tax credit and immediate expensing.
They support repealing the death tax and reducing taxes on capital gains.
Fortunately, there is no support for Mr. Scott’s ham-fisted bullet point.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said it would not become law, stating that the GOP “will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people.”
In its fact check, The Washington Post awarded the Biden assertion with three “Pinocchios” — noting that “no legislation has been crafted and no other Republican lawmakers have announced their support.”
Since his time as Florida governor, Mr. Scott has been a leader in cutting taxes. He cut taxes every year as governor and has supported tax cuts while serving in the Senate. As recently as last year, Mr. Scott wrote, “Tax increases are never the answer.”
Still, his clumsy plank to impose income taxes on as much as half of the country undermines this leadership and efforts to make the Trump tax cuts permanent.
Republicans support tax cuts that help the middle class while Democrats want to keep saddling the country with higher taxes and spending while giving the IRS invasive new power over households. It’s no wonder Mr. Biden is trying to distract voters with false assertions on taxes.
• Alex Hendrie is the director of tax policy at Americans for Tax Reform.