Rick Scott’s Illogical Defense of His Plan to Raise Taxes on Half the Country | National Review

Rick Scott’s Illogical Defense of His Plan to Raise Taxes on Half the Country | National Review

Rick Scott on election night in Naples, Fla., November 6, 2018 (Joe Skipper/Reuters)

Florida GOP senator Rick Scott recently proposed changing the law so that all Americans pay some federal income tax. This would mean raising taxes on about half the country.

“All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount. Currently over half of Americans pay no income tax,” Scott wrote in an eleven-point plan. 

Scott was acting on his own accord, but he is the National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman, and he’s gotten a lot of blowback. Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell said at a press conference this week that he opposes Scott’s plan.

Today, in the Wall Street Journal, Scott writes the following in defense of his proposal (emphasis added):

I went out and made a statement that got me in trouble. I said that all Americans need to have some skin in the game. Even if it is just a few bucks, everyone needs to know what it is like to pay some taxes. It hit a nerve. Part of the deception is achieved by disconnecting so many Americans from taxation. It’s a genius political move. And it is bankrupting us.

I’m a tax cutter — always have been, always will be. I cut taxes more than 100 times as governor of Florida. But now Chuck Schumer and the Democrats are faking outrage about my plan. Yet Americans want everyone to pay their fair share. Working Americans already pay taxes on their income, and retirees have paid plenty. The change we need is to require those who are able-bodied but won’t work to pay a small amount so we’re all in this together. That means both free-loaders who abuse the welfare system and billionaires who pay lawyers and lobbyists to help them get around the tax laws. This may be a scary statement in Washington, but in the real world it’s common sense.

Most Americans who do not pay federal income taxes already do pay thousands in Medicare and Social Security taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, etc. But what’s really baffling about Scott’s defense of his plan is his assertion that Americans who do not pay taxes now might only have to pay “a few bucks.” Does anybody believe that raising an American’s income-tax liability from $0 to $3 is going to change how that American views federal spending? Does three dollars really count as “skin in the game”?

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.