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GOP Senator Calls for All Americans to Pay Federal Income Tax, Even Lowest Earners

Ruth Singleton
Published Date:
Feb 23, 2022

iStock-161760094 1040 Form

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) released a plan that would require all Americans to pay some federal income tax, even if it is a nominal amount, the Washington Post reported. The proposal was part of what he called an “11-point plan to rescue America”

About half of Americans do not pay federal income taxes because they do not earn enough or because they receive tax credits. Many of them still pay taxes on the state and federal level in the form of payroll taxes, sales taxes and other levies.

“All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount,” Scott’s proposal states. “Currently over half of Americans pay no income tax.” 

Sen. Scott’s proposal does not represent the view of all Senate Republicans. In fact, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that the Senate GOP will not release a platform ahead of the midterm elections.

And the senator faced quick criticism, including from his own party. “It’s dramatically off-message for where Republicans are going on taxes — they shouldn’t be talking about raising taxes on anybody,” said Brian Riedl, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a center-right think tank. “The GOP has moved away from the 2010 ‘makers and takers’ framework — so it’s a little outdated.”

Samuel Hammond, a policy expert at the Niskanen Center, another center-right think tank, even noted that the GOP tax cut of 2017 doubled the standard tax deduction — and therefore the number of Americans paying no federal income taxes.

But Frank Luntz, a former GOP pollster, said in an email, “Scott is clearly appealing to the center of the political and social spectrum. Most Americans do believe everyone should pay at least some taxes, but no one wants to pay more than their fair share."

As expected, Democrats were quick to denounce the plan. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Twitter: “Senate Republicans just released an economic plan that doesn’t include a single proposal to lower prices for the middle class. Instead he wants to raise taxes on half of Americans — including on seniors and working families.” 

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