Rick Scott’s tax plan is a scary idea

The following editorial was published in The Daily Sun on April 1, 2022.

OUR POSITION: If Republicans embrace Sen. Rick Scott’s tax ideas they will jeopardize a chance to control Congress.

U.S. President Joe Biden wants to impose a 20% minimum tax on billionaires and raise corporate tax rates.

On the other side of the partisan aisle, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Florida, is leading an effort to have the poorest Americans pay a minimum tax.

Scott’s plan would implement a $1,000 tax, on average, on the poorest 40% of American taxpayers. In Florida, 40.5% of taxpayers in the state would see a tax hike, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).

Scott’s tax plan is regressive in nature. At bare minimum it would require all taxpayers, no matter how poor, to pay a minimum federal levy.

“All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if it is a small amount. Currently over half of Americans pay no income tax,’ Scott said in announcing the controversial plan.

Even with a nominal payment of $1, $100 or $200 to have ‘skin in the game,’ Scott’s plan could raise taxes even more on the lower income taxpayers if it eliminates or minimizes tax credits.

Households and individuals making less than $24,100 per year would pay $1,050 in taxes, under Scott’s plan. Many of those households pay no federal taxes now. Those making $24,100 to $45,600 would see a $1,390 tax hike, according ITEP.

The problem is many of those at the top of the economic ladder also pay little or no taxes via loopholes, well-paid lobbyists and friendly lawmakers who write even friendlier tax codes.

Those at the top would see no tax increases under Scott’s plan.

We have to ask Senator Scott if those at the top and powerful multinational corporations that park their assets and tax burden in Cayman Islands also need to have skin in the game.

Scott’s plan will have trouble garnering support in Congress. Raising taxes on Bezos, Gates and Warren Buffett is one thing but the idea of increasing the government’s financial burden on cashiers, preschool teachers, landscapers and warehouse workers is something straight out of Sheriff of Nottingham tax the poor folklore.

The coronavirus pandemic has been one of the largest transfers of wealth in human history.

Billionaires, such as Musk and Bezos, expanded their riches exponentially during the pandemic.

Record stock prices and rising real estate values have helped drive wealth accumulations.

Big pharmaceutical companies, grocery chains and big-box retailers have reaped incredible profits during the pandemic.

White-collar and professional workers were able to work at home and have seen their home equity increase with real estate prices up.

Again, that has helped wealth accumulation at the top.

On the other side of the economic coin, restaurant servers, bartenders, hotel workers and other service workers lost jobs and saw their pay cut.

Scott’s notion that the poor aren’t paying enough taxes while the rich and super rich benefit from tax shelters and tax breaks could have some political peril for Republicans.

The GOP is poised to do well in the 2022 midterms. The highest inflation in 40 years, $4 and $5 per gallon gasoline and worries about food prices and shortages spell bad news for Biden and Democrats.

But if the GOP’s agenda aims to tax the poor, that advantage will be diminished in 2022 and 2024 and Democrats and Biden can play the Robin Hood card.

 Image Credits: AP/Andrew Harvik