Progressive New Jersey Democrat Lisa McCormick denounced Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott’s ‘Rescue America’ plan, saying the GOP lawmaker would upend the stability of the American government, destroy our remaining middle-class and endanger programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
The Florida Republican proposed an 11-point plan that says, ‘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, who is chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, also says: ‘All federal legislation sunsets in five years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again.’
“Republican Senator Rick Scott would raise taxes on half of Americans and sunset programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, so they can expire during periods of gridlock because he has a really poor perspective on what government can and should do,” said McCormick. “Abraham Lincoln said, ‘The legitimate object of government is to do for the community of people whatever they need to have done, but can not do at all, or cannot so well do, for themselves in their separate individual capacities.’ That remains true to this day.”
“According to Henry David Thoreau, ‘That government is best which governs least.’ I believe that is true, but the government must also be big enough to take on the great challenges of militarily defending against forces that may destroy the world, regulating multinational corporations with billions or trillions in resources, as well as large-scale, long-term threats like the changing climate,” said McCormick. “Government must be big and powerful enough to successfully protect against big and powerful threats.”
McCormick also quoted President Thomas Jefferson, who said, “The purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness. Government exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors.”
“On the Supreme Court and in the Congress, some Republicans believe our republic must remain unchanging in the tides of time, so it is important for you to elect leaders who understand that the Constitution must be a living document to serve the needs of a rapidly transforming society,” said McCormick.
Privately, even Republican campaigns mocked the plan, questioning why the Florida Republican released it in the first place — and stressing that the GOP would never suggest raising taxes during a midterm year featuring record-high inflation even if some Republicans want to shift more of the tax burden onto the backs of working people.
McCormick questioned whether Scott understands how the federal government is financed and recommended that he pick up a copy of Stephanie Kelton’s brilliant exploration of modern monetary theory, The Deficit Myth.
In the fiscal year 2015, the total federal revenues were about $3.18 trillion, of which individuals paid $1.48 trillion in income taxes (47% of the total). Corporations on the other hand paid just $341 billion (11% of total revenues).
In fiscal year (FY) 2021, income taxes will account for 50%, payroll taxes make up 36%, and corporate taxes supply 7%. The rest is made up of estate taxes, excise and customs duties, and interest on the Federal Reserve’s holdings of U.S. Treasury notes.
FY 2021 federal revenues weren’t enough to pay for all the government spending, which created a $966 billion budget deficit.
Income taxes will contribute $1.932 trillion. Another $1.373 trillion will come from payroll taxes. This includes $1.011 trillion for Social Security, $308 billion for Medicare, and $43 billion for unemployment insurance. Corporate taxes will add another $284 billion. The Tax Cut and Jobs Act cut taxes for corporations much more than it did for individuals. In 2015, corporations paid 11%, and income taxpayers paid 47%.
The Federal Reserve, whose revenue comes from a variety of sources, contributes $71 billion. The Fed is the bank for federal government agencies, and it pays interest on the billions of dollars in operating funds deposited by these agencies. In addition, the Fed owns $4 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities that it acquired through quantitative easing.2
The remainder of federal revenue comes from excise taxes ($87 billion), tariffs on imports ($54 billion), estate taxes ($22 billion), and miscellaneous receipts ($40 billion).
“For the last four or five decades, Republicans and their neoliberal enablers have been shifting the cost of government away from the wealthy,” said McCormick. “The ultra-wealthy have then used their assets to bribed politicians, who in turn shift more money into their pockets, creating a situation that really benefits nobody because it puts our entire world at risk.”
McCormick has championed the hashtag #ReverseReaganomics, arguing that Americans must abandon ‘trickle-down economics’ in order to restore liberty, security, prosperity and justice for all.
“Liberals took a nation on its knees from the Great Depression and turned it into the richest, most powerful country on the planet with a large, growing middle-class, and then we went to the Moon,” said McCormick. “Republicans turned that great country into the world’s biggest debtor nation, eviscerated the wages of ordinary working people and blamed the people who have been trying to stop them from doing that damage.”