You may recall that that on Wednesday we published the 31 page Republican plan for post-midterm governance: So THIS Is Why Republicans Didn't Want To Release Their Program For Governance. Turns out we were hardly the only ones who noticed Rick Scott's exhaustive red meat package tossed to his party's most fringe base.
When I suggested cynicism on Scott's part-- that he knew the whole thing was just pure nonsense and nothing more than a propaganda effort, a congressman who knows him well e-mailed me "Great, but he actually doesn’t know that it’s all bullshit. I suspect that he actually believes every word of it. No one has ever caught him being anything other than a right-wing nut job, even in private."
This morning the DNC started running ads in Florida based on Scott's Republican Party agenda. A DNC statement announcing the ads pointed out that "Scott and the Republican Party have made their agenda crystal clear: they want to raise taxes on over half of Americans-- including seniors and retirees-- without offering a single proposal to lower costs for hardworking families. This is the Republican Party’s official platform, and the DNC will use every resource at our disposal to make sure voters know exactly what Republicans stand for."
An immediate fight broke out about Scott's pledge to raise taxes on tens of millions of the poorest Americans. FactCheck.org pointed out on Thursday that Scott has been lying about it.
“Of course not,” Scott said when Fox News’ Sean Hannity asked him if his plan called for raising taxes “on more than half of Americans,” including seniors and working families, as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had tweeted.
...In an August 2021 analysis, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimated that about 102 million, or 57.1%, of all tax units would have zero or negative income tax liability in 2021-- down slightly from the nearly 107 million, or 60.6%, of all tax units who owed no federal income tax in 2020.
...So how does Scott justify denying that his proposal would be an income-tax increase for all of those people?
In a statement to FactCheck.org, a spokesman for Scott said the senator actually wants to focus on only a subset of U.S. residents who don’t pay federal income taxes nor payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare.
“Senator Scott believes that everyone should pay their fair share, and everyone should have skin in the game,” said Chris Hartline, communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which Scott heads. “There are too many people who are benefiting from government services without contributing to the system. That obviously would not include retirees who have paid plenty in taxes or working Americans who are paying into the system through either income tax or payroll tax. He believes there are too many able-bodied Americans who are choosing not to work, partly due to policies from Joe Biden and the Democrats, that have expanded the welfare state and paid people more to not work than to work. That should change.”
But nowhere in Scott’s plan does it say he was referring to only able-bodied, non-retirees who receive government benefits but don’t work and don’t pay federal income taxes or payroll taxes. That very specific description does not apply to “[o]ver half of Americans”-- the language used in Scott’s plan.
TPC estimated that 19.3%-- or 34.4 million-- of all tax units would owe neither federal income nor payroll taxes in 2021. That was down from an estimated 20.5%, or 36 million tax units, who did not have to pay either tax in 2020-- but up from 16.8%, or 29.2 million tax units, who were exempt from those taxes in 2019.
Even those estimates include more people, such as elderly and disabled Americans, than the narrow group that Scott’s spokesman now claims he wants to target.
The GOP has no serious policymaking agenda, just a complete disinterest in actual governance. It is the culture war party now. filed by conspiracy theories, grievances and careerism. Ed Kilgore in New York Magazine explained why Scott's plan is no substitute-- and why it hasn't been embraced by other Republicans: "Scott’s '11 Point Plan to Rescue America' shows exactly why McConnell doesn’t like such exercises in hypotheticals. It is, to use a technical term, batshit crazy."