Exclusive – Sen. Rand Paul: Cut Taxes For All!

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

I’m in favor of cutting taxes. I’ll take the biggest tax cut we can pass, but I’m also certainly willing to compromise. I realize not everyone in my caucus wants a big, bold cut like I do. If all we are talking about is how much to cut taxes, I can assure you, they will have my vote, happily.

Unfortunately, though presented as a tax cut for all, the first draft of the GOP tax reform plan wasn’t about how much to cut from everyone; rather, it was who are the winners, and who are the losers.

The plan lowered the top rate, which is great. It lowered corporate taxes, which is necessary for job growth. It lowered taxes on the lowest income people, as well. I’m good with all of that.

However, somewhere in the authors’ efforts to cut taxes for our highest and lowest earners, the middle class was seemingly left to bear the burden. The problem is, after lowering those rates, they decided the rest of the plan should be “revenue neutral.” 

If you’ve already cut taxes for the rich and lower incomes, how do you make up the difference to account for those cuts? By raising taxes on those who are left – the middle class.

That’s what I’m objecting to in their tax plan – the parts of it that seem to raise taxes on middle-income Americans.

Now, as they have noted, and I fully admit – the plan is not final. There are question marks, and the plan could change. But that’s exactly why I am speaking up now. I don’t want to vote for a plan that cuts some taxes but raises them on others, especially not on the middle class. So I want everyone to see the errors in their plan, look for solutions, and come together for a plan that can pass.

I’m not looking to dictate the details, nor am I set that the plan has to have a definite amount of tax cuts – it just should not be a tax HIKE on anyone. 

The problem comes because in their plan they’ve eliminated the deductions many Americans take for their state and local taxes, and they’ve also eliminated the personal exemption. This could put many Americans in the $50,000-$200,000 range in a trap where their taxes would go up – some very significantly. 

There are solutions, and I’ll offer a few possible ones here.

First, if you really do want to eliminate the state and local deductions and think it is good policy, that’s fine. But then the rate the taxpayer pays must be low enough to compensate for it. That’s always been the idea behind the “Flat Tax,” but it applies here. You have to lower the middle rate from 25 to 20 to come near fixing the problem for everyone.

You can also adjust the brackets, making more middle and upper-middle class people subject to the 12 percent rate for a larger share of their income.

In order to fix the problem of eliminating the personal exemption, you could increase the child credit by an additional $1,000 and make the income and age limits of the old exemption system apply, so more people in the middle can take it. 

Finally, you could scrap the idea of removing these deductions taken by tens of millions of Americans and simply put in an across-the-board tax cut that everyone gets and favors no one.

I want to be clear – I’m not trying to dictate the details, and I don’t think they should have to pass my tax plan.

But at the end of the day, I do believe one very simple thing should happen as a result of this plan – no one should pay MORE in taxes than before we started.

As many people as possible should get a tax CUT, which is why I have already given my ideas to the White House and congressional leaders for their consideration.

This isn’t about the tax cut being perfect. It’s just about it not being a tax HIKE because of some policy wonk goal no one in America is asking for.

I guarantee you this – when we pass a bill, no one is going to cheer for bullet points on a white paper. All they will do is ask – do I pay more or less under your plan? A Republican Congress should always be able to say “less” to that question, and I look forward to fixing and filling in the details on their plan to make sure that’s true.


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