Republicans Hate Tax Increases - Unless You're Poor

As Steve Benen did such a wonderful job of explaining in his post this Monday, Republicans continually claim to be the anti-tax party, but that label should come with an asterisk, because they really don't mind raising taxes on the poor. Those moochers had better get "some skin in the game" or else.

Case in point, one Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) who apparently decided that Mitt Romney didn't piss off quite enough Americans during the last election with his 47 percent remarks.

When Republicans endorse tax increases:

But as those who watch Republican politics closely know, the anti-tax rule needs an asterisk. The party hates tax increases with every fiber of its being, unless you're poor. Luke Johnson flagged this quote from Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.).

"You know, folks mock Mitt Romney for what he said, but he's right. Forty-seven percent of American citizens pay zero in income taxes. It's just true," Woodall said, according to remarks recorded by Georgia Fair Share. [...]

"In fact, the bottom 30% of American citizens profit from the tax code because they're getting refundable tax credits back," Woodall says in the video. "I don't care if you're paying a dollar. You need to believe that you are involved in the process, and you need to have skin in the game."

There are a couple of relevant angles to this. First, Romney's "47 percent" thesis wasn't just the percentage of Americans who don't pay income taxes; it was also about characterizing nearly half the country, including seniors and veterans, as lazy parasites.

Second, what Woodall is talking about is raising taxes on those who can least afford it. He won't call it that, but "skin in the game" is a euphemism for "paying more than zero in taxes."

And as Steve noted, they pay plenty of other taxes, like state and local taxes, Social Security taxes and more. They're not exempt from paying taxes just because they don't make enough to pay income taxes. And if Republicans really want to do away with the earned income tax credit, maybe they could support a raise in minimum wage instead so we're not supplementing businesses that refuse to pay a living wage with our tax dollars?

Heaven forbid that might happen any time soon. They're happy to continue to help those that are driving a race to the bottom on wages while demonizing those who are the very ones being driven into the ditch.

Here's more from Steve on the hypocrisy:

For Rob Woodall, that means these folks don't really believe they're "involved in the process." The congressman didn't specify what "process" he's referring to, but the implication is that these citizens are somehow not fully participating in the American experience because they don't make enough money to pay income taxes -- and that's ridiculous.

But the talking point keeps coming up anyway, and the underlying point -- low-income Americans need to pay more -- has been endorsed by Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Eric Cantor, and others.

So, yes, Republicans are an anti-tax party, but only as it relates to the wealthy.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.