Republicans’ skill in “messaging” has been a consistent theme of comments on this blog.
One of those skills is the ability of the GOP to tailor its communications–telling one group of people one thing , while assuring a different group (wink, wink) that the party has absolutely no intention of doing precisely what it is promising others it will do.
A recent illustration can be seen in an exchange between Rick Scott (The Florida Senator with a private-sector history of engineering Medicare fraud) and Mitch McConnell, aka the smarter but most evil man in America.
Recently, Scott unveiled an 11-point plan that he identified as the GOP’s agenda–the party’s “to do” list once it retakes control of Congress. As Dana Milbank introduced a discussion of Scott’s plan in the Washington Post,
Suppose, for a moment, that the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the group overseeing the 2022 campaigns of all Democratic senators and Senate candidates, announced that Democrats, if they keep congressional majorities after November’s elections, would enact a plan that would raise taxes on working families more than $1 trillion over 10 years.
Further suppose that this top Democratic official also pledged that the Democratic majority would “sunset” laws that provide Americans with Social Security and Medicare, military retirement benefits, veterans programs, unemployment compensation, student loans, deposit insurance and more. Additionally, the Democrats would require U.S. businesses to shut down $600 billion a year in foreign trade and abandon countless billions in overseas investments.
The cry from Republican officials and the Fox News echo chamber would be deafening. Socialism! Defund! Tyranny! They might not even have time left to blame President Biden for Russia’s Ukraine invasion or high gas prices.
Of course–as Milbank proceeds to document–that’s really a description of the bulk of the Republican agenda Scott outlined. (Anti-gay, anti-CRT measures comprise most of the rest.) It is worth noting that Scott is hardly a “rogue”–he heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee. However, the agenda he unveiled was so politically toxic that McConnell disavowed it.
Scott’s plan would eliminate (sunset) all federal legislation over five years. Scott assures voters that “worthy” laws would then be reenacted; presumably, policies that Republicans find “unworthy” would stay dead. As various pundits have pointed out, that would probably mean the end of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and numerous other social programs that offend today’s GOP.
As Milbank writes,
Don’t just take my word for it. Here’s how McConnell recently described the Scott plan: “We will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years.”
About that provision raising taxes on half the American public: Analysis of Scott’s tax plan by the Brookings Tax Policy Center and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that the “Republican plan would raise taxes by $100 billion a year, or more than $1 trillion over the standard 10-year budgeting time frame. Almost all of it would be shouldered by households with income of $100,000 or less.”
As a column in Common Dreams explained, Scott introduced his tax proposal by saying “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.”
To the mega-rich Scott — and his fellow Americans of ample means — this proposal no doubt seems entirely reasonable. To Americans who understand how our overall tax system works, Scott’s proposal just seems cruel.
All Americans, for starters, pay some taxes. They have “skin” in the game. They may not pay any federal income tax. But if they work, they pay federal payroll tax. If they don’t work, they still pay sales tax on goods they purchase. They face other state and local taxes as well.
Analyses of the plan found it would “increase taxes by more than $1,000 on average for the poorest 40 percent of Americans.”
“Low-income families with children would pay the most,” notes the Tax Policy Center analysis, “Achieving Scott’s goal would slash their after-tax incomes by more than $5,000, or more than 20 percent.”
Meanwhile, points out a Patriotic Millionaires analysis, those “uber-wealthy Americans who avoid federal income tax thanks to a series of loopholes that allow them to claim little to no income” would continue to face no more than a minuscule tax on their mega millions under the Scott “11 Points.”
“In the end,” the Patriotic Millionaires sum up, Scott’s plan amounts to “a wink and a nod to his wealthy donors to keep stealing.”
No wonder McConnell wanted to shut Scott down–the official GOP message machine keeps telling people that Republicans will cut taxes. Poor people don’t understand that only wealthy folks will see those cuts–and that they are the ones who will pay for them.