WASHINGTON — In a passionate Monday speech on the Senate floor, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul railed against the notion of raising taxes on the wealthy, and expressed doubts that doing so in a “fiscal cliff” deal would actually help pay off the debt at all.
“You may not get any more revenue,” the Kentucky Republican said. “You may not get any more economic growth. But you can say, ‘I stuck it to the rich people.’”
In his floor speech, Paul suggested Democrats are insisting on raising taxes on the wealthy because they “campaigned against rich people” in 2012 and “got enough envy whipped up in the country.”
The lawmaker made the comments on Monday — just hours before the country goes off the so-called fiscal cliff at the end of the year and automatic hikes for all taxpayers are implemented.
All eyes are on the U.S. Senate, where talks have broken down between the leaders of both parties. Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell is now negotiating directly with Vice President Joe Biden, who is leading the talks for the Democrats.
It’s assumed any deal between those two would include extending tax cuts for everyone except a certain percentage of the wealthy. On Monday, Paul said he rejects allowing tax rates to rise on some. (MATT LEWIS: Rand Paul has a point about email snooping)
“We the Republican Party, the party of limited government and low taxation, should have no part in this,” he said. “We should have no finger prints on this and we should in no way support anything that raises taxes because it’s bad economic policy.”
Paul argued that not only is it possible the government will get less revenue by taxing the rich, doing so could also hurt middle-class workers.
“Anybody work for rich people?” Paul asked. “Anybody know somebody who works at a car lot selling expensive cars but that person only makes $40,000 a year but he sells cars that are purchased by rich people?”
He went on to give an anecdote about “the yacht tax” where Congress implemented a “special tax on yachts.”
“Guess who lost their jobs?” he asked. “The working guy making $50 and $60,000 a year making the yachts. Because rich people went to the Bahamas to buy their yachts.”
“This isn’t about getting rich people,” he said. “This is about what it’ll do to the economy, what it’s going to do the average middle-class person who works for a rich person.”