SEN. RICK SCOTT: Hard Work, Not Freeloading

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Sen. Rick Scott Contributor
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In my 12 years as an elected official, I have never voted for a tax or fee increase. Never. While some elected officials hide behind gimmicks and sleight of hand, I have adamantly opposed any sort of tax increase or fee increase. I’ll put my record up against anybody. As governor of Florida from 2011 to 2019, I cut taxes every single year, more than 100 times in those eight years, and have probably cut more taxes than anyone – feel free to try and prove me wrong.

As governor, I even fought to make it harder for politicians to raise taxes and fees on families by proposing legislation that would require a 2/3 majority of the legislature to pass any increase. Not only did it pass the legislature, but voters overwhelmingly supported it when it also passed as a constitutional amendment in 2018.

In my plan to rescue America, I offer 128 separate policy ideas. One of them has folks in Washington all riled up and telling lies.

Here is the part of my plan that has sent Chuck Schumer, the White House and some Washington establishment Republicans into a meltdown:

“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.”

While the elites in Washington are losing their minds over this simple idea, and lying about what the plan is really about, in real America, this is commonsense. I listen to real, hardworking families in Florida, not politicians or the ruling class in Washington. Always have and always will. Working people agree that everyone should participate. Everyone who is able should pull their weight. Only in Washington is this a controversial statement.

Let’s be clear about what I am proposing, and what I’m not. Retirees have already paid plenty into the system. And working-class Americans are already paying into the system, whether through income tax, payroll tax, state and local taxes. You know them. They’re the people who set their alarm clocks and get up and get moving and provide for their families and make this country work! Whether they receive a tax refund or have to chip in a little more each April, they are taxpayers. My proposal wouldn’t change anything for them, but we should find ways to reduce their tax burden.

There are two categories of folks in America who do need to pay their fair share. We have a sizeable class of people in the country who live off government handouts, even though they could be working. I’m talking about able-bodied, working-age Americans. They need to contribute to the system they are benefitting from. The best way to do this is by getting a job. If they refuse to work, they need to be required to pay into the system.  We also have some very wealthy people who can hire an army of lobbyists, lawyers and accountants to avoid paying their fair share. That’s wrong.

The American people agree with this idea, but, just like term limits, common sense ideas in Washington are heresy to the ruling class.

Of course, as politicians do, the Democrats, with help from DC establishment Republicans, are trying to turn this into a tax increase. That’s a lie and they know it. For the Democrats, it’s just more of the same. They are dishonest to their core, nothing new here. And those on the right buying into this fake outrage – well you can ask them what their motives are for pushing liberal lies.

Over decades, the federal government has made some able-bodied Americans more reliant on government-funded programs than they should be. This was exacerbated during COVID. Reckless payments incentivized dependency rather than accountability. Government benefits allowed some citizens to stay home and detach from all the principles that made America great. America is supposed to be a country where hard work and opportunity provides limitless opportunity. These handouts have resulted in some Americans not understanding that the federal government is funded by taxpayers’ money and the benefits are a result of the taxes paid by people who are working.

I grew up in public housing and our family was poor. No matter how little we had, or how hard things got, my mother never stopped working and never stopped contributing to her community. My mom made me go to church every week and made sure I understood how important it was to tithe every week when the donation box got passed around – even if it was just a few pennies. It was important because that was our church, and we were part of that community.

I will always believe in tax cuts and will never support a tax hike or fee increase, but I do support having people contribute — even if it’s a dollar — to keep them accountable.

The Democrats have created a system that allows too many to freeload off of others’ hard work. For those who are unable, we are a kind, generous nation. But for those who can, it’s time they start contributing. That is the way we rescue America.

Rick Scott represents the state of Florida in the United States Senate.