Former Vice President Mike Pence has been mocked for saying the quiet part out loud about taxing the rich, during a campaign stop.
“I don't really buy into the rich need to pay their fair share,” he told an audience of potential Republican primary voters.
Mr Pence appeared alongside Iowa Republican Representative Randy Feenstra at the Wells Visitor Center and Ice Cream Parlor in Le Mars, Iowa, on Wednesday when he was asked by an attendee about billionaires such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos avoiding taxes while ordinary people are “stuck footing the bill”.
“There’s no question that the tax code today creates a lot of different carve-outs for people who can shelter funds, keep dollars away,” Mr Pence said, according to the Kansas Reflector. “I’m somebody that, I don’t really buy into ‘the rich need to pay their fair share.’ When you look at the statistics of where we actually get our funding from the government, the top 10 per cent of earners in this country pay about 90 per cent of the money that goes into the federal treasury.”
In 2021, ProPublica reported that the 25 richest Americans paid an income tax rate of 3.4 per cent between 2014 and 2018. Mr Pence is arguing that when it comes to net taxes, the wealthy pay more.
A study by the centre-right Tax Foundation think tank indicated in 2018 that the richest one per cent paid more than 40 per cent of total federal income taxes.
Mr Pence said any Republican president should make the tax cuts passed during the Trump presidency permanent as they’re set to expire in 2025.
“I’m not one of those people that buy into the Democrats’ message about fair share, because I guarantee you that Americans at the top of the income level carry the overwhelming burden for government costs in this country,” Mr Pence told attendees.
“Just moments ago, presidential hopeful @Mike_Pence said what’s on every Republican politician’s mind: ‘I don’t really buy into the rich need to pay their fair share.’ A Republican in the White House means even more tax cuts for the rich,” American Bridge 21st Century, a liberal political action committee, tweeted on Wednesday afternoon.
“If there was any doubt about who Republicans are serving, this should put that to rest,” progressive political commentator Bryan Tyler-Cohen tweeted.
“Well, at least they’re just saying it out loud now,” the progressive PAC Meidas Touch added.
“A nonpartisan political question: How could someone who has been doing this for so long possibly be this bad at it?” conservative lawyer and Trump critic George Conway asked.
California Democratic Representative Ted Lieu tweeted: “Democrats put #PeopleOverPolitics and passed the bipartisan infrastructure law to grow the economy and create good-paying jobs. What are Republicans focused on? Helping the rich avoid paying their fair share.”
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy said: “This is the essential difference between Republicans and Democrats today. Republicans seek power to help their rich friends and corporations. Democrats seek power to help regular people.”
Lincoln Project advisor Jeff Timmer wrote that “Mike Pence is where charisma goes to die”.
Former Biden Chief of Staff Ron Klain tweeted: “Why do we have a big fiscal hole in federal policy? Not because working people are paying too little...”
Zaid Jilani of NewsNation added: “This type of politics is lethal since at least the financial crisis. See: Romney, Mitt.”
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