Joe Henderson: Rick Scott’s plan to ‘rescue’ America: tax the poor
Rick Scott. Image via AP.

His plan is a thinly veiled announcement that he wants to run for President.

News flash: U.S. Sen. Rick Scott wants to rescue America.

As the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the good Senator has some ideas about how to accomplish that. Scott spelled them out in an 11-point plan he says Republicans will push when (if) they win control of the Senate after the midterm elections.

“Americans deserve to know what we will do when given the chance to govern,” Scott said. Poor people might especially deserve to know what Scott has in mind for them. He wants to make some of America’s most cash-challenged citizens, in his words, “pay some income tax to have skin in the game.”

Is it skin or a pound of flesh from a group for which Scott has no empathy? Or did he think everyone forgot how he sabotaged Florida’s unemployment system so displaced workers struggled to receive benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic?

This is Christmas in February for Democratic Senate candidates. Val Demings just got a free line of attack against Marco Rubio, who had nothing to do with this. Many Republicans are running from this like scalded dogs.

POLITICO reported that it contacted 27 Republican Senate campaigns to see how the candidate felt about the income tax idea. Only one responded, and he said that was out of the question.

Scott says half of Americans pay no income tax, and various estimates say that’s accurate. However, many of those people don’t pay federal income tax because their income is lower than the standard deduction.

They’ve also paid taxes through payroll deduction on those minimum-wage jobs Scott loved to tout as success stories when he was Florida’s Governor.

Scott’s “skin in the game” plan also would target retirees whose only income is Social Security.

The Social Security Administration estimates 21% of married couples and 45% of single persons rely on Social Security for 90% or more of their income.

Those are people for whom every dollar counts, and giving even a little bit of that back in taxes would force them to make choices. Like, can we afford to eat this week?

That “skin in the game” line is a joke too. The only skin Washington politicians like Scott understand is the kind attached to highly paid lobbyists and donors.

Instead of targeting folks who have next to nothing, how about we get the billionaires to put a little more skin in the game?

ProPublica used IRS data to show how the ultra-rich keep getting richer while paying less. It calculated the true tax rate based on what those super-wealthy folks paid from 2014 through 2018 versus the value of their financial empires.

Warren Buffett, for instance, paid $23.7 million during that period. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? It represented a true tax rate of 0.10%. Jeff Bezos (0.98%), Michael Bloomberg (1.30%), and Elon Musk (3.7%) all took advantage of generous tax laws designed to shelter their dough.

Scott’s plan doesn’t mention them.

It does, however, say that students must start the school day with the Pledge of Allegiance, which is a great GOP pandering point. It also essentially means nothing.

After all, 45 states, including Florida, already have that requirement. Only Hawaii, Iowa, Oklahoma, Vermont and Wyoming don’t, although the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that students can’t be compelled to participate anywhere.

The pledge is just a smokescreen, though. It’s about attacking teachers and schools.

“Our children are being poisoned by a false political agenda in their schools,” he said.

No, they’re not, and to say otherwise is garbage. The poison comes from politicians like Scott, who wants to convince voters that any idea besides his own is treasonous.

He also promised to finish the border wall and name it after what’s-his-name from Mar-a-Lago.

And it wouldn’t be a GOP greatest hits list without a false narrative about elections.

“In true Orwellian fashion, Democrats refer to their election rigging plans as voting rights,” he wrote. “We won’t allow the radical left to destroy our democracy by institutionalizing dishonesty and fraud.”

Good lord.

This is not a plan to rescue America. It’s a thinly veiled announcement that Scott wants to be President one day, or maybe oust Mitch McConnell as Majority Leader if Donald Trump wins in 2024. This would be his platform. Treat it as such.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  • Kathy

    February 23, 2022 at 7:44 pm

    I will be writing to my Senator and he will, as usual, ignore me. Scott is useless to me, I don’t know which constituents he represents.

  • ScienceBLVR

    February 23, 2022 at 8:40 pm

    I’ve never liked Scott..the Medicare fraud his company was responsible for, the support for drug testing of the poor, the erosion of voting rights,the TV only Navy hat, and a concerted effort to demolish public education with vouchers to strip mall charter schools. But Florida elected him governor twice and senator, too, so what does that say about our collective judgement?

  • PeterH

    February 23, 2022 at 8:54 pm

    Florida has two senators representing ignorant policies and failed leadership in Washington. Join authentic fellow Conservatives at the Lincoln Project and other never Trump political organizations to help turn the tide of today’s insipid GQP.

  • Thomas Remington

    February 23, 2022 at 9:29 pm

    Rick Scott was the absolute worst Governor in the history of Florida.
    Rick Scott is trying very hard to be Florida
    History’s worst U.S Senator !

  • M Smith

    March 3, 2022 at 10:30 am

    Re: Joe Henderson’s article on US Sen. Rick Scott’s 11 point plan “”to rescue America” plus the Senator’s subsequent denial that his plan will raise taxes on the working poor, if implemented:
    1.Rick Scotts plan appears to have been modified; mention of taxation removed?
    2. Can anyone provide a definition for “wokeness” as it appears on the plan?
    3. Alleged tax proposals discussed in the Henderson article appears to parallel a Florida legislative bill which would require that all electric utility users must pay a minimum monthly fee (though some may ADD POWER TO THE GRID from their non-fossil-fuel, solar array).
    It has been said that such a state law would also reduce any electric power subsidy to the poor.

    • PeterH

      March 3, 2022 at 11:33 am

      M Smith….Excellent points!

Comments are closed.


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