Press Releases

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Mike Lee
The Michael Medved Show
September 23, 2014

Senator Mike Lee: “What we desperately need is simplification of the tax code. When we approach any question like this, we have to ask what’s the fundamental purpose here? You know, obviously we want the economy to grow, but on an even more fundamental level we want to increase freedom. We want to remove barriers that people face in their lives. We want to increase freedom and opportunity. When you do that economic growth is naturally the outcome.

“So when you start with this goal of more freedom, then you end up with solutions that specifically target those obstacles that are impeding people’s access to opportunity. And by simplifying our tax code and making it easier for people at the business level and at the family level, you increase economic growth by promoting their freedom and their opportunity.”

Michael Medved: “Well one of the things that I love about the proposal you’ve put on the table, and you write about it today in The Wall Street Journal. I’m speaking with Senator Mike Lee of Utah and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. One of the things I love, Senator Rubio, is this follows on to some previous very imaginative, very dynamic anti-poverty proposals that you have put on the table.

“One of the emphases of this new tax plan would be it would actually make it so much easier for people to climb their way out of poverty. How would it do that?”

Senator Marco Rubio: “Well a couple things. First of all, you’re allowing – let’s not forget that, and I think Senator Lee just touched upon this a moment ago when he talked about freedom, at the gist of the higher tax regime is the belief that you see coming consistently from the left, and that is we don’t trust what people will do. We don’t trust what schools they’ll send their kids to, so we have to tell them where to send them. We don’t trust that they’ll make their health care decisions, so we are going to tell them what kind of insurance they need to have. And we don’t trust what they’ll do with their money, so we need to tax you more so that we can spend it on their behalf.

“So just allowing people to keep more money of what they earn is important. The second aspect of it is that when a lower-income worker gets a raise, a significant part of – especially if that raise puts them over a certain threshold – a significant percentage of that additional fund is now eaten up in a higher marginal effective tax rate. So we’ve got to address that as well.

“And last but not least, it would work in conjunction with the Earned Income Tax Credit program to allow people to not only incentivize work, but allow them to keep more of their own money – so they can do things like save for retirement, buy a better health insurance plan of their choice for their families, send their kids to a better school, so that they can have a better opportunity at life. And in some instances, you know, pay off debt as well – the sorts of things that put family on a more stable footing.

“Of course none of these plans can be looked at in a vacuum. It’s part of a broader strategy that Senator Lee and I have talked about as well as empowering people with the opportunity to acquire skills that will allow them to get a better paying job so that a receptionist making $10 an hour can become a dental hygienist making $35 an hour. So that’s an important component in this as well. It’s not part of the tax plan, but it’s part of a holistic plan to reinvigorate upward mobility in the 21st century.”