On the heels of the MassGOP releasing a video highlighting Elizabeth Warren’s $3.4T in tax hikes, Scott Brown gave a major policy speech on taxes yesterday. Here are his remarks, as prepared for delivery.
Thank you very much. I’m honored to be here today, as your senator and as a candidate for re-election to that office.
I’m especially proud to be standing before a group of small business leaders. As you know, it’s become fashionable lately for politicians to attack success and belittle the achievements of business men and women – the hard-working entrepreneurs like you.
You won’t ever catch me doing that – demonizing you as our job creators. For all the risk-takers, hard-workers, dreamers out there, I have two words for you: THANK YOU. I believe we should be thanking you – not blaming you.
As you know, we live in the greatest country in the world. I know that what made America the greatest, strongest, most prosperous nation in the history of the world is the good work done by entrepreneurs and businesses, small and large, who create opportunities for others. Our business leaders, like many of you, issue the paychecks that put food on the table, pay the mortgage, and send our kids to college. You create the products that lead to progress and provide the services that make our lives more convenient.
All of this doesn’t just happen on its own. It means that someone has to have an idea. They have to be willing to take a risk. They have to work hard and sacrifice.
My opponent says that no one has succeeded on their own. She points to roads and bridges and government services we all use. But to downplay individual initiative as nothing more than a byproduct of big government is to fundamentally misunderstand our free enterprise system, and it is a backward view of who we are as Americans.
Government services don’t distinguish success from failure. However, they are a convenient excuse for politicians to take undue credit for the success that you create.
Professor Warren’s twisted logic dictates that because businesspeople like you take advantage of government services, then you owe “a hunk” of their success back to the government in the form of higher taxes. Forget about the rather large “hunk” they already pay.
This philosophy is a dangerous one, and it turns the American Idea on its head. Because once you accept the premise that government is responsible for success, there is no limit to what you can justify taking because there is no restraining principle that says, “that is not mine to take.” That so-called “hunk” will get bigger and bigger.
I believe in an America where if you have a vision, work hard and play by the rules, you can build something that no government and no politician can take away from you!
November sixth is fewer than three months away. Professor Warren and I will be debating these issues before too long, in one forum or another. And I’ll be ready to make my case once again to all the people of Massachusetts. Same as last time, I’m going to run on the issues, give the race everything I’ve got, and leave the rest to the independent spirit of the Massachusetts voter.
Whatever party you belong to, being an independent voter means you understand that there are issues and duties in this country bigger than any party. You understand that all of America’s problems won’t go away with one party’s victory, or one party’s defeat. The truth is, our country’s problems are too big for just half of us to solve. It’s going to take the best ideas of both parties, and the best qualities of those we send to Washington. It’s going to take all the discipline, will, and political courage we can gather up.
Because remember, folks: whatever else separates us, whether we are Democrats, Republicans or independents, we are all Americans first. And we’re going to need to tackle the very serious challenges our country faces and battle against that mentality that no one had succeeded on their own.
If we want to see the stakes in this election as they really are, all we have to do is look a little past November 6th to another big day that’s drawing near. That would be January 1st. You’d think we would be hearing more about it, since on that day Americans are scheduled to receive one of the largest tax increases ever in our history. They even have a name for it – “Taxmageddon.”
Unless we see some fast work in Washington, the tax rates signed by one president and extended by another will end. Individual tax rates will go up for everyone. The bottom rate: from 10 percent to 15 percent. The top rate: from 35 percent to 39.6 percent. All this while the thousand-dollar child credit drops back down to half that – 500 bucks.
Then there are the tax increases on savings and investment. The capital gains tax, the tax on dividends, the death tax – all of these will suddenly increase on the first of the year. I don’t mean to ruin anyone’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, but under current law this is what we’re all going to wake up to on January One.
The federal government has more holiday plans for you as well. For instance, there’s a whole new tax on medical devices, so many of which are made right here in our state and are Massachusetts’ top export. This comes as part of the federal health care law, of course, and it’s one of 18new taxes hidden away in that massive new entitlement program that Professor Warren supports and I don’t.
All of the tax increases scheduled for January First present some pretty basic questions. So basic, in fact, that some of the clearest warnings have come from leading Democrats, including Bill Clinton. In an unguarded moment, President Clinton called the January income tax increases a “fiscal cliff.” He says we should avoid doing anything that might further damage the economy. He tried to walk that one back, but not very convincingly – because he’s right.
Professor Warren sees things differently. To her, there’s no bad time to raise a tax. It probably won’t surprise you that she had the option to pay more taxes herself voluntarily on the Massachusetts income tax form, but that was one box she declined to check.
Isn’t it ironic that the loudest voices for higher taxes are unwilling to pay more themselves when given the chance?
But even Taxmageddon is not a big enough tax hike for Professor Warren. She also supports raising Social Security taxes. She supports the taxes that are part of the federal health care program, including higher Medicare taxes. She supports raising taxes on S-Corps – the very small businesses which many of you in this room operate. The list goes on.
All told, Professor Warren supports a total of $3.4 trillion in higher taxes over the next decade, including $2.7 trillion in brand new tax hikes. Her proposal for new taxes would represent the largest tax hike since World War II.
That is money taken out of the private economy and sent to Washington where politicians with an insatiable appetite for squandering other people’s money are sure to spend that much and more. It has to stop.
Warren’s new taxes will cost our nation 4.5 million jobs just when we need them most. In Massachusetts alone, over 100,000 workers will lose their jobs as a result of Warren’s tax hikes.
I look at the tax question this way. Across Massachusetts are middle-class parents with kids in college and a lot of bills to pay. Many have two incomes, work hard, and they hear themselves called “rich” by politicians and professors who think they get to decide what working people deserve to keep. We’re talking about the businesspeople like you who are working overtime – and, by the way, already paying the highest tax rates on the planet.
There are tough calls in government, ladies and gentlemen, but this isn’t one of them. In this bad economy, nobody should be talking about raising taxes. Professor Warren’s eagerness to increase taxes is what makes her a jobs destroyer.
I’ve noticed something in our national debates over taxes, and spending, and deficits, and debt. There’s a dividing line, and it’s not a partisan line or even an ideological one. It’s a line between those who accept some basic limits, and those who don’t. We hear candidates talk about raising taxes, and you can never quite pin them down on how much is enough. What limits do they accept? If total taxes of 40 or 50 percent of your income isn’t the limit, then what about 60 percent, 70 percent, or even more? How much, exactly, is too much?
There’s another fallacy that Professor Warren likes to throw around, and that’s the idea that extending the same tax rates that have been in place for a dozen years represents a tax cut. Only in Washington, D.C. and the faculty lounge at Harvard does keeping tax rates where they are represent a tax cut. Let me give you a little straight talk: when tax rates go up, that’s a tax hike any way you slice it. And that’s exactly what Professor Warren wants.
I’ve kept my promise to be an independent voice, and to serve the interest of everyone in our state. I try never to forget why I am there and who sent me. I don’t worry about the party line. I don’t get caught up in petty fights. I just try to use common sense for the common good. This approach makes sense, and, better still, it gets results. That’s what you elected me to do: be that independent voter and thinker. As you know, facts are facts – I am the second-most bipartisan Senator in the country – always working together to get things done for Massachusetts.
I’ve seen how Washington works, but I’ve also seen how it’s supposed to work – like when Congress repealed a new withholding tax a few months ago that directly affects contractors. When I introduced a bill to repeal the tax, I was convinced that both parties would support it and the President would sign it, which is just how it turned out.
In that same bill, we gave a tax credit to businesses that do the right thing and hire unemployed veterans. No soldier should come home from Afghanistan or Iraq only to stand in an unemployment line and fight for a job. I’ve worked with senators from both parties on all kinds of issues: Whether it was in protecting our air and coastline, passing trade agreements to support manufacturing jobs, or ending the unfair discrimination of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – we have shown it can be done.
When I learned about a loophole in the law that allowed members of Congress to use nonpublic information when buying and selling stock, at first I was amazed. Who would have thought you could commit insider trading in Congress and not go to jail? Then I wrote a bill to ban the practice – I was proud to stand next to the President when he signed the bill and the STOCK Act is now the law of the land.
On the enormous fiscal issues facing the United States, the men and women who will matter most are the ones who can work together. We need broad tax reform that does away with special loopholes, simplifies the entire tax code, and lowers rates to get this economy growing again. We need a balanced budget amendment to make spending discipline as effective, enforceable, and permanent as the Constitution can make it.
And with all the recent warning signs in the economy – disappointing job numbers month after month, and the first manufacturing slowdown in three years – it’s even more urgent that we stop moving toward that fiscal cliff on January first. Whatever it takes, even a special session of Congress this summer, the American people deserve to know – and know right now – that they’re not about to be hit with a massive tax increase.
I’m ready for this work, and ready to share it with anyone in either party who’s willing to help.
That’s what you expected of me when I was first entrusted with the job as your Senator. And that’s what I promise again, as I ask once more for the honor of your vote. I will stay at it. I will work with everyone. I will try my level best to be a force for the good, for as long as I have the privilege of representing this great Commonwealth in the Senate of the United States.
Thank you very much.