On Friday, junior Kentucky Senator Rand Paul appeared with the panel on ABC’s The View, where the ladies ran the gamut of political questions with him, attempting to wring a bit of understanding out of the sometimes-enigmatic lawmaker.
Senator Paul is of course the son of former Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul, the libertarian darling of frat boys everywhere who didn’t understand that their girlfriends wouldn’t be able to play volleyball in college if Paul’s agenda had been implemented.
That same kind of “maverick” libertarian streak is what makes Rand — so named for the worst author of the 20th century — such a puzzle to many observers. He says he opposes “endless” war, and that’s why he favors Trump’s pullout from Syria, but says nothing when Trump sends more troops into Saudi Arabia the same week. He chalks up the idea that thousands of ISIS fighters might escape prisons due to Turkey’s incursion to the ideas of “people who would still have us in Vietnam,” but has yet to acknowledge that this exact thing happened today.
But then, he doesn’t actually seem to understand much outside of his own little world.
During the broadcast, the hosts brought up his new book The Case Against Socialism, which he was ostensibly there to promote. But perhaps he wasn’t expecting them to be so informed about what socialism actually is because he attempted to pull the old conservative trick of equating it with Stalin and Hitler and all of these historical villains who used “socialism” as a way to win supporters and then practiced fascism.
In one segment, he was trying to delineate the difference between taxation in modern social democracies such as those in Scandinavia and in America. He lamented the fact that yes, those nations have “free stuff” — a pretty crude way of framing universal healthcare and education — but that they pay high taxes for them. Sunny Hostin, always quick with her take on a guest’s statements, countered that Americans pay high taxes and don’t get the “free stuff.”
That’s when Senator Paul made a claim that was so ridiculous the audience laughed out loud at him:
We’ve taken the poor off of the rolls, they don’t pay income tax anymore. Most people below fifty thousand dollars don’t pay any income tax.”
“Our audience says that’s not true,” Hostin says after the entire studio audience breaks out in audible gasps, murmurs, and laughs.
The audience is correct. The poverty line in America — essentially the line at which you pay no income tax — is half that for a family of four, and although people making up to $50,000 can claim credits and reduce their taxes substantially, everyone, all the way down to minimum wage workers, pays payroll taxes and sales taxes. Those taxes are the most regressive forms of taxation since they affect the poor most of all.
Senator Paul goes on to claim that “the top one percent in our country pay forty percent of the income tax,” a line which gets even more and louder laughs, since the audience is educated enough to understand that the ultra-rich are supposed to pay that much but absolutely do not. “Donald Trump doesn’t pay any income tax,” says Hostin.
Watch the exchange here, at the end of which is a heated back and forth between Paul and host Ana Navarro-Cárdenas:
Featured image via screen capture
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