While Republicans run on tax cuts, Scott Wallace is running on tax hikes. Big ones.
The Pennsylvania Democrat, who hopes to unseat Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, wants to bring back a top marginal tax rate of 50 percent.
“I think we would have more tax brackets and the top 1 percent of America would pay more,” Wallace said while explaining his position if elected. “I think 50 percent would not be an unreasonable amount.”
A hike like that would be significant and would hurt now that the top marginal rate stands at 37 percent after Republican tax reform, cuts supported by Wallace opponent Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick. The two are running in Pennsylvania’s recently redrawn 1st Congressional District. It is considered a Republican toss-up and a prime Democratic pick-up opportunity. But to keep his hopes alive there, Wallace might want to reconsider his tax rhetoric and his historical revisionism.
Wallace points to Reagan to justify hiking rates. “During the Reagan years the top marginal tax rate was 50 percent,” he told supporters, “and nobody complained about it then.”
But it isn't true – even Reagan himself complained about the 50 percent tax rate, after he had helped to lower it from 70 percent with his first round of tax cuts in 1981.
“The present tax system has 14 different brackets of tax rates ranging from 11 to 50 percent,” Reagan said in a 1985 address to the nation. “We would take a giant step toward an ideal system by replacing all that with a simple three-bracket system—with tax rates of 15, 25, and 35 percent.”
Wallace is a far cry from Fitzpatrick and from Reagan. His performance in November might prove to be a good measure for how voters actually feel about tax cuts and hikes.