Tim Kaine: Why, yes, I’d be open to a minimum federal income tax for everyone

posted at 9:03 pm on September 20, 2012 by Mary Katharine Ham

So, Mitt Romney was caught on video at a fundraiser pointing out that 47 percent of Americans don’t pay federal income taxes and “inelegantly” conflating that 47 percent with those who are voting Obama, saying they see themselves as “entitled” and “victims.”

The media talked about nothing but this video for days on end, grilling Republican candidates on how they feel about it, and mostly overlooking security and intelligence failures that led to the first murder of a U.S. Ambassador since 1979 in a Middle Eastern country roiled by violence.

Then, two former governors of Virginia faced off in their first televised debate, and a question about the “47 percent” video tripped up…the Democrat? Here’s Tim Kaine, unexpectedly saying he’d be open to a minimum federal income tax for everyone:

(Moderator David) GREGORY: Do you believe that everyone in Virginia should pay something in federal income tax?

KAINE: Well, everyone pays taxes, I mean, the statistics that have come out..

GREGORY: I’m asking about federal income taxes.

KAINE: I would be open to a proposal that would have some minimum tax level for everyone.

Kaine made the point after a lengthy discussion born out of Mitt Romney’s comments about 47 percent of Americans not paying federal income tax. Allen wasn’t surprised.

“It is typical of Tim Kaine,” Allen said. “As I mentioned his record is one of always looking to raise taxes.”

Kaine ended his statement with a jab at Mitt Romney and his tax returns, but the mistake had been made. Allen’s campaign, which has been dedicated to framing Kaine as a tax-hiker, happily jumped on the comment, sending out video of the comment entitled “What a Surprise. Tim Kaine Wants to Raise Taxes.”

Allen, no doubt prepared for the question, stayed on safer ground, saying he has his own “point of view:”

“I think that’s one of the attributes of all Americans, they don’t look at themselves as victims,” Allen, who has also served as Virginia’s governor, said during the debate. “They want a government that reflects their values and gives them an opportunity to reach their aspirations.”

Kaine went to the spin room to walk back his statement while Allen happily rubbed it in. The Kaine campaign blog delivered a lengthy explanation of Kaine’s comments, addressed rather narrowly for a state-wide election, to Slate‘s Dave Weigel.

Weigel thinks Kaine’s just not gosh-darned cynical enough to win an election in 2012, and was playing the part of the pragmatist to a fault. Perhaps. Kaine did make the rhetoric argument, casting himself as a “bridge builder” and Allen as a man who uses “competitive rhetoric, but that’s not what it’s going to take to fix Washington.”

Well, since he was doing this three years ago to people peacefully protesting Obamacare, yes, I guess he would have to work extra hard to strike that pragmatist pose for anyone to believe him.

Sorry it tripped you up, Timmy. Love, the Mob.

As much as I’d love for the country to have a substantial debate on broad tax reform— something I think Romney would do well to embrace and explain where Obama hasn’t—spare me any media pining for that serious conversation after a week of orgaffemic coverage of the Romney video. In the end, maybe Kaine’s goof-up could get us to talking reform, as he’s put up a firewall for Republicans asked this question from here on out.

“Well, Democratic senate candidate and former head of the DNC, Tim Kaine, believes we should just raise taxes so that everyone not now paying them, regardless of income, pays more. He and Obama are quite good friends, don’tcha know, and Obama picked him to head the DNC, but I digress. I don’t think we should go anywhere near where my Democratic friend thinks we should, but here’s what I do think about tax reform…”


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They already made on. If you earn income, file an income tax return, you have to pay for insurance or pay a fine.

astonerii on September 20, 2012 at 9:05 PM

Tim Kaine: Why, yes, I’d be open to a minimum federal income tax for everyone

Good, let’s make it 10% personal 15% business, zero loopholes, zero deductions.

CNN doubles down on Obamanation Administrations Lies.

SWalker on September 20, 2012 at 9:08 PM

Bottom line – - – such a requirement would give everyone some skin in the game.

BD57 on September 20, 2012 at 9:09 PM

I assume all these debate tools are asking about Obama’s you didn’t build that remark, too, right? Right?

changer1701 on September 20, 2012 at 9:11 PM

Tim Kaine to go under the bus. VA, if you elect him, you get what you deserve. I don’t predict that will happen now that Kaine just alienated all the takers by suggesting they behave like makers and pay taxes. Can’t have that – you’re eroding Obama’s base.

Philly on September 20, 2012 at 9:11 PM

Flat tax. Okay.
Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to start screaming racism in five, four, three…

RovesChins on September 20, 2012 at 9:12 PM

I hope he credited Michele Bachmann since she was saying this for months during the primaries.

SouthernGent on September 20, 2012 at 9:12 PM

I’m all for it, in fact I’d settle for no longer allowing EIC to be refundable, ie no negative income tax.

slickwillie2001 on September 20, 2012 at 9:13 PM

Kaine is lying, of course. If presented with a close vote to effect such a change, he would dutifully line up behind his party masters to prevent what he’s pretending to support here, just like every other imperiled Dem.

In the end, Kaine is no different than Joe Manchin of WV, superficially more palatable than most of his colleagues but in the end just another lying hack.

Blacksheep on September 20, 2012 at 9:15 PM

They already made on. If you earn income, file an income tax return, you have to pay for insurance or pay a fine.

astonerii on September 20, 2012 at 9:05 PM

Uh no… paying for insurance isn’t the same thing as paying federal income tax. Buying insurance gives a direct benefit to the purchaser, but not to the general public. Federal income taxes finance general government programs. The whole debate is whether everyone should have skin in the game so that sober decisions are made about how government spends your tax dollars, not just your neighbors’.

blammm on September 20, 2012 at 9:16 PM

Flat tax for everyone, no deductions. Corporations pay nothing. Small businesses pay a small percentage.

nazo311 on September 20, 2012 at 9:16 PM

OT OMG Sarah Palin on Hannity. She uh looks different.

Brat on September 20, 2012 at 9:18 PM

I’m all for everyone paying something. However, if him saying this will help get another dem out of the senate, I’ll call it a gaffe.

Darksean on September 20, 2012 at 9:19 PM

But I thought Kaine was up in VA…

ladyingray on September 20, 2012 at 9:19 PM

We are in the northern Virginia cable market, so we get their ads.
Weird thing is, neither of them ever mentions which one is a Republican and which one is a Democrat.

Count to 10 on September 20, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Bottom line – – – such a requirement would give everyone some skin in the game.

BD57 on September 20, 2012 at 9:09 PM

Absolutely. And it’s not a “tax increase.” It’s just adding people to the roles. I don’t care if people below 15 or 20 thousand just pay 1% or 2%. It all helps. And as you said they will start to care a little bit about what’s being done with that money. Those who don’t have to contribute don’t care.

predator on September 20, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Brat on September 20, 2012 at 9:18 PM

I think she has a dark tan. And her hair looks darker too. Maybe it is the lighting?

esr1951 on September 20, 2012 at 9:21 PM

Something in the water?

workingclass artist on September 20, 2012 at 9:21 PM

OT OMG Sarah Palin on Hannity. She uh looks different.

Brat on September 20, 2012 at 9:18 PM

Darker hair, pale lipstick, same great woman.

predator on September 20, 2012 at 9:21 PM

Flat tax for everyone, no deductions. Corporations pay nothing. Small businesses pay a small percentage.

nazo311 on September 20, 2012 at 9:16 PM

Just make dividends and small business take-home part of regular income. You also need something for cap gains.
But, yes.

Count to 10 on September 20, 2012 at 9:24 PM

Er… I agree with Tim Kaine. I think I need to lie down.

Everyone does need to pay something in federal income taxes. Otherwise, you don’t have any “skin in the game,” as Obama is fond of saying. It’s time for a simple, fair, flat tax. One rate, paid by everyone, with no deductions or exemptions. Period.

Shump on September 20, 2012 at 9:27 PM

Poor, poor, Timmeh…

ladyingray on September 20, 2012 at 9:29 PM

Darker hair, pale lipstick, same great woman.

predator on September 20, 2012 at 9:21 PM

Yes I agree but it was shocking to me at first how different she looked. I think she was wearing a wig.

Brat on September 20, 2012 at 9:30 PM

In the end, Kaine is no different than Joe Manchin of WV, superficially more palatable than most of his colleagues but in the end just another lying hack.

Blacksheep on September 20, 2012 at 9:15 PM

Ummm.. no.

Kaine is a tool.

Having lived through his governance and then hearing his inanity while head of the DNC, I think it’s safe to say he is much, much worse than Manchin.

ButterflyDragon on September 20, 2012 at 9:30 PM

Why do I keep seeing people commenting about this and bringing up a flat tax? Kaine didn’t say a single word about a flat tax. In fact, he says he wants to raise taxes on those making more than $500k/yr and then a minimum tax on everyone else.

He’s not suggesting a simplification of the tax code. He’s saying he’s open to creating a new tax for those that aren’t paying right now.

This is not a good thing.

ButterflyDragon on September 20, 2012 at 9:36 PM

Yes I agree but it was shocking to me at first how different she looked. I think she was wearing a wig.

Brat on September 20, 2012 at 9:30 PM

I’ve seen some pics of her when she was young. Her hair was darker then. She’s prolly been highlighting it in her adult years. *I think highlighting is the right term. What do I know about hair? Mine’s barely a half inch long.*

predator on September 20, 2012 at 9:38 PM

He’s not suggesting a simplification of the tax code. He’s saying he’s open to creating a new tax for those that aren’t paying right now.

This is not a good thing.

ButterflyDragon on September 20, 2012 at 9:36 PM

I think the point that they are trying to make is that enacting regressive reforms would make for a flatter tax scheme.

blammm on September 20, 2012 at 9:39 PM

Uh no… paying for insurance isn’t the same thing as paying federal income tax. Buying insurance gives a direct benefit to the purchaser, but not to the general public. Federal income taxes finance general government programs. The whole debate is whether everyone should have skin in the game so that sober decisions are made about how government spends your tax dollars, not just your neighbors’.

blammm on September 20, 2012 at 9:16 PM

Not really. I do not need insurance. I pay cash for my care or I do not go in. I do not like doctors, I avoid them like the plague when I can. So what what benefit do I get if I am forced to subsidize other people’s over use of the medical system?

astonerii on September 20, 2012 at 9:40 PM

Does not everyone already pay income tax, the 47% just get it back because of the progressive income tax has a basic minimum income one has to make before the tax rate is even 0.01%

Flat Tax with no deduction.

tjexcite on September 20, 2012 at 9:41 PM

tjexcite on September 20, 2012 at 9:41 PM

All for it.

What about strippers, hookers, drug dealers………

astonerii on September 20, 2012 at 9:43 PM

Tim Kaine is lying, so it doesn’t matter.

Philly on September 20, 2012 at 9:43 PM

In the end, Kaine is no different than Joe Manchin of WV, superficially more palatable than most of his colleagues but in the end just another lying hack.

Blacksheep on September 20, 2012 at 9:15 PM

Yeah. I hope my fellow Virginians don’t fall for another Dem pretending to be reasonable.

changer1701 on September 20, 2012 at 9:44 PM

What ever he meant, I want a flat tax…Cuz yes, everyone should have some ‘skin’ in the game…

SWalker on September 20, 2012 at 9:08 PM: I totally agree with you, and with slickwillie2001 on September 20, 2012 at 9:13 PM: get rid of the EIC…

Can’t say more than that!

Scrumpy on September 20, 2012 at 9:46 PM

So what what benefit do I get if I am forced to subsidize other people’s over use of the medical system?

astonerii on September 20, 2012 at 9:40 PM

I don’t really need insurance either as a young adult. I thought you were suggesting that the 47% of non-taxpayers have made their contribution to the nation in the form of compelled health insurance subsidizing the insurance pool in many instances, in lieu of federal income taxes.

blammm on September 20, 2012 at 9:49 PM

What ever he meant, I want a flat tax…Cuz yes, everyone should have some ‘skin’ in the game…

SWalker on September 20, 2012 at 9:08 PM: I totally agree with you, and with slickwillie2001 on September 20, 2012 at 9:13 PM: get rid of the EIC…

Can’t say more than that!

Scrumpy on September 20, 2012 at 9:46 PM

Exactly, People who will have to pay the increased tax rate are no where near as quick to vote for it as those who know they will not have to.

SWalker on September 20, 2012 at 9:50 PM

I don’t really need insurance either as a young adult. I thought you were suggesting that the 47% of non-taxpayers have made their contribution to the nation in the form of compelled health insurance subsidizing the insurance pool in many instances, in lieu of federal income taxes.

blammm on September 20, 2012 at 9:49 PM

Eh, it was a poor attempt to say that they are already making people part with a minimum of money… Well, except Muslims and illegals and maybe the Amish.

Sorry, just a poor correlation gone awry!

astonerii on September 20, 2012 at 9:52 PM

Good, let’s make it 10% personal 15% business, zero loopholes, zero deductions.

SWalker on September 20, 2012 at 9:08 PM

This is fine and dandy, but what is the problem with it? It’s obvious, right?

lorien1973 on September 20, 2012 at 9:53 PM

What ever he meant, I want a flat tax…Cuz yes, everyone should have some ‘skin’ in the game…

SWalker on September 20, 2012 at 9:08 PM: I totally agree with you, and with slickwillie2001 on September 20, 2012 at 9:13 PM: get rid of the EIC…

Can’t say more than that!

Scrumpy on September 20, 2012 at 9:46 PM

Exactly, People who will have to pay the increased tax rate are no where near as quick to vote for it as those who know they will not have to.

SWalker on September 20, 2012 at 9:50 PM

Oh… And that flat tax rate law needs to have a provision in it that makes it impossible for congress to ever increase the rate.

SWalker on September 20, 2012 at 9:53 PM

I’m keeping a close watch on states Romney needs to win if he can’t win OHIO. Virginia is very important. I hope this ends up having a positive effect on the GOP entirely if people connect the dots that TIM KAINE isn’t any differnt than OBAMA and the rest of the communists.

Varchild on September 20, 2012 at 9:59 PM

Oh… And that flat tax rate law needs to have a provision in it that makes it impossible for congress to ever increase the rate.

SWalker on September 20, 2012 at 9:53 PM

Just like the provision to make it impossible to waive the worker requirement in Welfare Reform right? err wait…

Varchild on September 20, 2012 at 10:00 PM

astonerii on September 20, 2012 at 9:52 PM

As the SC decided the fine was a tax, you were right the first time.

wolfsDad on September 20, 2012 at 10:06 PM

Oh… And that flat tax rate law needs to have a provision in it that makes it impossible for congress to ever increase the rate.

SWalker on September 20, 2012 at 9:53 PM

Not really. As long as every one shares the pain equally.

The problem being, people who live off SS and Medicare and Food Stamps still will not pay…

astonerii on September 20, 2012 at 10:07 PM

Does not everyone already pay income tax, the 47% just get it back because of the progressive income tax has a basic minimum income one has to make before the tax rate is even 0.01%

tjexcite on September 20, 2012 at 9:41 PM

If you don’t have a job, you pay no income tax. If you have a job, but your income is below a certain amount, you can have nothing withheld and will pay no income tax as long as your income falls below that minimum amount. That amount is arrived at by taking allowable exemptions ($3700 per exemption) and other credits subtracted from the amount of gross income to arrive at taxable income. Taxable income starts at 10% up to about $17K for married filing jointly. However, there are also earned income credits and other credits that reduce both tax obligations and gross income. It is possible for some folks in the lower categories with children and other dependents to wind up not only not paying federal income taxes, but to get money back from the government without having paid anything in.

AZfederalist on September 20, 2012 at 10:25 PM

AZfederalist on September 20, 2012 at 10:25 PM

I had a friend… had, that would actually cut back on hours at work in order to make sure he fit right into the sweet spot for taxes at the end of the year…

astonerii on September 20, 2012 at 10:34 PM

Please stop with the flat tax already. A consumption tax is the only way to limit the size of Government. YOU get to keep all YOU earn and only YOU decide when to let the Government have some.

LaughterJones on September 20, 2012 at 10:42 PM

Please stop with the flat tax already. A consumption tax is the only way to limit the size of Government. YOU get to keep all YOU earn and only YOU decide when to let the Government have some.

LaughterJones on September 20, 2012 at 10:42 PM

That is the actual one I support.

astonerii on September 20, 2012 at 10:57 PM

Tim Kaine can reliably be considered not an expert on tax policy.
Some of us might agree with him, but our reasons are different than his.

22044 on September 21, 2012 at 12:39 AM

I agree with Kaine. They should.

Zomcon JEM on September 21, 2012 at 7:05 AM

Everyone does need skin in the game so they can feel the pinch of spending.

One flat tax, no deductions, paid once, and on one day with no automatic deductions, no automatic collection, nothing to try and make it ‘transparent’. Make 15 APR a painful day for everyone so that everyone can experience just how big a bite government is getting from them.

Anything that makes taxes easier to forget, easier to pay, easier to overlook means that politicians will raise them.

Until Amendment XVI can be removed, getting politicians to stop increasing the size of government and start showing what it really costs all Americans to get these ‘goodies’ is our task as a public.

Tim Kaine just wants more taxes at the bottom and keeping the rest of the system around, with all its corruption. Remove the corruption of loopholes, give-backs, adjustments, and subsidies via the tax code and the entire death valley of the lettered street lobbying firms begins to die off. Kill off the payouts via government in direct payola and the agencies that administer them, and the rest of lobbyist gulch dies off rather quickly. Remove the source of the attraction for the carrion eaters and they move off to do something useful, elsewhere.

ajacksonian on September 21, 2012 at 7:11 AM

Why, yes, I’d be open to a minimum federal income tax for everyone

That is not what he said. Either listen to the video or read the transcript. Kaine said

I would be open to a proposal that would have some minimum tax level for everyone.

He can always argue that paying social security, property tax, sales tax, etc is a minimal tax level.

huckleberryfriend on September 21, 2012 at 7:38 AM

“… some minimum tax level for everyone.” is not a flat tax. To have the freeloaders not get all their income taxes back would be hard to implement as there are a lot of them.

I am most disappointed in George Allan’s lack of hitting Kaine’s record in the Senate. He’s been a rubber stamp for the dems and Obama ever since he got there. Lies in Kaine’s ads are as bad as Obama’s.

TerryW on September 21, 2012 at 8:50 AM

But I thought Kaine was up in VA…

ladyingray on September 20, 2012 at 9:19 PM

He WAS up in Virginia. Probably not for long after that remark, essentially saying that he wants to raise taxes on the poor!

This might be Kaine’s “macaca moment”.

Steve Z on September 21, 2012 at 9:29 AM

Yeah. I hope my fellow Virginians don’t fall for another Dem pretending to be reasonable.

changer1701 on September 20, 2012 at 9:44 PM

Don’t expect local VA media to give this any airtime. Last night’s 6:00 lead was that neither candidate made any gaffes and then proceeded to spend 5 minutes on Allen’s response to Gregory’s idiotic question about the “Macaca incident” from 6 years ago.

VA Jacket on September 21, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Here is an old saying in Action with Kaine:
Govern like a flaming Liberal Socialist and campaign like a Far Right Conservative.

Herb on September 21, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Right now, I feel the only way out of this mess is to completely scrap the existing tax code and institute a flat tax, either by way of a simplified income tax or a national sales tax. Why add to accountants’ headaches by adding more tax breaks and benefits and deductions and exceptions etc.? And while proposing to do away with various loopholes and credits and so on is noble, you won’t be able to do it without being accused of raising taxes on the beneficiaries of such loopholes.

Just render all those tax laws null and void, and institute one flat tax rate for all individuals and businesses, period. No deductions, no exemptions, no variances. In fact, have the law explicitly state that any exemption/deduction for certain groups will violate the Equal Protection Clause. And to simplify things even further, have the taxes automatically deducted from payroll and collected by the IRS using the existing withholding accounts. This way there’s no 1040 forms to fill out, you’ll just get a notice of how much you paid.

Or just do away with all of that, abolish the income tax altogether, and just implement a national sales tax.

Sure, it may eliminate the joy of getting that nice refund check in the springtime, but the tradeoff would be the security of knowing you don’t have to owe anything to the government with an April 15th deadline, and you don’t have to drive yourself crazy figuring your taxes at the beginning of the year.

Sure, there could be a lot of accountants and tax attorneys losing their jobs, but this could be implemented with a few years of advance notice to give companies such as H&R Block time to revamp their business model.

TMOverbeck on September 21, 2012 at 1:13 PM

I am most disappointed in George Allan’s lack of hitting Kaine’s record in the Senate. He’s been a rubber stamp for the dems and Obama ever since he got there. Lies in Kaine’s ads are as bad as Obama’s.

TerryW on September 21, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Kaine is not in the Senate. Kaine and Allen are running for an open seat, as Jim Webb decided not to seek re-election after one term.

IamDA on September 21, 2012 at 6:08 PM

I wouldn’t just be ‘open’ to it, I’d be dancing and singing out on my front lawn if it became law. And I’d be eagerly listening for the howls from the Obama-loving sections when the next round of laziness rewards arrived in the mail with slightly less money than usual.

“Hey yo, what be dis bull-sheet? Mah wefare chek dat say I’s paying taxes?! Dat ain’t FAIR!!!”

MelonCollie on September 21, 2012 at 8:00 PM