It’s no secret that a lot of Americans don’t understand how our system of progressive taxation of income works. But you might think that a U.S. senator would. Apparently not Rand Paul.
On Wednesday the Libertarian Republican spoke to Bill Hemmer on Fox News. The conversation centered mainly around the disaster known as the American Health Care Act, but just before the end of the interview Hemmer asked Paul about Trump’s 2005 tax return that was discussed on The Rachel Maddow Show on Tuesday evening.
After saying that “someone broke the law and probably committed a felony” in giving Trump’s return to journalist David Cay Johnston, Paul inexplicably brought Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders into the conversation. He told Hemmer that he thinks Sanders would “want to pay his fair share” and that he was “expecting news any day that he’s gonna send a couple hundred thousand into the IRS.”
While that comment may seem to have come out of left field for many viewers, those who follow right-wing media closely probably knew where he was coming from. Paul likely got it from a source such as the right-wing site Zerohedge, which tweeted this on Tuesday evening:
Trump 2005 tax rate: 25%
Romney 2011 tax rate: 14.1%
Sanders 2014 tax rate: 13.5%
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) March 15, 2017
Of course Trump’s income on the leaked return dwarfed that of Sanders, who is one of the less well-off members of the Senate. Trump paid his 2005 taxes at the top rate on millions of dollars of income. Sanders’ income, on the other hand, didn’t even reach the top tax rate in 2014. So naturally Trump’s overall tax rate, expressed as a percentage of his income, would be much higher than Sanders’. Rand Paul most likely understands that. But, like most Republicans, he is counting on Fox News viewers not understanding it, and they probably don’t.
Here’s Rand Paul’s nonsensical comparison of Bernie Sanders’ tax rate on a $200,000 income to Trump’s rate on a $150 million income: