Listening to Republicans on the campaign trail or the House floor, one might think the quickest way to eliminate the deficit is to make Americans who earn the least pay more in taxes. “Part of the problem is today only 53 percent pay any federal income tax at all; 47 percent pay nothing,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) told a crowd in South Carolina, repeating a conservative meme. “We need to broaden the base so that everybody pays something, even if it’s a dollar.”
Beyond Bachmann, the idea has been spread by Republicans from Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman to members of the House and Senate leadership. It was brought up again in Wednesday’s GOP presidential debate by other candidates.