The Pennsylvania Senate candidate opposes recent tax changes that benefited poorer and middle-income Americans, but not those that benefited wealthier people and businesses.
Mehmet Oz, the Republican nominee for Senate in Pennsylvania, has offered very few specifics about his positions on tax policy. A review by the American Independent Foundation, however, indicates that he wants rich people like himself to pay less in taxes while opposing recent efforts to help working families.
Oz, a prominent television personality and multimillionaire, is running for the seat belonging to Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), who is retiring. Pensylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is the Democratic nominee.
While Oz has spent much of the campaign so far attacking Fetterman for backing criminal justice reform, attacking President Joe Biden for being too mean to oil and gas companies, and flip-flopping on many of his previous positions, he has avoided saying much about his position on taxes.
Oz’s current campaign website at doctoroz.com only directly discusses taxation in the text of one page: an August statement marking the 90 day “milestone” that Fetterman did not hold a public event after he suffered a stroke. Oz’s communication director, Brittany Yanick, claimed Fetterman “should answer for his past support” for raising taxes.
His economy issues page does not contain the word “tax” but states, “Dr. Oz believes that restoring America’s economy begins by focusing on the problems we face here at home – and reversing Biden’s failed agenda.”
Oz’s old website, featuring content related to his daytime show, was previously doctoroz.com but is now located at drozshow.com. That site does include stories about tax matters, such as a “Financial Health” tip sheet that recommends that people declutter by putting their tax returns into a computer database and save any IRS forms they file when depositing to Individual Retirement Accounts.
But he has given other indications of what policy related to taxes he would support as a senator.
According to Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, a group that says it “opposes all tax increases as a matter of principle,” Oz signed their pledge to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses” and “oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates,” regardless of the nation’s economic circumstances.
At a GOP primary forum held in March, Oz was asked his position on tax reform and said, “I would not raise taxes. We need more value for the taxes we’re already paying.” He added, “in addition to keeping taxes no higher than they are, and ideally lowering them to make it a more hospitable environment, we have got to reduce the regulatory burden on American businesses.”
In April, he touted an endorsement from former President Donald Trump — who signed the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law, allowing slashed tax rates for corporations and wealthy individuals, while raising them for about 10 million families. Trump specifically praised Oz as being “very strong” on “tax cuts” in his endorsement statement.
In an appearance on Fox News two days later, when host Sean Hannity about his position on taxes, Oz responded, “Lower taxes,” before further praising Trump and other Republicans for endorsing him.
On Wednesday, NBC Philadelphia reported that Oz promises voters in his latest TV ad, “I’ll cut your taxes,” in addition to pledging to donate his Senate salary. His campaign did not specify how Oz proposes to cut taxes in a statement to the station, but noted the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provisions would expire.
“Dr. Oz believes we need to cut taxes for small businesses in particular — those would be hurt the most if John Fetterman spends trillions of dollars and makes inflation worse,” campaign spokesperson Brittany Yanick said. “The 2017 tax law has many provisions in it that unfortunately are set to expire. Doctor Oz would make helping these businesses a top priority.”
Oz has also railed against the Affordable Care Act, a 2010 healthcare law signed by former President Barack Obama and commonly known as “Obamacare,” despite the fact that he filmed an ad in 2010 for The California Endowment, urging people to “get enrolled” in one of its insurance plans. The Affordable Care Act raised taxes slightly for the top 1% but provided about $16 billion in benefits to lower-income Americans.
In April, his campaign told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he “would not have voted for Obamacare” and supports its repeal. He tweeted on May 4, “Obamacare caused havoc on our health care system. It destabilized insurance markets while raising taxes & imposing harmful mandates on Pennsylvanians. I wouldn’t have voted for it.”
During a February interview on the Rich Zeoli Show, Oz also condemned a provision in Biden’s American Rescue Plan which expanded the 2021 child tax credit for most parents and, according to an Urban Institute analysis, lifted 121,000 children out of poverty in Pennsylvania alone. Oz claimed lawmakers “cowered and gave in to spending bills we didn’t have the money to give away. There’s nothing brave about giving three hundred dollars to every child. It sounds great, right? I would do it in the right context, but it’s not a brave move. You know, you can’t just print money and send it away.”
In August, Oz opposed Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, falsely claiming, “The so called ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ backed by John Fetterman will raise taxes on nearly all Americans, regardless of income bracket.” In reality, no one making under $400,000 will pay more in taxes because of the new law, and many Americans can save due to clean energy tax credits implemented because of it.
Fetterman’s website, by comparison, contains a specific and detailed economic plan. In it, the Democratic nominee promises to back tax cuts “for working people” and to “slash ‘out of pocket’ health costs.”
His proposal states:
We need to cut taxes for working families to even the odds and guarantee that the ultra-wealthy aren’t abusing our broken tax code. I support suspending the federal gas tax, to provide working people with immediate relief at the pump and help deal with rising costs. We also need to bring down taxes for working people across the board.
To replace the revenue, we will make sure Wall Street, hedge fund managers, and mega-millionaires pay their fair share by enacting a financial transaction tax on trades of stocks, bonds, and derivatives. The savings could then be used to cut taxes for working families and reinvest in the American people.
The Oz campaign did not immediately respond to an American Independent Foundation inquiry for this story.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.