DES MOINES, Iowa — Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann is telling college students in politically important Iowa that all Americans should pay taxes since they all benefit from services such as roads and bridges, national defense and the courts.
Bachmann was set to speak Thursday at Iowa State University in Ames. Her position is a direct challenge to rivals Herman Cain and Rick Perry, who are advocating plans that would allow low-wage earners to continue paying no taxes while implementing a form of a flat tax on all other workers.
The Tax Policy Center estimates that some 46 percent of households this year will not pay federal income taxes.
Bachmann, a congresswoman from Minnesota, was set to talk about the economy as polls show her presidential bid looking for a second wind. She is trailing but is working hard in Iowa, which has the first presidential caucuses in January next year.
With Cain combating news that a trade association he led in the 1990s settled sexual harassment claims against him, his standing atop Iowa polls seems shaky. Should this week prove devastating to his bid, his supporters would be up for grabs; Bachmann is hoping they might shift to her.
Bachmann won an early test vote in Ames in August. But her standing seemed to slip as the GOP electorate seized on Texas Gov. Rick Perry's entrance and then moved on to Cain. With jobs and the economy as the top issues on voters' minds, Bachmann is hoping her tough talk will help her regain footing in a state that her advisers see as a linchpin in their strategy.
In an outline of her speech released late Wednesday, she criticizes the current federal tax code as too complicated and corporate tax rates as unreasonably high. She criticizes a tax code that allows larger businesses to take advantages of loopholes to avoid paying their fair share. And she talks about her background as a former federal tax attorney.