WASHINGTON -- Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said that while income inequality can certainly be attributed to many factors, it would be "foolish" to suggest it is not partly the result of some Americans working harder than others.
"Some of that is related to work. Some of it is related to education. Some of it is related to luck. Some of it is related to inheritance," Paul told The Huffington Post during a conference call with reporters on Monday. "So there are a lot of different reasons income is unequal. I think one of the points we're trying to look at if it has something to do with government policy."
Paul has called for a "flat tax," or a 14.5 percent tax on all types of income, as part of his presidential campaign pitch to Republican primary voters. According to one analysis of his plan, after-tax income for households that earn at least $1 million per year would rise by 13 percent. Comparably, households earning between $50,000 and $75,000 per year would see their after-tax income rise only by 3 percent.
Asked by Fox News over the weekend whether the proposal was fair given rising income inequality, Paul said the disparity was "due to some people working harder and selling more things."
The libertarian-leaning conservative, who perhaps more than any other presidential contender has urged the GOP to increase minority outreach, expounded on that thought on Monday by essentially making an argument for the free market.
"I think it's both government policy and some of the way that economic fruits are distributed," he said of income inequality. "And I think it would be foolish for anyone to argue that it doesn't have something to do with work and effort, and also doesn't have something to do with the way the public approves of the way you're doing, whether the public approves of something you're selling."
"Wal-Mart is phenomenally successful cause everyone votes every day that they like their products and their prices," he added. "And that's the way the market economy works."