As the debate on tax reform continues, one of the largest divides between Democrats and Republicans is the definition of tax fairness and who is paying their fair share.
While Democrats have tried to frame the argument about the wealthy paying their "fair share," Republican Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch offered a different definition at a hearing about fairness on Tuesday.
Hatch said that a fair tax code would be one that treats people in similar situations the same way, and that the government should not "pick winners and losers." But Hatch also said that the tax code should be progressive enough to account for people's ability to pay, and that Americans should make contributions to the services they benefit from.
"The current situation—where nearly half the country is effectively shielded from the cost of funding the federal government—deserves some attention in tax reform," Hatch said in his opening statement.
Hatch's statements were quite similar to ones made in the 2012 presidential campaign by Mitt Romney about 47 percent of Americans paying no income tax, although Hatch's comments didn't explicitly get into the politics of that group.
Hatch's remarks were indicative of a larger debate about tax reform and fairness. The senator farom Utah has previously said that a principle of tax fairness would be be reducing tax expenditures to "broaden the tax base" while simultaneously lowering tax rates.