Senator Scott Talks Financial Literacy in Axios Interview

WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) joined Axios’s Mike Allen for a discussion on financial literacy. Senator Scott described how growing up in poverty led him to champion financial literacy and credit access for all Americans.


Click to watch the full interview

On why he champions financial literacy … “As a kid who was raised in a single-parent household mired in poverty, I’ve got to tell you that the issue of financial literacy is something that I wish I would’ve understood earlier in life. It was really in my 20s before I started really understanding and appreciating that what you look like on paper might be more important than what you look like in-person. Financial literacy has so much to do with your future success and your present opportunities, and having not learned those lessons early in life, I wanted to make sure that a part of my focus is on making sure that Americans today — no matter their income — [have] access to financial literacy. And frankly, the more you find [yourself] in marginalized communities, the more important financial literacy really is.”

On his bill to block the Democrats’ plans to increase IRS surveillance … “[T]he three letters you never want to see in your mailbox: It’s the IRS. And having more letters delivered to more mailboxes because of the new reporting requirements coming from the IRS to your financial institutions? I wanted to preemptively make that an impossibility. Getting 50 Republicans on [the bill] in about 24 hours and then talking to a few of my colleagues on the other side, we were able to get that part of this taxing and spending bill [taken] out of it, and that was really good news. I hope it stays out. [The Democrats’ provision] also [sent] a negative message to seven million unbanked Americans to be in fear that getting involved in the financial institutions of this country makes you more likely to be audited. That is a scary proposition.”

On increasing credit access … “For millions of Americans around our country who need more help, need more resources, [and] need more access to loans and opportunities, it is imperative upon us in the positions that we hold to make it easier for those who are credit-worthy to get the credit they need. You think about homeownership and the disparities between the races. One of the ways that we bridge that gap is not by extending loans to people who cannot afford it, but [by] helping those who can be a part of the system and helping those who have been [paying] their rent on time, their electric bill on time, and their cellphone on time. That information should be scored by the credit-scoring agencies, and when that happens, you have more people who have the beauty of experiencing the American Dream, building equity in their largest asset, their homes, and closing the wealth gap.”