Paul Ryan was on Fox today trying to walk back Mitt Romney’s inadvertent admission yesterday, when Romney told working class Ohio that they shouldn’t “be expecting a huge cut in taxes because I’m also going to lower deductions and exemptions.”
In spite of all of the evidence to the contrary, Ryan now claims that Romney’s tax plan would be revenue neutral by getting rid of tax-shelters while cutting taxes for the middle class. Try not to laugh, this is their ‘wonk’ guy and he’s doubling down on failed policies in an attempt to rescue Romney from the truth.
In reality, Romney’s plan will raise taxes on the middle class by cutting deductions like mortgage interest, children, and charitable contributions. If you have kids, expect an average of a $2,000 a year raise in your taxes under Romney. Someone has to pay for the tax cuts to the rich, after all.
Watch Ryan spinning here:
NEIL CAVUTO: You know, you mentioned the specific solutions. And I was a little bit confused yesterday, Congressman, when Mitt Romney was talking about the tax cuts he was envisioning, that they wouldn’t be as big as you’d think, that when you factor out, you know, how we would phase out, I guess, exemptions and allowances and deductions—he didn’t specify which—that it might not be the big tax cut that a lot of folks were looking forward to. Was he trying to brace us for some bitter news?
PAUL RYAN: No, not at all. Look, what we’re saying is, lower tax rates through a broader base triggers economic growth. That’s what we’re talking about. And when people ask us about well, whose tax loopholes are you going to go after? What we have been saying is by closing tax shelters for higher income earners, which is what he’s referring to, that allows us to lower rates for everybody. Middle-income taxpayers get higher take home pay. Businesses have lower tax rates, which helps them compete globally, which helps them keep more of what they earn on the next dollar they make, which encourages job creation.
And so what we are saying is, by denying some of the tax shelters to higher income earners more of their income is subject to taxation, which means we can lower tax rates on everybody without losing revenue. In fact, we will get more revenue because we know this will grow the economy. These kinds of pro-growth tax reforms, Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill did it, Bowles-Simpson proposes it. We’re proposing it. Lower tax rates. Broaden the tax base. That is a pro-growth solution to get people back to work. That gets you higher take home pay. That’s what lets people in middle income keep more of what they earn. Under the current code you send a bunch of your money to Washington and then if you do what we approve of in Washington we might let you keep some of it back. That’s picking winners and losers. Both parties are guilty of it.
Paul Ryan is a guy who claims to base monetary policy on adolescent fiction, and apparently he’s embracing his love of fiction today, because there are no suggestions that Mitt Romney plans on cutting tax shelters for people like himself and Paul Ryan. Rather, Romney was planning on dumping the tax burden on all of you victims whom he had decided are unworthy of his time because you pay no taxes. He even announced that you wanted to pay more taxes, while acknowledging that he himself would never pay more than he had to.
It’s hard to take Paul Ryan seriously when he admitted that he had not done the numbers on his own budget and he refused to answer any specific questions on the budget. Remember when Ryan fell apart when asked to explain how he and Romney were going to pay for tax cuts to the rich? Here’s Ryan dodging on why he and Romney won’t tell the American people exactly what’s in their secret tax plan:
STEPHANOPOULOS: — many say it’s difficult –
RYAN: Go ahead, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: — to accept your word if you’re not going to specify which tax loopholes you’re willing to close. Don’t voters have a right to know which loopholes you’re going to go after?
RYAN: So Mitt Romney and I, based on our experience, think the best way to do this is to show the framework, show the outlines of these plans, and then to work with Congress to do this. That’s how you get things done. The other thing, George, is-
STEPHANOPOULOS: Isn’t that a secret plan?
RYAN: — we don’t want to — no, no. No, no. What we don’t want is a secret plan. What we don’t want to do is cut some backroom deal like ObamaCare, and then hatch (ph) it (ph) to the country.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But why not specify the –
RYAN: We want to do this –
STEPHANOPOULOS: — loopholes now?
RYAN: — out in the open –
STEPHANOPOULOS: Why not say right now –
RYAN: — because we want to do this –
RYAN: — we want to have this — George, because we want to have this debate in the public. We want to have this debate with Congress. And we want to do this with the consent of the elected representatives of the people, and figure out what loopholes should stay or go and who should or should not get them.
Yes, it is a secret plan. The reason it’s secret is because you won’t like it when you hear about it, just like you probably didn’t like what Mitt Romney had to say about 47% of Americans. Today’s Ryan appearance on Fox News is an attempt to both walk back Romney’s admission on the trail yesterday and distract with some new magical myths. But we are still not being told exactly what they would do or what their tax plan is, in reality.
Let’s review the facts behind the spin behind the job-creators trickling down on you narrative.
The Center On Budget And Policy Priorities conclude that “the Romney tax plan would lose about $480 billion in tax revenue in calendar year 2015, beyond the revenues losses inherent in maintaining current policy (such as continuing all of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts). Over the 2014-2022 period, that implies a total reduction in revenues of about $4.9 trillion, relative to current tax policy.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 5/21/12] So, no, Romney’s budget is not revenue neutral.
We know the Romney campaign said they refuse to be dictated to by fact checkers, but how about facts? Or even business oriented papers like Reuters — ‘cuz if anyone should get numbers, well, Reuters should, eh? Reuters headline: “Romney Tax Plan Helps Rich, Hurts Middle Class-Study.” [Reuters, 8/1/12]
In a Washington Post editorial, we were told, “The Tax Policy Center (TPC), a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, examined Mr. Romney’s claim and found that, even if every loophole for the top brackets were closed, there wouldn’t be enough revenue. The middle class would have to pay more.” [Editorial, Washington Post, 8/21/12]
We realize that Bush wasn’t much for paying for things, and Dick Cheney told us that “deficits didn’t matter” as the Bush administration burned through the Clinton surplus, but Republicans are very concerned about the deficit when they aren’t in charge. Ironically, their concern about the deficit may have helped propel Obama into one of the most fiscally responsible Presidents. But let’s see how disciplined they are — what if they were in charge? Is Mitt Romney planning on paying for these tax cuts to the rich? If he is, the only way that’s going to happen is families with kids pay more.
If Romney’s Tax Plan Was Paid For, Families With Kids Who Make Less Than $200,000 Would See An Average Tax Increase Of $2,041. [Tax Policy Center, On The Distributional Effects Of Base-Broadening Income Tax Reform, p. 18, 8/1/12]
If Romney’s Tax Plan Was Paid For, The Top 0.1% Would See An Average Tax Cut Of $246,652. [Tax Policy Center, On The Distributional Effects Of Base-Broadening Income Tax Reform, p. 19, 8/1/12]
The Tax Policy Center determined that the following deductions would be ‘on the table’, “(E)mployer provided health insurance and fringe benefits; the partial exclusion of social security benefits; above-the-line deductions like moving expenses; education-related benefits and tax credits; the deductions for medical expenses, state and local taxes, mortgage interest, and charitable contributions; child- and dependent-related tax credits like the child care credit, earned income tax credit, and child tax credit; and other items listed in the appendix.” [Tax Policy Center, On The Distributional Effects Of Base-Broadening Income Tax Reform, 8/1/12]
Not only is Ryan wrong about the implications of Romney’s tax policy for the middle class, but we all remember the awkward moment when Ryan tried to sell getting rid of tax shelters in a joint interview with Mitt the tax shelter Romney.
The truth is that independent analysts have studied the secret Romney tax plan that he won’t give you the details on, and the only way it works to give the rich the tax cuts Romney is promising them is if he raises taxes on the middle class and poor. Just yesterday Mitt Romney slipped up and admitted this, telling Ohio voters at a Westerville, Ohio rally that they shouldn’t “be expecting a huge cut in taxes because I’m also going to lower deductions and exemptions.”
There’s a reason Romney won’t be specific about his tax plan, and it’s not because you’re going to like it.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.