Bob Schieffer Asks Paul Ryan How He Can Justify Cutting Taxes for the Rich
This might have been a decent interview by CBS's Bob Schieffer if he'd bothered to do some follow up with Rep. Paul Ryan after he pretended that his budget plan which lowers tax rates for the rich is not going to do anything but funnel more money to the wealthiest among us.
He did follow up when Ryan initially said that his plan didn't include lowering the top rates down to 25%, which he was forced to backtrack on, but then he allowed him to pretend like Republicans are ever going to agree to do anything meaningful to close the tax loopholes or to raise the effective tax rate on their wealthy campaign donors.
Here are a couple of articles on what Ryan's proposal would actually do. From Mother Jones last year -- Paul Ryan's Plan to Tax You More.
Go read the article, but I wanted to share the chart it included illustrating what Ryan's plan would mean for the tax rates all of us pay.
And here's more from Think Progress' The Wonk Room -- Paul Ryan’s Deliberately Vague Plan To Raise Taxes On The Middle Class:
Before we all get too weak-kneed over House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) “courageous” budget, let’s take a quick look at the tax side of the ledger. Ryan uses boilerplate language and topline bullet points to obscure an important fact: his plan would almost certainly raise taxes on most middle-income people.
Here’s what we do know. Ryan’s plan would:
– Maintain the Bush tax cuts, and further, cut the top individual tax rate down to 25 percent from 35 percent;
– Consolidate the current six tax brackets into some, unspecified, fewer number of brackets;
– Keep overall revenue levels the same;
– Pay for the enormous tax cut for the top by eliminating or curtailing some, unspecified, tax expenditures.
More there, so go read the rest. Maybe someone can send the articles to Bob Schieffer for the next time he decides to have Paul Ryan on pretending he doesn't really just want to lower taxes for rich people.
Transcript via CBS News below the fold.
SCHIEFFER: You know, you-- you have two very different approaches that are now out there. The President wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans. He wants to keep Medicare in place. The big part of the savings in your plan is to do away with Medicare, replace it with private insurance that would be subsidized by the government, and you actually want to lower taxes on the wealthy, even lower than the Bush tax cuts which were enacted during the Bush administration. I-- I guess the question I would have, congressman, why do these rich people need another tax cut? I mean they’re already rich. They seem to be doing pretty well as it is now. Why cut their taxes some more?
RYAN: So first of all, we’re not talking about cutting taxes. We’re just not agreeing with the President’s tax increases. I guess that’s the new definition of tax cuts. We’re saying keep tax rates where they are right now. And get rid of all those loopholes and deductions, which by the way are mostly enjoyed by wealthy people so you can lower tax rates. We’re basically taking a page out of the play book of the Fiscal Commission, the President’s Fiscal Commission supported by a majority of Democrats said the same thing--broaden the tax base lower the tax rates for economic growth, a simpler, flatter fair tax code more internationally competitive so we can create jobs. That’s what we’re proposing. This isn’t tax cuts. It’s tax reform targeting our revenues at where they are right now. We’re just signing on to all the tax increases that the President is proposing.
And Medicare, let me just tell you, no change would occur to anybody fifty-five years of age or above. The problem is Medicare goes bankrupt in nine years. Unless we do something to save it, it won’t be there for future generations like my generation. And the ideas we’re talking about for reforming Medicare is a system that works just like the one that I have as a member of Congress, that federal employees have. It works like the prescription drug benefit works now for seniors, which has proven to lower costs and expand choices. And also it’s an idea that has come from both parties in the past. It has-- traditionally had bipartisan support in the past. And I would simply say the President had one idea he gave us on Wednesday, which is have this board of fifteen people that he appoints ration and price control Medicare for current seniors. So we just don’t think government rationing on Medicare is the answer. We think we should keep the promise to current seniors and people ten years away from retiring, but then reform the system for the next generation, so that it’s safe and solvent for current seniors and for future generations because Medicare is going bankrupt.
SCHIEFFER: All right, let-- let me go back to what you said there at the top. You say you’re not for cutting taxes. But am I misinformed? I thought you were talking about lowering that rate for the top-
RYAN: In exchange for deductions.
SCHIEFFER: --income taxpayers back to about twenty-five percent, so isn’t that a tax cut?
RYAN: That’s right. In ex-- in exchange for losing your deductions, so in exchange for losing the loopholes and deductions that mostly higher income earners use, so what we’re saying is keep tax revenues where they are, don’t lower tax revenues but clean up the tax code so that it works. If you have really high tax rates what you end up doing is you penalize small businesses. You have to remember, Bob, most successful small businesses file their taxes as individuals. Most of our jobs come from these small businesses. The President is proposing to raise the top tax rate on these small businesses to 44.8 percent. We don’t think that’s good for jobs. We don’t think that’s good for economic growth. And when we tax our employers a whole lot more than our foreign competitors tax theirs, we lose, they win and we don’t want that. So just like the Fiscal Commission, the bipartisan Fiscal Commission said, lower tax rates, broaden the tax base for economic growth and that’s exactly what we’re proposing.
SCHIEFFER: I-- I guess the part that I don’t quite understand and I take your proposal to be a serious one but the part I don’t understand is.
RYAN: Thank you.
SCHIEFFER: If the country is going bankrupt, if the country needs to borrow forty cents of every dollar that it spends, how do you help that by reducing the amount of taxes that the richest people in the country pay? It would be seem to be that’s where you get revenue. How do-- how do you-- how do you justify?
RYAN: Two things. Two things, number one, we don’t have a tax problem. Our revenuers are going back to where they have been historically. We have a big spending problem. Spending is growing at a very unsustainable rate. So let’s focus on spending. The other thing I would simply say is massive tax increases. The President’s proposing 1.5 trillion in tax increases. The Democrats in Congress are proposing anywhere from two to sixteen trillion dollars in tax increases based on the three budgets they brought to the floor the other day. We don’t want to slow down the economy. Here’s the-- here’s what we’re trying to get, spending cuts and controls to get spending under control because that’s the problem and economic growth and job creation. We don’t want to give up one to get the other.
Raising tax rates on anybody, especially successful small businesses slows down the economy, loses jobs and if you have lower economic growth, you have less revenues and it puts you further behind. We want more tax revenues but we want to get it by expanding job creation, by expanding economic growth so the secret to success here is economic growth and job creation through tax reform, not tax cuts, tax reform at the same levels get better economic growth which we get more revenues and also focus on the problem. The problem is spending. The problem is how much we’ve been spending and how we spend and we have to reform those. And that’s what we really want to be focusing on here.
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