July 27, 2010

Digby did an excellent job of laying out how deficit hawk Paul Ryan was touting Herbert Hoover's economic policies during this interview on Hardball and rather than repeat too much of her post here, I'd just recommend that you go over to her place and read the whole thing, but I'll include a few snippets here.

Randy Fanboy Thinks he Invented Hooverism:

Matthews asked Paul Ryan (R-AynRandFanboy) today if we should let the Bush tax cuts expire. [...]

I suppose there's something to be said for consistency, but this perfectly illustrates just how radical Republican "thinking", such as it is, really is on economics. I suspect that he believes he's rejecting Keynesianism for Randism and that he's very cutting edge. But the truth is that this is not new, even by Rand's stale 50 year old philosophy's standards. [...]

Never say that Ryan or Hoover didn't want to end the economic crises they lived through. But they both believed that government should have balanced budgets with low taxes above all else, and that the people needed "tough love" or they would decline into indolence. [...]

The difference is that Hoover didn't know any better and didn't have the lesson of the Great Depression to fall back on and Ryan does. He apparently missed class that day (or made it up by reading Amity Schlaes puerile garbage for extra credit.) And anyone who knows better can do nothing but scream at the TV --- "he's actually trying to put us into another Great Depression" --- when they hear him say these things, as I just did.

As our own Jon Perr pointed out, Ryan is just repeating the Republican lie that President Obama will raise taxes on small businesses.

In February, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) regurgitated the long-debunked talking point:

"I don't think raising taxes is a great idea, and when our good friends on the other side of the aisle say raising the taxes on the wealthy, what they are really talking about is small business."

Of course, they're not talking about small business. As CNN concluded in October, "fewer than 2% of small business owners would pay more under Obama's plan." But in case there was any doubt about the Republicans' deception on the point, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center quickly put it to rest:

Out of 34.7 million filers with business income on Schedules C, E or F, 479,000 filers fall into the top two brackets, according to an analysis of projected 2009 filings by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

The other 34.3 million - or 98.6% - would be unaffected by Obama's proposed rate hike.

And as Jon also noted, when Paul Ryan is touting their ideas as an alternative for the federal budget it's nothing but a windfall for the wealthy.

Transcript via Lexis Nexis below the fold.

MATTHEWS: That was Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, of course, on "Meet the Press."

Will President Obama do -- or we will he get what he wants? And if he does, can Republicans win back power in November by crying the Democrats raised taxes or enacted the biggest tax increase in history, as they`re saying?

With us now, two members of the House of Representatives, both on the Ways and Means Committee, the committee that writes taxes, Democratic Congressman Joe Crowley of New York and Republican Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who is also the top Republican on the Budget Committee.

Thank you, gentlemen.

Let`s start with Congressman Crowley.

It seems to me the Democratic Party, that all the people I talk to want to see this tax cut for the wealthy ended. They think it`s been unfair. They think it`s the heart of Bush; that and going to Iraq are the two worst things Bush did.

Will the Democrats end the tax cuts for people making over $250,000 a year?

REP. JOSEPH CROWLEY (D), NEW YORK: I think that what Mr. Geithner said over the

weekend makes perfect sense.

I think we wouldn`t be in the mess we are in today had these tax cuts not gone

through for the wealthiest 1 percent in this country. I think the wealthiest 1

percent can afford a little bit more to live in the best country, the greatest

country the world has ever known.

And I think we can start to really address the issue of our national debt. We

wouldn`t be here for but for these irresponsible tax cuts and I believe these two irresponsible wars now.

MATTHEWS: Congressman Ryan, is there any tax role for reducing our $1.4 trillion to $1.7 trillion debt this year -- deficit this year? Is there any role in tax increasing to help do that job?

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: I don`t think it`s a good idea, especially when we`re trying to come out of a jobless recovery in a slow- growth economy.

Look, we have got unemployment at almost 10 percent. The last thing we should be doing is raising taxes on the economy. Look, the worst thing for deficit reduction is a slow economy. You hit small businesses with these kinds of tax rate increases and you will slow down the economy further. Look, 75 percent of those who will get hit with these higher tax rates are successful small businesses. Tens of millions of our jobs come from these small businesses. Now, if you try to blame these tax cuts and the wars for all of our fiscal problems, the numbers just don`t add up.

At best, 14 percent of the evaporation of the surplus came from these tax cuts. It all came from other circumstances: spending, economic growth declining, 9/11, all these other things.


RYAN: So, I think what Joe earlier said is right, which is these taxes will go up.

And I think that`s a mistake. And I think it`s going to hurt the economy.

MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask you one question as a follow-up.

It seems to me every Republican that goes on "Meet the Press" lately is asked, where

will you cut? They say nothing. They will not mention any cuts.


RYAN: Chris...

MATTHEWS: No, I have had Congressman Pence on, who won`t say any cuts.


MATTHEWS: So, you won`t cut -- you won`t raise taxes and you won`t cut spending.

RYAN: Chris...

MATTHEWS: So, in other words, all this bitching about the deficit doesn`t mean squat,

because you won`t do either, raise taxes or reduce spending.

RYAN: Let me answer it, then.

MATTHEWS: Neither one.

RYAN: This year, Congress isn`t even doing a budget, but, last year, when we did a budget, I brought a budget to the floor that specifically cut $4.8 trillion of spending out of the budget and paid for all of these tax cuts and debt reduction. Two months ago, we put out $1.3 trillion in very specifically listed and enumerated spending cuts. So, I can go on with you on cuts. I can show you all the kinds of cuts.

MATTHEWS: But that`s one-three hundredth (ph) of the deficit. That`s 0.3 of 1 percent you`ve talked about.

RYAN: Four-point-eight trillion dollars is not .3 of 1 percent of the deficit.

MATTHEWS: OK, 4.8 trillion. OK.

RYAN: And 1.3 trillion is not peanuts.


RYAN: It`s nothing to sneeze at.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let me go.


RYAN: Two things --

MATTHEWS: I just don`t see -- I just don`t see any program cuts. You`re talking in general terms, but let me tell you this: the major Republicans that come on television will not cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. They won`t cut the military. They can`t cut debt servicing. They won`t -- they won`t get rid of a major cost of government.

They`ll talk about, you know, let`s freeze discretionary spending or discretionary and domestic in some sort of generalized way. But they won`t get rid of government. They seem to like government. In fact, they love to talk against it.

RYAN: Go to Americanroadmap.org and you will see a very comprehensive piece of

legislation that the CBO has scored that`s actually paying off the debt --


RYAN: -- with specific reforms to the entitlements you mentioned.

MATTHEWS: Name a major piece of the 1.4 trillion to 1.7 trillion. No, just take --


MATTHEWS: -- just take a chunk out that 1.4 trillion by getting rid of a big program or good expenditure that people now watching can understand.

RYAN: I would rescind the unspent stimulus funds. I would rescind all the TARP funds that aren`t spent. I would do a federal hiring freeze and pay freeze for the rest of the year. And I would go back and cut discretionary spending back to `08 levels and freeze that spending going forward.

Now, you and I can get into a debate about Keynesian economics, whether it worked or didn`t. I don`t think it did. We increased domestic discretionary last year by 84 percent. I don`t think we should continue to build that kind of a base. Let`s go back and cut discretionary spending back to `08 levels.


RYAN: Rescind stimulus, rescind TARP and do a federal hiring and pay freeze. Those are just a few ideas that add up to $1.3 trillion right there.

MATTHEWS: OK. Congressman Crowley, I still don`t see any cuts in entitlements there. But go ahead.


PAUL: You asked me discretionary.

MATTHEWS: Congressman Crowley, let me ask you. What are the Democrats going to do about the deficit? Anything?

REP. JOSEPH CROWLEY (D-NY), WAYS & MEANS CMTE.: Well, I did notice there, though, Chris, was he didn`t mention at all his plan to privatize Social Security. Again, going back to the same old Bush agenda, the failed Bush agenda, the American people rejected in the election of Barack Obama and the Democratic majority in the House and the Senate.

(INAUDIBLE) as it may, I think Democrats have really taken steps to be more responsible. We`re working under a PAYGO system, pay as you go. And albeit there are some items that are cut off from that portion of it, we are attempting to get back a system that was proven to get our budgets in order to really -- under the Clinton administration --


CROWLEY: -- really just -- really bring back more fiscally responsible Congress, more responsible government. It has worked in the past. Chris, I think it will work in the

future. The president has said he wants to cut this deficit in half and I want to help him do that.

MATTHEWS: OK. Let`s get back to the bottom line. Are you comfortable going to the

voters, Congressman Crowley, with a proposal to eliminate the $250,000 and above tax cut?

CROWLEY: I could tell you, Chris, in my district, there are very few people who make

more than that money (INAUDIBLE) just a gross income of $250,000 or more. And I think, to live in the greatest country, as I said before, the world has ever known, it`s a small price to pay.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, Congressman Ryan -- you have no problems defending tax cuts for people who make over a quarter a million a year?

RYAN: Small businesses -- go to Wisconsin.


MATTHEWS: No, no, individuals. It`s an individual tax cut.

RYAN: No, no. You have to understand, Chris, 75 percent of those people who pay that

tax rate are small businesses who file as individuals, not corporations. That`s the problem with this economic argument, Chris, is when you think you`re just taxing rich

people like Bill Gates, what you`re end up doing is you`re hitting successful small businesses. When we tax our employers more than our foreign competitors tax theirs, they get our jobs and we lose in global competition.

So, we ought to be keeping our eye in economic growth and job creation, what`s necessary to do, and that means low tax rates on businesses and small businesses in certainty. We have a whole new tax on certainty that`s hurting economic growth. We need to give taxpayers certainty that they`re not going to have a huge wave of tax increases in 2011 and then another in 2013.


RYAN: I would argue that`s depressing economic growth and costing as jobs.

MATTHEWS: So, when the debt commission comes back this fall, and as a two-to-one cut

in spending and a $1 increase in taxes, you`ll oppose it?

RYAN: I`m a member of the debt commission. I`m working, my colleagues --



MATTHEWS: If the proposal is for $2 in spending cuts, and $1 tax increase, you`re going to oppose the majority position on that?

RYAN: I don`t think it`s good form to do table talk, what`s on the table or off the table in the debt commission. I`m hoping we could put a really good dent on the problem.

MATTHEWS: OK. Well, I`m with you with that.

Thank you, U.S. Congressman Joe Crowley of New York --

CROWLEY: Thanks, Chris.

MATTHEWS: -- and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

Can you help us out?

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