Alex Seitz-Wald over at Think Progress seemed to think this exchange between Paul Ryan and Chris Wallace potentially signaled some shift by him with his rhetoric on whether he'd be open to revenue increases after we ended up getting our credit rating downgraded by S&P. I would beg to differ and think it just sounded like a lot of the same weasel words we've been hearing out of the lot of them when it comes to whether they'd actually ever support raising taxes on their rich campaign donors.
While he did not draw the hard line that we've been hearing out of him that any deal has to be "revenue neutral", so much of this just sounds like the same old same old with what they consider a revenue increase in the first place and with the demands that any deal had better include "entitlement reform", I find it hard to believe that what he said to Chris Wallace here represents any real shift from what we've been hearing from this guy for some time now.
And given his track record, does anyone actually believe that Ryan would ever support tax increases in any way, shape or form? And he never says he'll support raising taxes on anyone. What he said is this:
RYAN: So if you just raising revenues to chase ever higher spending that is not good policy. And I don't think that's a good agreement. If we are convincingly restructuring these entitlement programs and getting that spending line down to meet that revenue line, then can you have higher revenue growth through more economic growth and tax reform, yes -- the answer is yes.
"Higher revenue through more economic growth and tax reform" does not equal raising taxes on anyone. It equals their same double talk that if you lower rates for upper earners and corporations, you're going to get more tax revenues coming in, which is trickle-down economics nonsense that we've been hearing from this Ayn Rand fan for as long as he's been allowed an interview on television. And tax "reform" equals lowering rates while supposedly closing loopholes, tax loopholes that can just be put right back in place later. And tax loopholes that Republicans stubbornly refused to support from day one of these negotiations over raising the debt ceiling in the first place.
I don't think we heard any shift from Ryan here on his previous positions. It's just more weasel words and double-speak trying to con Americans into thinking that we should support more policies that make the income disparity in the United States worse and that do nothing to fix our problem with the deficit or actually raise tax revenues, unless of course those taxes are raised on the middle class, or what's left of it, and the poor, or taking it out of their hides with destroying what's left of the social safety nets that are currently protecting a good deal of our elderly and our sick living in abject poverty.
I'll be glad to eat my words later if Republicans do actually agree to tax increases as part of these negotiations over the coming months, but I'm not holding my breath for Ryan or whoever gets appointed to this new committee to do so. I think Think Progress gave him way too much credit for looking like he might actually be willing to bend from the rigid stance we've seen Republicans take ever since President Obama got elected and especially since they got control of the House.
Full transcript below the fold.
WALLACE: Let me -- let me jump in here because, actually, you are bringing up a bunch of points I'm going to ask you about, because you talked about the lack of open-mindedness and production and not passing a budget by the Democrats -- all fair points.
WALLACE: I want to ask you about your open-mindedness. If you were on that committee and you get a deal, let's say $3 or $4 in spending cuts, in entitlement cuts, for every $1 in revenue increases, and the revenue increases came through tax reform where you lower rates but you also close the loop holes and some of the deductions and use some of that for revenue. And Speaker Boehner agreed to use 800 billion dollars of that at least temporarily, would you be open minded to including some of that revenue as part of the debt deal?
RYAN: It all depends on the spending side of the ledger. Here's what I mean when I say that, can you get higher revenues through broad based tax reform that gets more economic growth and therefore higher revenues. The answer I believe is yes.
The question really is, and we have yet see a response to this question, are we doing the things we need to do to get the spending line down, down to 20 percent of GDP. It's going to 40 of GDP by the time my kids are my age. And we have yet to see three to one, two to one, four to one, whatever you call it. We have yet to see any commitment to actually bring the spending line down.
So if you just raising revenues to chase ever higher spending that is not good policy. And I don't think that's a good agreement. If we are convincingly restructuring these entitlement programs and getting that spending line down to meet that revenue line, then can you have higher revenue growth through more economic growth and tax reform, yes -- the answer is yes.
But I don't see any agreement from the other side getting anywhere close to doing that.