Today, both the House and Senate budget committees are marking up their respective budget documents. In advance of the House meeting, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) appeared on CNBC to talk up his “alternative budget,” which he has previewed in the Wall Street Journal and plans to release next week. CNBC guest-host Fred Malek said that Ryan’s plan “gives me a lot of confidence,” and is “going in the right direction”:
RYAN: We’re not going to do cap and trade, we’re not going to do any tax increases. [...] We’re going to go in a completely different direction and show the American people how we would do things much much differently to restore growth and confidence to our economy, keep the American economy growing, and not switch over to a Europeanized type of economy.
MALEK: Paul that gives me a lot of confidence what you just said. I think you’re absolutely going in the right direction.
Ryan never explained on-air what his budget entailed, but a look at the details explains CNBC’s wholehearted support. Ryan’s plan, as it is, consists almost entirely of massive tax cuts for corporations and the rich, including:
- Lowering the top marginal tax rate to 25 percent
- Lowering the corporate tax rate to 25 percent
- Completely eliminating the capital gains tax
As Ben Furnas pointed out yesterday, this budget plan gives the average CEO a $1.5 million tax break, while doing precisely nothing for minimum wage workers. As Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag said during a conference call today, “in terms of an alternative vision, and to my understanding that’s the only thing out there, the flaws in it are pretty clear.”
Lacking from Ryan’s budget is any effort to deal with the pressing issues that Obama’s budget tackles: health care, energy independence, and education reform. Essentially, CNBC is confident that the “right direction” is further enriching the rich while ignoring all of the problems that are crippling the economy.
Yglesias has more on Fred Malek:
Malek is most infamous for the fact that on Richard Nixon’s behest he compiled a list of Jews working at the Bureau of Justice Statistics so that the paranoid and anti-semitic president could keep tabs on alleged conspiracies against him. But there’s really much more! He helped politicize the administration of justice all up and down the land, bailing out racist universities and corrupt unions and everything in between.