Last week, we noted that NPR let Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) trash the spending in the Obama administration’s proposed budget, without having to answer for the deficit effects of his own proposal to slash taxes for the wealthy and corporations. In an appearance on C-Span yesterday, Ryan did not get off so easily, and his meandering answer about small businesses and the stimulus made it abundantly clear that he has no idea what his tax cuts would mean for the deficit:
Q: What is it going to mean for the deficit? You made a lot of hay about deficit spending with the Democrats’ budget. It seems like a tax cut is only going to add to that deficit.
RYAN: We think we need to make up that difference on spending. We think we need to grow out the economy with pro-growth tax policy…Look, we have a massive deficit right now, you can’t balance the budget tomorrow because it’s out of control, but we need to show the economy and the American people that we have a plan and a glide path to get our fiscal house in order and to grow our economy by helping entrepreneurs and small business people, not by raising their taxes, but by lowering their taxes.
Kudos to Politico’s Patrick O’Connor for asking Ryan this question, even if Ryan artfully dodged the answer. Fortunately, Citizens for Tax Justice ran the numbers on Ryan’s income tax proposals. Here’s what they found:
- Over a fourth of taxpayers, mostly low-income families, would pay more in taxes under the House GOP plan than they would under the President’s plan.
- The richest one percent of taxpayers would pay $100,000 less, on average, under the House GOP plan than they would under the President’s plan.
- The income tax proposals in the House GOP plan…would cost over $300 billion more than the Obama income tax cuts in 2011 alone.
That’s $300 billion more annually, without factoring in the cost of cutting the corporate tax and eliminating the capitals gains tax, both of which Ryan also proposed. As Lee Fang pointed out on ThinkProgress, Ryan conceded that his budget would increase the deficit “a lot.” It might behoove him to figure out how much of that comes from his radical, regressive tax plan.