Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) 2012 budget, which passed the House in March and has been embraced by Mitt Romney, raises taxes on everyone making less than $30,000, while giving massive tax breaks to those earning more than $1 million a year.
As this chart shows, those at the very bottom of the income scale would see their after-tax income shrink by the largest amount under Ryan’s plan (and they could see their taxes go up even more, if any tax credits were eliminated in an attempt to cover some of the cost of the plan):
But Ryan’s zeal for raising taxes on the poor and middle class would be news to Wisconsin voters who first sent him to Congress 14 years ago. During his 1998 campaign, Ryan went the opposite direction, proposing to eliminate taxes “on those least able to pay.” He called for scrapping the tax code and replacing it with a new one using the following principles:
- Economic growth through incentives to work, save, and invest
- Fairness for all taxpayers
- Simplicity, so that anyone can figure it out
- Neutrality, so that people and not government can make choices
- Visibility, so that people know the cost of government
- Stability, so that people can plan for their future
- Adopt a single, low rate with a generous personal exemption
- Lower the tax burden on America’s working families and remove it on those least able to pay
- End biases against work, saving, and investment
- Require a two-thirds super-majority vote in Congress to increase tax rates
Like Ryan, raising taxes on low-income Americans has become something of a recent obsession for Republicans. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), and others argue that it’s an injustice that those who don’t make enough money to qualify for the lowest tax bracket aren’t forced to pay income taxes.
Unfortunately for Americans, the Paul Ryan who wants the tax system to help the poor isn’t running for vice president. Instead, the Paul Ryan who proposes raising taxes on 20 million working families is.