On April 1, the House Republicans released a budget plan fitting of the holiday, promising to revoke the stimulus, freeze all spending, and slash taxes for the wealthiest Americans and corporations. Last night on Fox News’ “Hannity,” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) — the plan’s lead author — declared that the GOP tax proposal was “progressive”:
HANNITY: You talk about the demonizing: This has become a mantra, tax cuts for the wealthy, Republicans don’t care about the poor. They’ve been very effective in their bumper stickers and slogans and propaganda. How do you convince people that this benefits everybody…when the Democrats are out there saying you don’t care about the poor, which I know is a lie. But what’s the answer?
RYAN: Well, look, what we’re proposing is we’re going to give taxpayers a choice. You can have the current tax code with all of its loopholes and bells and whistles, or if you want a simplified system that fits on a postcard, two rates, 10 percent and 25 percent. It’s progressive.
If by “progressive,” Ryan means “overwhelmingly favoring the rich while hurting the middle class,” then yes, the GOP plan is indeed “progressive.” As the Citizens for Tax Justice found, the GOP plan would slash taxes for the richest Americans while poorer families would have to pay more:
–Over a third of taxpayers, mostly low- and middle-income families, would pay more in taxes under the House GOP plan than they would under the House Democratic plan in 2010.
— The richest one percent of taxpayers would pay $75,000 less, on average, in income taxes under the House GOP plan than they would under the Democratic plan in 2010.
— The income tax proposals in the House GOP plan…would cost over $225 billion more than the Democratic plan’s income tax policies in 2010 alone.
Indeed, the GOP’s “progressive” plan would give the average CEO a $1.5 million tax break. What’s more, the poorest Americans would be forced to pay more taxes under the GOP plan.
Americans have already witnessed the damage wrought by a tax plan that overwhelmingly favors the wealthy. After the passage of the Bush tax cuts — which Ryan’s plan would make permanent — “the richest Americans’ share of national income…reached a postwar record,” with the top 1 percent earning more than 21 percent of all income in 2005. President Bush, however, shrugged off the massive increase in inequality seen under his tenure. “First of all, our society has had income inequality for a long time,” he said.