Economics, Taxes and Spending

Is Paul Ryan willing to raise taxes?

Are Republicans now willing to raise taxes, even just a smidgen? The calculation is hardly straightforward. Sen. Pat Toomey, a SuperCommittee member, proposed, according to AP, raising “$250 billion in revenue … from a sweeping revision of the tax code that would bring the top rate down from 35 percent to 28 percent while reducing or eliminating many commonly used itemized deductions.”

If nothing is done, the top marginal income tax rate reverts to 40 percent in 2013 (or even 44.8 percent). So is the Toomey Plan a tax hike and a violation of the anti-tax pledge many Republicans have taken? Do you measure by extrapolating the present code or by assuming the Bush expiry and then measuring from there? Roll Call outlines it: “So the Republican plan would be a small net tax increase if existing tax rates continue, but it would score as a giant tax cut — exceeding $3 trillion over the next decade — relative to letting the Bush tax cuts expire.”

Here is House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s full answer on the topic from our chat yesterday:

RYAN: You’ve got to measure these things in the context of current law and the current path, which is the top rate goes to 44.8 percent and becomes extremely progressive and it just destroys small businesses. Nine out of ten businesses in Wisconsin are pass-through entities, sub-chapter S, sole proprietors. This is devastating to them. So bringing the top rate down to 28 percent and lower for the rest of the scale is a very good thing. I believe from a dynamic standpoint you’ll raise more revenues. I don’t buy these static analysis models anyway. So to me, again it’s kind of a faulty …  I think the question is can you get Republicans to somehow renege on a principle is what I think these questions are based at.

PETHOKOUKIS: So is the Toomey plan acceptable to you?

Yeah, he’s bringing rates down. They’re at 35 today, they’re going to 45 and he’s bringing them to 28. I don’t buy into  that static stuff anyway. It’s as if some cardinal sin has been committed here. … What matters is that the rates are going down. Everybody — whether you’re a Steve Forbes flat-tax guy, which is more what I like, or you’re a Fair Tax guy or a 9-9-9 man —  believes in broadening the tax base and lowering the rates for growth, stop picking winners and losers in the tax code and having a very efficient tax system for growth. And what Pat Toomey produced is perfectly consistent with those principles.

10 thoughts on “Is Paul Ryan willing to raise taxes?

  1. $250 billion in taxes over a 10 year period is nothing. If it leads to lower top rates, fewer loopholes, etc. it works. Without enough cuts, it won’t make a huge difference to the deficit, but would at least be pro-growth, as lower rates/less loopholes will reduce the amount of investment that is based on tax rules rather than most efficient return.

    Anything the super committee is doing, without completely reworking the tax structure, is minor compared to the projected spending over the next decade. We’re talking about 2% here.

  2. Here’s an easy budget deal that should thrill Dems and that Republicans can buy into even if it raises taxes:
    Return to Clinton era tax rates along with Clinton era spending levels!
    It’s a win-win!

    • bpbatista,

      better idea is to enact the FairTax. Under it, low and middle income families spending at twice the poverty level pay a FairTax of only 11.5% which is considerably less than the payroll deductions (around 23%) that is taken from everyone’s checks (even if they will owe no taxes) and, under the FairTax, no politican, lobbyist or “special interest” group can ever dictate to any American how little they will take home in pay and how much they must pay in taxes and every American will take home a full paycheck with no deductions plus receive a prebate so that no one pays taxes up to poverty level.

      check it out

    • That would never happen. The “Clinton” era tax rates and spending levels were set by a Republican congress.

      Here’s what WILL happen. The “super committee” will “punt” and allow the automatic cuts to fall into place. The “Bush” tax cuts will expire. Congress will continue “punting” the budget as well, actually they already have, with the current minibus spending bill that just went to the White House.

      This creates a “safe playing field” during an election year. I think it will “backfire” on both sides though. I expect fiscal conservatives to be able to make great strides towards elections this year.

    • What you’re missing here is that Obamacare has taxes payroll taxes increasing, so simply letting the Bush rates would actually give us the Clinton tax rates plus the Obamacare tax rates. It would also leave the Swiss cheese tax code – by the way, Obama wants the Clinton tax rates, plus his Obamacare tax rates minus the deductions and credits which is even worse.

  3. The top rate kicks in on income just north of $350,000. It’s hard to see how that would devastate small businesses, when the vast majority aren’t even close to that figure. Besides even at the Clinton rates, a person making $400K would only be paying 2K more in taxes if the Bush tax cuts expired.

  4. Of course Paul Ryan is “willing” to raise taxes. Not only he is “willing” to, he’s DEMANDING IT, as are the rest of the conservatives. After all, their latest battle cry is in the united cause to get the 43% who pay a net 0 or less federal income taxes to pay more taxes. That is a tax increase as going from 0 or a negative number to a positive number is an INCREASE no matter how you spin it(and conservatives love to spin and parse that puts Slick Willy to shame).

  5. Note how the only rate that Ryan seems to care about is the one the rich pay. Go figure.

    If you earn less than a few hundred grand and vote Republican, you are stupider than a chicken who votes for KFC. If you earn more than that and vote Republican, you are evil and greedy. And in both cases, you are the opposite of a patriot, who loves his country enough to pay his or her taxes and would never, ever put a war on the credit card.

  6. The FairTax is the only sane way to go. BTW, Cain has been pushing the 9-9-9 tax, but few seem to realize that it is temporary. It’s set up to educate people about the FairTax and it is a bridge TO the FairTax. I fail to understand why so many people distort that message!

    The FairTax is a tax on new items as well as services. There’ll be no more taxes created by legislatures on corporations which would be passed on to citizens. There will be no more money from huge corporations going to mega-banks in the Caribbean.

    There’ll be a prebate for anyone who requests it so long as they are here legally. Twelve million illegal aliens would not be eligible, nor will crooks, pimps, or international travelers, or other people running under the radar. My personal belief is that this part of the FairTax will yield more tax revenue than the creators of the FairTax suspected because of the many people who will now pay taxes who were not paying taxes previously, plus they’ll be paying the full measure of the tax, unlike regular citizens.

    The cost of implementation would be far less than the IRS which, BTW, is broken, anyway.

    One thing investors would very much like to see is that taxes on gains would go away.

    Even my own tax preparer is for the FairTax, and she is a very smart lady. She would be happy to find other employment. When I brought that up, she had a big smile on her face.

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