Monday, March 11, 2013

Paul Ryan’s ‘Pro-Growth Tax Reform’ Would Cut Taxes For The Rich, Likely Raise Them On The Middle Class

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) will release the third edition of his budget Tuesday, and it will again make drastic changes to Medicare, Medicaid, and federal spending levels. It will also revamp the federal tax code through what Ryan touted as “pro-growth tax reform” during an appearance on Fox News Sunday this weekend. If his past budgets are any indication, such tax reform would dramatically lower tax rates on the wealthy and corporations, costing the government trillions of dollars in revenue.

The House budget, Ryan said, would achieve this “pro-growth tax reform” by lowering tax rates across the board while cutting tax expenditures, as CBS reports:

Ryan also repeated his call for “pro-growth tax reform” that lowers rates across the board by eliminating tax expenditures. “That’s good for economic growth,” he said, “That’s good for job creation and hard-working tax payers, by having less loopholes in the tax code.”

Ryan’s last budget, the Path to Prosperity, amounted to a $3 trillion tax cut for the rich and corporations. Ryan and House Republicans said they would make up for that lost revenue by closing tax loopholes, though they never took that step and it is unlikely there is enough politically-feasible revenue to be gained from doing so even if they tried. When Mitt Romney released a similar tax plan during the 2012 election, a nonpartisan analysis found that to avoid adding to the deficit, it would have to raise taxes on middle class families by an average of $2,000. Past plans included in House Republican budgets adhere to the same basic principles as the Romney tax plan and would almost surely require a similar tax increase.

Ryan promises his budget will balance in 10 years, a decade faster than the 2012 version. But he has only been able to claim balance because he assumes revenue will stay north of 18 percent of GDP, even though his tax plan would reduce it to roughly 15 percent of GDP, according to the Center for American Progress’ Michael Linden. To achieve balance without raising sufficient revenue from closing loopholes — which, again, likely isn’t politically possible — Ryan would be forced to raise taxes on the middle class. To avoid raising taxes on the middle class, his plan to reduce America’s debt would instead add substantial amounts to it.

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