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Yep, This Is the Man Who Helped Give Us Whitewater

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To follow up on yesterday’s post, there’s one more thing about James Stewart’s ridiculous defense of the Ryan plan I’d like to point out:

As I pointed out a few weeks ago, Mr. Ryan’s tax plan, which calls for lowering top rates to 25 percent and 10 percent, could actually raise taxes on the ultrarich, since on average they, like the wealthy presidential candidate Mitt Romney, pay substantially less than an effective tax rate of 25 percent, and nowhere near the current tax code’s top marginal rate of 35 percent. The question is what would happen to the big break that the wealthy now get — the lower rate on capital gains.

Yes, in theory someone whose sole goal wasn’t the upward redistribution of wealth could develop a tax plan that lowered marginal rates but increased the effective tax rates of the rich. But would Paul Ryan‘s budget plan do this? If only there was some way of finding out what Paul Ryan thought about capital gains tax cuts! Until then, the question of whether Paul Ryan is a Sensible Cenrist or a right-wing radical will remain shrouded in mystery.

Wait a minute, I happen to have Paul Ryan right here! What would his ideal plan do?

Promotes saving by eliminating taxes on interest, capital gains, and dividends; also eliminates the death tax.

So rather than taxing capital gains like wages — as both principles of equity and free market principles would demand — he would eliminate the capital gains tax altogether. And in addition to this, he would also eliminate some taxes whose benefits accrue largely to the wealthy (or, as in this case of the estate tax, exclusively to the children of the extremely-to-obscenely wealthy.) Ryan’s desire to reduce marginal rates is part of a general plan to slash upper class taxes while eliminating most of the American welfare state, and to believe otherwise you have to believe that a bunch of magic ponies lurk behind his conveniently unpsecified tax loophole eliminations. Anyone who believes that Paul Ryan wants to cut a deal that would make the tax code more progressive in any respect probably spends a lot of time phoning Bernie Madoff in prison, wondering if it’s too late to invest.

Yep, this is the man who accused Hillary Clinton of being a crook because he forgot to read the second page of a tax document.

more from Dean Baker.

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