Category Archives: Paul Ryan tax plan

We Are Addicted to Novelty

We are becoming shallow people who are addicted to novelty. Out with the old, in with the new, whether the shiny new thing we admire will be good for us or not doesn’t really seem to matter. Four years ago Obama was new. Everyone was so excited. Now Paul Ryan is new and apparently people are shaken momentarily out of their lethargy. Maybe he will continue to fascinate our fickle tastes for a while or maybe our interests will wane when he starts making our brains freeze and our eyes glaze over by talking technical budget stuff and showing us his charts.

Paul Ryan has been around for the past four years. If anyone in the House of Representatives has been most responsible for the partisan divide it has been Paul Ryan. He wields a lot of behind the scenes influence with Republicans. I believe that he stopped the deal that Obama and Boehner had worked out, the deal that might have prevented our credit from being downgraded. He will tell you that Obama failed, but Paul Ryan did everything he could to prevent us from seeing if Obama’s approach would have worked. He is the “new guard” who exerts a powerful sway over the old guard. He is more conservative than the conservatives. He has brought them into line with a passionate belief in his dogma and his mathematical understanding, with which he dazzled them. Are we really going to fashion America’s future after an Ayn Rand plot? Now I’ll have to reread the darn book, The Fountainhead, again. Maybe I’ll just read the summary on Wikipedia. I don’t expect to be as spellbound by it as Paul Ryan. But he is “a lean and hungry man” and he has obviously either convinced the Republicans that he is all that; or they had Romney pick him for VP so they could get him off their backs.
I just could not disagree with anyone more that I disagree with Paul Ryan. Of course, I get my economic advice from Paul Krugman who also could not disagree with anyone more than he probably disagrees with Paul Ryan. Ryan believes in austerity for everyone but the wealthy. He espouses drastic cuts and very small government. He buys into the rugged individualist, pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-boot-straps mumbo-jumbo that the good old boys believe is the essence of the American psyche. It may have been appropriate when there were only 300,000 Americans and most of America was frontier, but not so much when we number 313+ million with no new frontier except space. He mistakes harshness for wisdom. He wants America to get a martyr complex. Paul Krugman does not agree that pure austerity is the way out of the current economic downturn. He writes for the New York Times opinion section, although he has been on vacation recently. When he comes back you should read his articles so you have something to balance against what Paul Ryan has to say. I still hope, even now that we have my worst case scenario, that we will not go there.

Correction: Apparently Paul Ryan like Atlas Shrugged rather than The Fountainhead. My bad. I’ll probably have to revisit both.

Republican Tax Code Reforms

It appears that Robert Pozen’s suggestions for changes to the tax code are not as bipartisan as he would like to believe (see my post from Friday, July 13, 2012). According to an article on Newsmax.com from July 11, 2012 by Jim Meyers and John Bachman the Republicans now favor the Ryan Tax Plan which is every bit as harsh and minimalist as Mr. Ryan’s character seems to be.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling talked to Newsmax and what he said is reported in an article called Hensarling to Newsmax: Obamacare Repeal the ‘Will of the People’. For the most part he repeated all the usual arguments against the Affordable Health Act, however, near the end of the article he sums up the current Republican position on the tax code.
“On tax reform, he tells Newsmax: ‘Ultimately Republicans want to pass a fair, flatter, simpler, more competitive tax code. We put it into our budget, a two-tiered flat tax system at 10 and 25 percent, bringing down the corporate rate. We have the single highest corporate tax rate in the world, which helps shift jobs overseas and makes us uncompetitive.
We want to clear out all the loopholes, all the exclusions, broaden the base and lower the rates. “
I would say that this represents an increase in taxes for many middle class Americans and even low-income Americans since I assume things like the Earned Income Tax Credit would disappear and deductions for mortgages and educational costs and every loophole or exclusion, not just the ones that give money back to people who don’t need it. What will happen to Social Security income? Will we pay taxes on the whole thing? Will the formula that allows us to count about half of our Social Security income as taxable disappear? This plan looks like the middle class and lower income Americans will have a greater rise in their taxes than that experienced by higher income Americans. Will wealthy Americans still be able to move money to non-taxable off-shore accounts? What will happen to special interest provisions like the one for NASCAR or the tackle-box industry or Eskimo whaling captains?
Once again, Republicans are the party that protects millionaires and corporations, sets them up as better than other Americans because they have the financial wherewithal to keep the nation’s economy afloat. It ignores the fact that these fortunate people (after all, corporations are people) are in the mood to hold on to their wealth rather than invest it in an America that is floundering to find its footing in a transitional global economy. (Or are they waiting for the other shoe to drop?) Yikes!