Two Tax Plans

On the one hand, we have the House Republicans’ proposed tax plan, one whose construction was led by the House Budget Committee Chairman, Congressman Paul Ryan (R, WI).  The outline of this plan contains replacement of our present six income tax brackets with just two, 10% and 25%, and reduction or elimination of tax loopholes used by (the nebulously defined) “high-income” Americans.  Ryan suggested

Take away the tax shelter, subject all of their income to taxation, and get more revenue—and we can lower everybody’s tax rate in return.

Beyond that, Ryan conceded that at this early stage, it’s not possible to know whether these “wealthy” would gain or lose from the exchange, and he refused to go into detail on the loopholes to be cut or eliminated.  It’s the House Ways and Means Committee’s task to work out the tax details in any budget proposal; until the details are worked out, the impact of the changes is inherently unknowable; and Ways and Means discussions should be held by that committee in public, not by Ryan on talk television programs, including Fox News Sunday, where these remarks were recorded.

President Obama didn’t waste time objecting to the plan.  Through his senior advisor, David Plouffe, he told Fox News Sunday that Ryan’s plan “fails the test of balance, fairness and shared responsibility.”  This certainly does draw a stark contrast between the Republicans’ ideas and his own: he continues to demand his right to raise taxes, with the inherent unfairness of taking money that doesn’t belong to government in the first place, or of raising taxes to get money the government doesn’t need.  Obama went on, claiming the Ryan plan would give the “average millionaire and billionaire” a tax cut of $150,000:

It showers huge tax cuts on millionaires and billionaires, paid for by seniors and veterans.

Here is demonstrated Obama’s breathtaking omnipotence: it’s not possible to know the effect since the Ways and Means Committee has not written the details, but he “knows,” anyway.

Obama then disparaged the Ryan plan’s vouchers for Medicare while continuing to refuse to offer any evidence of the downside of such vouchers—continuing, instead, his drumbeat of cynically unsubstantiated claims of rising costs to seniors.  With these aspersions, he also ignores the market competition effects on costs from seniors shopping their business around among private health insurers.  Moreover, his complaint comes with his continued refusal to offer a solution of his own.  He insists, instead, on simply defunding Medicare through his Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and his payroll tax cut, despite the pending financial failure of the current Medicare system.

On the other hand, the Table below shows Democratic Party’s tax plan for our consideration and discussion:

Oh, wait: they don’t have one.  They’ve refused these last three years even to offer one beyond the cynical jokes contained in Obama’s “budget” proposals.  They’ve just had the courage of sitting on the sidelines sniping at plans that others have offered—and then refusing even to discuss those other plans in the Senate.

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