Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Catch of the Day

Ezra Klein parses Paul Ryan on tax expenditures: Ryan's current position is that eliminating tax loopholes in the context of deficit reduction counts as an increase in marginal tax rates, because since Ryan supports revenue-neutral tax reform that would trade tax expenditures for lower rates, then getting rid of tax expenditures without lowering tax rates is "really" a form of raising tax rates.

Got that?

You should, because it's nothing new. It was exactly the logic that Republicans used to blast Democrats for cutting Medicare even though Republicans supported (and, this year, voted for) the exact same cuts. See, the Democratic version of the cuts was bad because they used it for something Republicans considered frivolous (expanding the number of people with health insurance), rather than what Republicans consider urgent (well, they say it's budget-balancing, but it's pretty obviously really tax cutting).

Now, that's slightly different, if not entirely different, from the current Republican position on Medicare, which is that the only possible choices are between the Ryan plan and entirely eliminating the program, and therefore opposition to Ryan's VoucherCare is fairly described as supporting the elimination of Medicare (while it's horribly unfair to call the complete transformation of the program into something utterly different from what it's been for fifty years anything close to "ending" Medicare).

And that's different, yet again, but again not entirely different from what Jonathan Chait posted about this morning, which is the Republican talking point -- Paul Ryan, again -- that discusses the effects of Barack Obama's enormous, albeit entirely fictional, tax increases.

I was thinking of entitling this one "Republican Zeal Against Imaginary Policies," but that doesn't sound quite right, although it's close. I suppose "Republicans Double Down on Sophistry" would have been a possibility, but it doesn't quite cover it. "Yet More Nonsense from the GOP"? I don't know. I'll say this -- I'd love to see any comparable rhetoric/distortions/whatever from the Democrats. If anyone has 'em, I'll post them. I've said many times before that my tendency is to defend most traditional political spin, but this stuff really strikes me as different. Anyway, as you can see, I just made it a CotD for Klein, and I'll leave it there.


  1. I don't think its on the same level as Republican tax nonsense. As you suggest, not much is. But I find Obama's spin on Libya as not a war or hostilities or any other synonym for war to be ridiculous.

    Sure, we don't have troops on the ground and its not a very conventional situation. But dropping bombs on a country is pretty darn hostile in my book.

  2. I wonder whose tax rate Ryan would want to cut to make that "revenue neutral"...

    As far as a title goes, how about "Paul Ryan seems unsure what the phrase 'tax rate' means"?

  3. For title how about, "Same (GOP bull)shit, different day."


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