Ryan, Stimulus-Lover

Ryan and Romney and Taxes and Spending: Hypocrisy-Fest Continues

Who loved stimulus spending back in 2002? His name rhymes with Small Lyin'.

No one cares that much per se about Paul Ryan's taxes, which were released in a Friday afternoon dump, although it is interesting, is it not, that he paid a higher percentage of his income to the federal government than Mitt Romney did.

In the one year for which Romney released almost-sorta full returns, he paid 13.9 percent. In the two years we got from Ryan, he and his wife paid 15.9 percent on around $240,000 in 2010, and 20 percent on $323,000 in 2011.

Meanwhile, under Ryan's tax proposal, both would of course pay considerably less. How much less? Matthew O'Brien of The Atlantic calculated last week that under Ryan's proposals Romney would have paid not 13.9 percent but .82 percent, or just $177,000 or so on $21 million earned. In fairness, I should note that the Ryan proposal isn't the same thing as the Romney proposal--the Ryan plan eliminates all taxes on capital gains (the main source of Romney's income), while Romney's position is to continue to tax rich peoples' capital gains, albeit at a lower rate than presently. So Romney under Romney's plan would pay more, but less than 13.9.

The juiciest Ryan tidbit to surface over the weekend, though, was put out there by Chris Hayes on his show yesterday. Hayes and staff found a fantastic clip of Ryan speaking on the floor of the House in 2002. The country was then in a recession. So what was Ryan's plea?:

“We've got to get the engine of economic growth growing again, because we now know because of recession, we don't have the revenues that we wanted to, we don't have the revenues we need, to fix Medicare, to fix Social Security. To fix these issues we've got to get Americans back to work,” Ryan said. “Then the surpluses come back, then the jobs come back. That is the constructive answer we're trying to accomplish here on, yes, a bipartisan basis.”

“It's more than just giving someone an unemployment check,” Ryan said of the Bush stimulus bill. “It's also helping those people with their health insurance while they've lost their jobs and more important than just that unemployment check, it's to do what we can to give people a paycheck.”

There you have it: The man who called the Obama stimulus bill "sugar-high economics" making the case for stimulus spending--when a Republican was in the White House. Truly amazing. Of all the hackish and dishonest things Ryan has said in recent weeks, I think the most hackish and dishonest of all may have been his remark to Ryan Lizza that he was "miserable" during the Bush years.

Please. He voted for the Bush stimulus bill that he spoke in defense of above. He voted for the Bush Medicare bill, which was an unfunded mandate. And of course he voted for the wars and the creation of the DHS and all the Bush security spending. Pleading misery over all that now is blatantly dishonest. He had the opportunity to vote no on some of those things. So why didn't he? Because he put political power and loyalty before every other consideration, as Republicans always do.