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  • Obama’s Deconstruction of Ryan Deconstructed

    (Factcheck.org) – The Obama campaign points to old proposals by Rep. Paul Ryan in saying that Mitt Romney would pay “less than 1 percent in taxes” under Ryan’s plan and that seniors would pay $6,000 more for Medicare. Ryan’s 2010 budget proposal would have eliminated capital gains and dividend taxes — which were indeed the bulk of Romney’s tax burden for 2010 — but Ryan dropped that specific measure from subsequent budgets. The Medicare claim, too, pertains to a less generous plan Ryan released last year, not his most recent budget.

    Ryan’s 2010 plan would have meant a less than 1 percent tax rate for Romney, as several news organizations have calculated. That’s because the 2010 Ryan budget called for eliminating taxes on capital gains, dividends and interest, and that’s where the bulk of Romney’s 2010, and 2011, income came from.

    Ryan’s 2010 budget plan was proposed when Republicans were in the minority in the House, and it had no chance of passage.

    Ryan’s 2011 and 2012 plans, which were passed on party-line votes in the House of Representatives, called for broadening the tax base, reducing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, (as specified in the plan released in 2012) creating just two (instead of six) tax brackets of 10 percent and 25 percent, and repealing the alternative minimum tax.

    The Obama camp also repeats the old claim that Ryan’s Medicare plan would have seniors pay “up to $6,000 more for their health care.

    Under the new Ryan plan, the premium-support payment would be tied to the second-cheapest health care plan, which can’t grow more than gross domestic product plus 0.5 percentage points. So, Ryan’s plan says the premium support would always be enough to cover the two cheapest plans. However, if the costs do grow faster than GDP plus 0.5 percentage points, the plan says Congress would have to step in and take some unspecified action to keep costs down.

    CBO hasn’t conducted a detailed analysis of the latest plan, which is more generous but still calls for less government spending than the current Medicare system. CBO only said that “beneficiaries might face higher costs,” adding that there was a lot of uncertainty to making such an estimate.

    The Obama campaign also claimed that Ryan’s budget plan “cuts college scholarships for 10 million kids. Throws 200,000 kids off Head Start. You know, cuts veterans’ benefits, clean energy benefits, all of the investments we need to grow our economy.” And Wasserman Schultz said it would “potentially take 10 million students off of Pell Grants, cut health care, cut education.” But those claims are based on an assumption that Ryan’s spending cuts would be implemented across the board.

    Ryan has given very little detail on how exactly he’d bring non-security discretionary spending below 2008 levels — that’s about $5.3 trillion less than what Obama has proposed over a decade. So, the Obama camp has filled in the details with across-the-board cuts.


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