Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's assertion that programs like Medicare and Social Security are staring at bankruptcy did not stop the Wisconsin congressman from once proposing a federal budget that would have eliminated virtually all taxes on people like his new running-mate, Mitt Romney. (Hat tip: the Los Angeles Times.)
While Ryan's positions have gone through a makeover of late, his 2010 version of the federal budget -- which propelled him to become the so-called "intellectual leader" of the Republican Party -- provided a straightforward plan for tax cuts.
Under Ryan's 2010 proposal, taxes on income derived from capital gains, interest, dividends and inheritance would be eliminated. This would mean that Romney -- who reported an income of $27 million in 2010, all of it from those sources -- would have paid nothing in taxes, according to the Atlantic.
While it's more ambiguous on the capital gains tax, Ryan's most recent budget proposal, for 2013, would still slash income and corporate taxes by $4 trillion, according to The New York Times. Ryan proposes offsetting that heavy loss of government revenue with $6 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade.
So who would end up losing funding? The Atlantic's Derek Thompson writes:
It's not just that Ryan would cut 40 percent from transportation, 40 percent from education and training, 30 percent from "income security" programs for the poor, and 24 percent from veterans, as Brad Plumer pointed out. It's that his long-term budget, if you project forward defense spending, would cut 91 percent from these and all other non-defense programs.
The latest Ryan budget does not specifically outline the fate of the tax on capital gains. But it's worth noting that before he announced his support for Ryan's budget plan, one prominent Republican attacked a complete elimination of the capital gains tax, on the very basis that people like Mitt Romney would pay nothing in taxes.
That Republican, of course, was none other than former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
GOPers calling for Romney to release tax returns?
"Politically, I think that would help him," Paul said in a interview with Politico. "In the scheme of things politically, you know, it looks like releasing tax returns is what the people want."
"I have no idea on why he has restricted the number to this point," Lugar said.
"I don't know why... he didn't get all of this out and tidy up some of his offshore accounts and all the rest," Will said on ABC's "This Week." "He's done nothing illegal, nothing unseemly, nothing improper, but lots that's impolitic."
"He should release the tax returns tomorrow. It's crazy," Kristol said on "Fox News Sunday." "You gotta release six, eight, 10 years of back tax returns. Take the hit for a day or two."
"I just believe in total transparency," Bentley told ABC News. "In fact, I was asked today that question -- do you think that Governor Romney should release his tax returns? And I said I do. I said, I release my tax returns. I may be the only public official in Alabama that does, but I release mine every year and I just believe that people should release their tax returns. And if you get them out and just get past that, it just makes it so much easier."
When asked on "The Situation Room" if Romney should release more returns, Barbour said, "I would. But should it be an issue in the campaign? I don't think it amounts to diddly."
"If there's nothing there, there's no 'there' there, don't create a there,'" Steele said on MSNBC.
"Tax returns the next problem. Releasing returns under pressure: more weakness, more pain," Frum tweeted.