If the budget Rep. Paul Ryan put forward as the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee had been enacted last year, most Americans would be paying big time.
Under the Wisconsin congressman's plan, the bottom 80 percent of American earners would have paid about $1,700 more in taxes on average than under President Obama’s plan, according to an analysis by the progressive Center for Tax Justice. Despite the boost, the government would have lost out on $183 billion in revenue 2011 and at least $2 trillion over a decade, thanks in part to tax cuts for the top 20 percent.
It seems that the only Americans getting a tax break under Ryan’s plan are the super-rich. Those in the top 1 percent in terms of income would receive a more than $200,000 tax cut, compared to Obama’s budget proposals, according to the Center for Tax Justice analysis.
"These figures make obvious that Congressman Ryan’s budget plan has nothing to do with balancing the budget, but has everything to do with creating a system that takes more from the poor and less from the rich,” the authors of the report wrote.
Ryan, now the presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee, has found his tax proposals and those of his running mate, Mitt Romney, to be a flashpoint on the campaign trail. Though the two plans differ, an analysis of Romney's tax proposals by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center found that the former Massachusetts governor's proposal to cut tax rates by 20 percent for all Americans would benefit the rich the most.
Romney has said that to offset revenue losses resulting from tax cuts he would close certain tax loopholes, though he hasn’t been specific about which ones. The Tax Policy Center analysis found that for Romney’s plan to be revenue-neutral, as his advisers claim it is, taxes on middle- and low-income Americans would have to go up.
After being pressed on whether Romney’s plan would raise taxes on most Americans during a Fox News interview earlier this month, Ryan said that he and Romney would discuss their tax proposals “in the light of day,” or after the election.
Another point of controversy has been how much the candidates themselves have paid in taxes. Romney says he never paid taxes at a rate below 13 percent over the past decade. Middle-class Americans paid taxes at a rate of 16 percent in 2010.
Last week, Ryan released his tax returns from the past two years; under his proposed tax plan, Ryan would have gotten a tax break of about $22,000 in 2011, according to a Huffington Post analysis, while Romney has faced accusations that he would pay less than 1 percent under Ryan's plan.