Paul Ryan Still Says He Wants to Take Away Some Mysteriously Fuzzy “Tax Shelters” From the Rich

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

Here’s an excerpt from yesterday’s 60 Minutes interview with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan:

Bob Schieffer: You say of course the wealthiest people pay the larger share, but don’t they also pay at a lower rate? When you figure in capital gains and all of that?

Mitt Romney: Well, it depends on the individual, what their source of income is. But if you look at the top one percent or five percent or quartile, whatever, they pay the largest share of taxes. And that’s not something which I would propose making smaller.

Paul Ryan: What we’re saying is take away the tax shelters that are uniquely enjoyed by people in the top tax brackets so they can’t shelter as much money from taxation, should lower tax rates for everybody to make America more competitive.

Needless to say, Bob Schieffer didn’t bother following up with the obvious question: “And what tax shelters do you have in mind, congressman Ryan?” You see, the biggest “tax shelters,” by far, are the exclusion of health benefits from taxation, the mortgage interest deduction, deferred taxes on retirement plans, and special treatment of capital gains.

In fact, if you take a look at the list of tax expenditures on the right, it’s not clear to me that there are more than two or three of them that Ryan and Romney really want to touch in any kind of serious way. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they really are willing to hack away at these things, and to hack away only above a certain income level.

If they are, though, they ought to say so, especially since they’re so eager to talk in detail about the lower tax rates they endorse for people in the top tax brackets. They never will, of course, because this is all a feint for the rubes. They almost certainly have no intention of touching this stuff. Still, it would have been nice for Schieffer to at least have the basic reporting skills to ask.

THE END...

of our fiscal year is Thursday, June 30, and we have a much larger fundraising gap than we can easily manage with only days left to go.

Right now is no time to come up short: If you value the hard-hitting, democracy-protecting, justice-advancing journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us keep charging as hard as we possibly can with a much-needed and much-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

THE END...

of our fiscal year is Thursday, June 30, and we have a much larger fundraising gap than we can easily manage with only days left to go.

Right now is no time to come up short: If you value the hard-hitting, democracy-protecting, justice-advancing journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us keep charging as hard as we possibly can with a much-needed and much-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate