9:30 pm - Monday December 11, 2017

Tax Hikes and Program Cuts for the Middle Class, Tax Cuts for the Rich

Dejá Vu All Over Again With the Ryan Budget: Tax Hikes and Program Cuts for the Middle Class, Tax Cuts for the Rich

As early analyses of the latest Ryan Budget start to come in, the terrible consequences for Colorado’s middle class families are once again clear. While cutting popular programs that seniors, disabled children, and students rely on, Chairman Ryan would offer the wealthiest Americans a new tax cut and would have middle class taxpayers cover its cost.

“Coloradans want their leaders and their government working for them, and they made that clear in last November’s election,” said Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio. “We’ll see if Colorado’s Republican Congressmen were listening, or if they’ll put the agenda of Washington party leadership ahead of Coloradans. I have questions for each of them:

“Congressman Coffman, should families in Aurora, Brighton, and Centennial face a tax hike to pay for a new tax cut for only the wealthiest?”

“Congressman Gardner, will you expose thousands of seniors on the Eastern Plains to pay more for prescription coverage?”

“Congressman Lamborn, how is it fiscally responsible to cut preventive health services when patients who miss this treatment get sicker and cost more?”

“And Congressman Tipton, you’ve been outspoken about Medicare despite voting twice to end the program as we know it. Will your voting record finally match your rhetoric?”



Michael Linden, Center for American Progress: The Ryan Budget “Has A Bigger Revenue Hole Than The Romney Budget Did, Meaning His Tax Increases on the Middle Would Have To Be Even Bigger.”  “Last year the Tax Policy Center estimated that these provisions would generate revenue equaling just 15.8 percent of GDP in 2022. Extrapolating to 2023 suggests that Rep. Ryan is missing about $840 billion of revenue in 2023 alone, and approximately $7 trillion over the entire 10-year period from 2014 through 2023. After accounting for the added interest costs from all of these unpaid-for tax cuts, Ryan’s budget would still be about $1.2 trillion in the red in 2023. … If all of this sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because this is the same play that Rep. Ryan and his running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, ran in the 2012 election: promising enormous tax cuts with no way to pay for them except by raising taxes on the middle class. The only difference this time is that this version of Rep. Ryan’s budget has a bigger revenue hole than the Romney budget did, meaning his tax increases on the middle would have to be even bigger.” [Michael Linden, Center for American Progress, 3/12/13]

Robert Greenstein, Center On Budget And Policy Priorities: The Ryan Budget Cuts Taxes For The Wealthy More Than Twice As Much As Romney Proposed And The Romney Proposal Could Not Have Been Paid For Without Raising Taxes On The Middle Class. “Governor Romney adopted a similar approach in his presidential campaign, arguing that he would use unspecified tax expenditure savings to offset the cost of cutting the top income tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent, or by 7 percentage points.  Analysis by the Tax Policy Center indicated that Romney could not do that without raising taxes on middle class and working poor Americans.  Yet now, Ryan proposes to cut the top rate by as much as 14.6 percentage points, or more than twice as much as Romney proposed, while still claiming to finance it through tax expenditure reforms that policymakers would identify later.” [Statement by Robert Greenstein, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/12/13]

The Atlantic: “As Written, [The Ryan Budget] Is Almost Certainly A Plan To Raise Taxes On The Same Lower-Middle Class Which Is Also Getting Hit With Massive Spending Cuts.” “The tax plan would cut the top rate to 25 percent — a 15-point reduction for income above $450,000 — but somehow it would also collect the same amount of revenue as the president’s current policy. Quick math: If you cut tax rates for the top 0.1 percent in half, the only way to make the same amount of money is (a) to practically wipe out all of their tax advantages or (b) to raise taxes disproportionately on the bottom 99.9 percent. To be clear: As written, this [the Ryan budget] is almost certainly a plan to raise taxes on the same lower-middle class which is also getting hit with massive spending cuts.” [Derek Thompson, TheAtlantic.com, 3/12/13]

Robert Reich: “The Reality, Of Course, Is That The Only Possible Way Ryan Could Pay For His Proposed Tax Cuts For The Wealthy And Corporations Would Be To Raise Taxes On The Middle Class.” “Meanwhile, it redistributes upward, cutting the top tax rate for individuals down to 25 percent — a bigger tax cut for the top than even Mitt Romney proposed — and the corporate tax rate down to 25 percent, from 35 percent today. Ryan would pay for these tax cuts by ‘closing tax loopholes,’ but — where did we hear this before? — his budget doesn’t say which loopholes, or even hint at what it would do with rates on capital gains and dividends. Like Romney’s plan, it leaves all the heavy lifting to Congress. The reality, of course, is that the only possible way Ryan could pay for his proposed tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations would be to raise taxes on the middle class.” [Robert Reich, Huffington Post, 3/12/13]

Ezra Klein: Paul Ryan’s Plan “Will Require Either Huge, Deficit-Busting Tax Cuts Or Increasing Taxes On Poor And Middle-Class Households.” “Here is Paul Ryan’s path to a balanced budget in three sentences: He cuts deep into spending on health care for the poor and some combination of education, infrastructure, research, public-safety, and low-income programs. The Affordable Care Act’s Medicare cuts remain, but the military is spared, as is Social Security. There’s a vague individual tax reform plan that leaves only two tax brackets — 10 percent and 25 percent — and will require either huge, deficit-busting tax cuts or increasing taxes on poor and middle-class households, as well as a vague corporate tax reform plan that lowers the rate from 35 percent to 25 percent.” [Ezra Klein, Washington Post, 3/12/13]


Center On Budget And Policy Priorities: Romney’s New Tax Cuts Would Cost $4.9 Trillion Over A Decade, On Top Of The Cost Of Extending The Bush Tax Cuts. “The Tax Policy Center estimates that the Romney tax plan would lose about $480 billion in tax revenue in calendar year 2015, beyond the revenues losses inherent in maintaining current policy (such as continuing all of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts).  Over the 2014-2022 period, that implies a total reduction in revenues of about $4.9 trillion, relative to current tax policy.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 5/21/12]

If Romney’s Tax Plan Was Paid For, Families With Kids Who Make Less Than $200,000 Would See An Average Tax Increase Of $2,041. [Tax Policy Center, On The Distributional Effects Of Base-Broadening Income Tax Reform, p. 18, 8/1/12]

If Romney’s Tax Plan Was Paid For, The Top 0.1% Would See An Average Tax Cut Of $246,652. [Tax Policy Center, On The Distributional Effects Of Base-Broadening Income Tax Reform, p. 19, 8/1/12]

Reuters Headline: “Romney Tax Plan Helps Rich, Hurts Middle Class-Study.” [Reuters, 8/1/12]

Boston Globe Headline: “Mitt Romney’s Tax Plan Would Offer Big Cuts To Millionaires, Raise Taxes On Middle Class, Brookings Analysts Say.” [Boston Globe, 8/1/12]

Washington Post Editorial: The Tax Policy Center Found That Under The Romney Plan “Even If Every Loophole For The Top Brackets Were Closed, There Wouldn’t Be Enough Revenue. The Middle Class Would Have To Pay More.” “The Tax Policy Center (TPC), a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, examined Mr. Romney’s claim and found that, even if every loophole for the top brackets were closed, there wouldn’t be enough revenue. The middle class would have to pay more.” [Editorial, Washington Post, 8/21/12

Republican Plan Will End Medicare As We Know It and Force Colorado Seniors to Pay More for Health Care
The Republican budget would end Medicare as we know it by moving seniors from guaranteed benefits to a voucher program that sticks them with higher health care costs. For the third budget in a row, Republicans have made it clear that they would rather rely on seniors to shoulder the burden of deficit reduction than close even one tax loophole that benefits wealthy special interests. The consequences for seniors are devastating.

742,698 Colorado seniors would be forced out of traditional Medicare and into a voucher program.Under the Republican plan to end Medicare as we know it, all Colorado seniors will receive a voucher instead of guaranteed benefits under traditional Medicare beginning in 2024. For the 742,698 Coloradans aged 45-54 at the time of the most recent Census, the value of their vouchers would be capped at growth levels that are lower than the projected increases in health care costs. Previous analyses showed that this type of plan would cut future spending by $5,900 per senior, forcing them to spend more out of pocket and diminishing their access to quality care. Private insurance plans will aggressively pursue the healthiest, least expensive enrollees, thereby allowing Medicare – currently the lifeline for 667,277 Colorado seniors – to “wither on the vine.” [House Republican Budget, 3/12/13; CAP, 3/20/12; Census, accessed on 3/10/13; KFF, accessed on 3/10/13]

37,733 Colorado seniors would pay more for prescription drugs next year. The Republican plan would re-open the “donut hole,” forcing seniors to pay the full cost of their prescription drugs if their yearly drug expenses are more than $2,970 for the year. As a result, more than 37,733 Colorado seniors reaching the prescription drug “donut hole” would pay an average of $996 more in prescription drug costs in 2014 and approximately $16,000 more between 2014 and 2022 than under current law. [CMS, 2/17/13; HHS, 9/17/12; CMS, 4/2/12]

461,164 Colorado seniors would be forced to pay for preventive health services. By repealing health reform, the Republican plan will require that the 461,164 Colorado seniors who utilized free preventive services currently covered by Medicare in 2012, be required to pay deductibles, co-insurance, and copayments for certain services, including cancer screenings and annual wellness visits. [CMS, 2/17/13; HHS, 9/17/12; CMS, 4/2/12]

Republican budget slashes $5.28 billion in health care for Colorado seniors, reducing access to nursing home care. The Republican budget slashes $5.28 billion in nursing home care and other health care services for seniors and the disabled. Over 123,500 Colorado seniors currently rely on Medicaid for their long-term care needs. The draconian cuts included in the Republican budget could have a devastating impact on the 16,128 certified nursing homes in Colorado that serve 16,128 seniors, with more than half relying on Medicaid as their primary payer. As a result, nursing homes would be forced to slash services, turn away seniors, or close their doors. [KFF, accessed on 3/10/13; KFF, accessed on 3/10/13; KFF, accessed on 3/10/13]



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