Paul Ryan tried to defend his plan to increase taxes on middle-class families. It did not go well.

Aaron Rupar

Aaron Rupar Reporter, ThinkProgress

Appearing on Fox & Friends on Thursday ahead of the House’s expected vote on the Republican tax bill, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) was asked to justify why he’s pushing legislation that will raise taxes on millions of middle-class Americans. The speaker’s response did not go well.

Citing numbers Nancy Pelosi highlighted from a Center for American Progress analysis of Tax Policy Center Data, Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy asked Ryan: “Are 36 million Americans in the middle class gonna see a tax hike?”

Ryan started by saying “no,” but when he was pressed to explain further, things went off the rails.

“36 million middle-class taxpayers are not getting a tax cut– middle-class tax– are not getting a tax increase,” Ryan stammered, apparently confusing his talking points.

“Middle-income taxpayers are getting a– look, don’t, just go to, and by the way, let me just say it this way — if you’re a family, your first $12,000 today are tax free, under this plan, your first $24,000 are tax free, what that means is, nine out of 10 Americans will be able to fill out their taxes on a form the size of this postcard — that’s radical simplification,” he continued.

But doubling the standard deduction and allowing Americans to do their taxes on smaller pieces of paper doesn’t change the reality that the GOP plan will raise taxes on millions of middle-class Americans. That’s because the GOP plan eliminates the individual exemption and many other provisions that benefit middle-class Americans in order to finance deep corporate tax cuts. The provisions that do benefit the middle class are quickly phased out.

The analysis by the Center for American Progress (ThinkProgress is an editorially independent publication housed at the CAP Action Fund) isn’t an outlier. For example, according to the New York Times, the House version Ryan supports would result in tax increases for “about half of middle-class families” in 2026.

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center’s data indicates that the House bill would raise taxes on a quarter of all households by 2027. Even next year, the bill would raise taxes on 3 million households with incomes between $48,600 and $86,100, with the average increase being more than $1,000.

Across the bottom four income quintiles, roughly 36 million households would see a tax increase by 2027. That’s the number Doocy referred to when he asked Ryan about tax increases under the GOP plan.


The Washington Post, summarizing the Tax Policy Center’s numbers, writes that “It isn’t just that there are many particular groups who stand to get huge tax increases — graduate studentsparents who adopt childrenpeople with large medical expenses — it’s also that they’re raising taxes on such broad swaths of the population.”

The Senate plan isn’t much better — according to an assessment by Congress’ nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, that chamber’s version of the bill would increase taxes for nearly 14 million middle-class households. It also eventually phases out all individual tax cuts, while making corporate tax cuts permanent.

The Republican tax plan is particular bad for people living in blue states, which has led Republicans like Rep. Peter King (R-NY) to staunchly oppose it. Supporters like Ryan, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) have argued that trickle-down economics will benefit everyone, but when pressed upon why Americans should believe that after the Bush tax cuts failed, they’ve been unable to do so.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

The Big Drip

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

A rash of water main breaks in West Berkeley, Calif., and neighboring cities last month flooded streets and left at least 300 residents without water. Routine pressure adjustments in response to water demand likely caused more than a dozen pipes, some made of clay and more than 100 years old, to rupture.

West Berkeley’s brittle mains are not unique. Decades of neglect left aging pipes susceptible to breaks in communities across the U.S., wasting two trillion gallons of treated water each year as these systems near collapse.

Comprehensive upgrades to the nation’s crumbling water systems would stanch the flow and ensure all Americans have reliable access to clean water.

Nationwide, water main breaks increased 27 percent between 2012 and 2018, according to a Utah State University study.  

These breaks not only lead to service disruptions  but also flood out roads, topple trees and cause illness when drinking water becomes contaminated with bacteria.

The American Water Works Association estimated it will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years to upgrade and expand water infrastructure.

Some local water utilities raised their rates to pay for system improvements, but that just hurts poor consumers who can’t pay the higher bills.

And while Congress allocates money for loans that utilities can use to fix portions of their deteriorating systems, that’s merely a drop in the bucket—a fraction of what agencies need for lasting improvements.

America can no longer afford a piecemeal approach to a systemic nationwide crisis. A major, sustained federal commitment to fixing aging pipes and treatment plants would create millions of construction-related jobs while ensuring all Americans have safe, affordable drinking water.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work