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

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

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.

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

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