Paul Ryan Does Not Accept the Tax Increases in the Fiscal Cliff Deal. Not At All.

Why does everyone keep asking Paul Ryan why his 2014 budget accepts the fiscal cliff tax increases instead of trying to repeal them? I mean, sure, technically he’s working off a baseline that includes the increases, but here’s his tax plan:

Substantially lower tax rates for individuals, with a goal of achieving a top individual rate of 25 percent.

There is, literally, no further detail about this in his 91-page document, but that’s still clear enough. The fiscal cliff deal increased top marginal rates from 36 percent to 39.6 percent. Ryan’s plan is based on reducing top rates to 25 percent. In other words, not only does he want to get rid of the 39.6 percent rate, he wants to make it even lower than it was before the fiscal cliff deal. He doesn’t accept the fiscal cliff increases at all.

Right? What am I missing here?

UPDATE: OK, I guess I get it. In last year’s plan, Ryan’s revenue target was 18.7 percent of GDP by 2022. In this year’s plan, his target is 19.1 percent of GDP by 2023. So he’s accepting higher revenues, which, it turns out, is actually the main way that he achieves a balanced budget within ten years.

Nonetheless, he rather decidedly doesn’t accept the higher rates in the fiscal cliff plan, and doesn’t provide any details about how he intends to meet his revenue target with a top rate of 25 percent.


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