Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Jim Ryun is most worried about tax rates on the richest, expresses no concern for the poor

Jim Ryun is very sad. The very rich pay high tax rates! His solution (or at least his flacks'):
it's time to think about reforming our tax code to encourage more savings and investment by all Americans

As it happens,
there's a panel President Bush named to suggest some tax reforms.

Atrios wonders what Republican congressmen think of these brilliant ideas:

[The panel] is proposing to scale back two of the nation's most popular tax breaks, for home mortgage interest and employer-paid health insurance.

The panel is proposing the rollback as a way to compensate for its also-proposed elimination of the alternative minimum tax, which is affecting more and more middle-class taxpayers every year and is in serious need of fixing.
The AMT is designed to keep the very rich from hiding all their income in tax shelters. It guarantees that, no matter what deductions you can wrangle, you'll pay your fair share. As incomes rise, the point at which the AMT kicks in is moving further and further into the middle class, and most long-term economic analyses assume that the AMT will be shifted (not eliminated) to catch up with inflation.

Home mortgage interest deductions encourage investment and savings, and are especially helpful to the middle class. Insurance can be treated as a form of savings (you pay money in and get a chance at getting it back if you need it), and far too few people have health insurance.

As it happens, the very rich are not the ones who need help buying a house or getting medical care. A tax reform package that lowers taxes on the very rich (Jim Ryun's priority) and cuts benefits for the middle class and the poor sounds like bad policy to me. But maybe you have to have Olympic experience to understand the logic.

Anyone know what Mr. Ryun's tax returns look like?