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We know what you are thinking, and it is that you haven't seen enough of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)  in the news lately. What has he been up to? Oh, nothing much, just saying lies about President Obama's new budget proposal in his best sanctimonious voice, but it doesn't really matter, because he is only the extremely powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which is in charge of tax legislation.


The White House released the president's new budget plan on Monday, saying that President Obama hopes to work with Congress "to replace mindless austerity with smart investments that strengthen America." This is a budget plan that you, A Wonkette Reader, would probably enjoy very much, but do not get used to it. It has things in it like infrastructure improvements! Health care and food for poor children! Lots of defense spending! (Oops, yes, we are still spending a lot of the money on some wars, sorry about that.) New taxes on corporate profits that are hidden kept overseas! Some other tax increases on wealthy people and corporations, to help pay for the things! And Congress is going to work together with the White House to make sure it is enacted, and that will help inequality.

Just kidding, that will totally not be happening, because did you read the part about "tax increases" and also "President Obama would like for this to happen"? Obviously, this is dead in the water.

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Before the budget was formally released, Ryan spoke with the New York Times, saying how sad he is that "[t]he Obamanomics that we’re practicing now have exacerbated inequality. They've exacerbated stagnation. They’re made things worse." And now you are rolling around on the floor laughing, right? Because suddenly Republicans care about income inequality! And it's OBAMA'S economic policies that have made things worse!

As Jonathan Chait writes in New York Magazine:

What gives Ryan’s comments a veneer of plausibility is that income inequality has increased continuously, punctuated by a few short reversals, for more than three decades. Economists have extensively studied and debated the cause of rising inequality for years, clustering about multiple theories: the decline of labor unions, technological change, the growth of finance, and so on. None of the theories blame Obama’s economic policies.

Income inequality has risen for about the last 30 years. And Obama has been president for some of those years. And, yes, income inequality has risen during the six years that Obama has been president. But for pretty much the entire time Obama has been president, Republican members of Congress have actively tried to stop Obama from enacting any measures that would redistribute any wealth, in the form of taxes, from top earners down to programs for middle- or bottom-earners (because that is SOCIALISM). Meanwhile, those same Republicans have actively worked to redistribute wealth from middle- and bottom-earners up to top earners (because that is FAIR FOR JOB CREATORS).

Chait points out lots of ways that the Obama administration has tried very hard to combat income inequality. Obama's stimulus plan included tax cuts for low-wage workers. The Obama administration tried to roll back the Bush-era income tax cuts, and they partially succeeded, but only by agreeing to a compromise bill that gave tax cuts to people making up to $450,000 per year (because paying a fair amount of taxes if you make, say $350,000 per year would be a huge hardship, according to Republicans). And our favorite law that could be so much better, Obamacare, has helped lower-income people by not forcing them to spend every single dollar they make on healthcare, freeing up their dollars to buy things and Help The Economy.

As Chait reminds us, "Ryan opposed every single one of these changes," and "advocated, along with Mitt Romney, a tax reform plan that would have necessarily increased taxes for the non-rich in order to finance tax cuts for the rich."

Republicans' favorite policies of cutting all of the taxes on rich people, plus raising taxes on non-rich people, plus fighting all of the wars, has helped us to fall into a huge inequality hole, because there is simply no money to help low-income people with jobs and education and food and healthcare if all of the money is owned by Mitt Romney and the Defense Department. And now Paul Ryan would like to pretend that this is Obama's fault. Paul Ryan, you are The Worst. We wish we could quit you.

[NYT / NY Mag / NPR / Image via Tony Alter]

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