Published September 18, 2011
A top House Republican accused President Obama of appealing to Americans' "fear, envy and anxiety" by pushing a new tax rate on people making more than $1 million annually, saying the "class warfare path" will only hurt the economy.
"Class warfare ... may make for really good politics, but it makes for rotten economics," Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of the House Budget Committee, told "Fox News Sunday."
The president is planning on proposing the new and higher rate as part of a broader long-term deficit-reduction plan he's unveiling Monday. It will likely include a mix of entitlement reform and new revenue, and will be aimed at the bipartisan "super committee" trying to find about $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade.
But Ryan said the millionaire tax provision will undermine economic growth.
"If you tax something more, you get less of it," Ryan said. "If you tax job creators more, you get less job creation. If you tax their investment more, you get less investment."
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," also expressed concern that the increase would stifle the economy.
On CNN's "State of the Union," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said the selective tax hike is "class warfare," suggesting instead that lawmakers look to eliminate deductions and loopholes.
The idea behind the Obama proposal is to make sure those making more than $1 million a year pay at least the same rate as middle-income taxpayers -- Obama will call it the "Buffett Rule," after billionaire Warren Buffett who complained that the wealthy are sometimes effectively taxed at a lower rate than others. That's because investment income is taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income.
The measure would be in addition to $447 billion in new tax revenue the president is proposing in order to pay for a new set of jobs proposals.
Ryan said the tax proposals, coupled with the looming expiration of the Bush tax cuts absent congressional intervention, are only fueling the uncertainty that's hampering economic growth.
Plus he said taxing investment income more amounts to a "double tax," since the money would have been taxed as income before being hit by the investment tax.
"I'm afraid these kinds of tax increases don't work," Ryan said.