The Slatest

Paul Ryan and Mick Mulvaney’s Defense of Trumpcare’s Tax Cuts for the Rich: Shrug

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan holds up a copy of the American Health Care Act during a news conference on March 7 in Washington.

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On Friday, the New York Times reported that the Joint Committee on Taxation determined that the House Republicans’ Obamacare replacement plan, the American Health Care Act, will provide $144 billion in tax cuts to millionaires over the next 10 years. From the Times:

The provisions would repeal two tax increases on high earners enacted in 2010 to help pay for the Affordable Care Act: an increase in capital gains taxes and other investment-related income, and a surcharge on Medicare taxes.


People making $200,000 to $999,999 a year would also get sizable tax cuts. In total, the two provisions would cut taxes by about $274 billion during the coming decade, virtually all of it for people making at least $200,000, according to a separate assessment by the committee.


So how have supporters of the bill defended this fact? By being weird about it. Here’s Paul Ryan on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show last week:

CARLSON: …the overview here is that all the wealth basically in the last ten years is stuck to the top. That’s one of the reasons we’ve had all this political turmoil as you know. It’s so, kind of a hard sell to say yeah, we’re going to repeal Obamacare but were going to send more money to people who have already gotten the richest over the last ten years, that’s what this does, no? I’m not leftist, that’s just true.


RYAN: I’m not that concerned about it because we said we were going to repeal all of the Obamacare taxes and this was one of the Obamacare taxes.

Trump budget director Mick Mulvaney also does not seem that concerned about it. How is it fair, ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos asked him on Sunday, for the plan’s massive tax cuts to go to the wealthiest while other Americans would be forced, by some estimates, to pay more for insurance? After some evasive back and forth, Mulvaney responded, essentially, with a shrug:

That’s the argument of a group of people who don’t like the bill. So we repeal the taxes in Obamacare. It’s what the Republicans have done from the very beginning. The fact that certain groups will pay less tax is not a—is not central to the issue. We’ve done this in a fashion that allows the people who cannot afford healthcare now to get it. I don’t know why some people are so dead set [against] other people benefiting at the same time.