Paul Ryan defends lack of math

Paul Ryan said Monday that he likes Fox News host Chris Wallace too much to explain the math of Mitt Romney's tax plan to him. 

In his interview with "Fox News Sunday", the GOP vice presidential candidate demurred when asked to show how the plan would be revenue neutral. “It would take me too long to go through all the math,” he told Chris Wallace. 

"I like Chris," Ryan told Wisconsin radio host Charlie Sykes Monday. "I didn't want to get into all the math of this because everybody would start changing the channel." 

Ryan added that "the tax code is filled with so many so deductions and loopholes" that Romney could lower all individual rates by 20 percent but still raise enough revenue to keep the deficit from going up. That's similar to what he told Wallace.

According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, middle class taxpayers would pay more under the GOP plan, because the rate cut would not be high enough to outweigh the many deductions Romney would have to eliminate to avoid increasing the deficit. Romney's campaign has disputed that study, but his advisers have also promised that if it doesn't work, he will keep higher taxes on the rich, not raise them on the poor. 

Ryan pushed back on President Obama's ad claiming that Romney's plan "raises taxes on middle class families by up to $2,000 a year,” calling the statistic "totally false" and "thoroughly discredited." 

"When you're offering very specific bold solutions confusion can be your enemy's best weapon," Ryan said. But the Post's Fact Checker gave that Obama ad a rare Geppetto Checkmark.

The congressman was also asked about a recent Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll showing that the Medicare debate has helped Democrats. "We were actually winning this Medicare debate in the beginning," Ryan told Sykes, before Obama "put up ads literally telling these falsehoods." Obama's Medicare ads have, in fact, used out-of-date figures from an old and less generous version of Ryan's plan. 

 

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

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