As we've discussed here on numerous occasions in the past, Johanns, Fortenberry, Terry, and Smith have all voted for the Ryan plan on at least two occasions. This regressive plan would finance tax cuts for the wealthy by cutting Medicare and programs aimed at helping the poor. In addition, the Ryan plan would strip health insurance from millions of Americans and bring back pre-existing condition clauses.
A recent study by prepared by Senate Democrats and reviewed by nonpartisan tax experts indicates those aren't the only regressive features of the Ryan plan. This report indicates that the Ryan plan would would sharply cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans and could leave middle-class households facing much larger tax bills. This is because the plan reduces taxes (largely for the wealthy) by $4.5 trillion and Ryan has promised to make this plan revenue neutral by getting get rid of all the special-interest loopholes and tax shelters that litter the code. Ryan and the Republicans have yet to identify what tax deductions and loopholes they plan to close.
What Ryan and the radical Republicans haven't mentioned is that some of the biggest "loopholes" on the books are popular tax breaks for employer-provided health insurance, mortgage interest, state and local taxes, and retirement savings, which disproportionately benefit the upper middle class. What that means is that in order to make the Ryan plan revenue neutral, taxes would have to be increased on the middle class. According to this new analysis of the Ryan plan, middle class married couples would pay an additional $2,700 annually in federal taxes. At the same time, families earning more than $1 million a year, meanwhile, could see a net tax cut of about $300,000 annually.
After receiving the results of this new study, the Republicans cried foul calling the report "premature and unfair." A Republican Aide to the House Ways and Means Committee said it wasn't fair that this study assumed that the GOP would roll back popular middle class tax breaks. Nevertheless, the GOP still hasn't told us how they would make the Ryan plan revenue neutral.
What this means than is that Nebraska Republicans either voted to raise taxes on the middle class or to explode the deficit. Johanns, Fortenberry, Terry and Smith owe the voters an explanation. Just what did you vote for? Do you even know?
These votes in favor the Ryan plan by the Nebraska Republicans also call into question their judgement. On the two occasions they voted for this plan they apparently didn't know whether it would raise taxes on the middle class or significantly increase the deficit. (Or they didn't tell us.) The Nebraska Republicans basically bought a pig in a poke.
The only way to bring clarity to this situation is for Nebraska voters to elect our slate of Democratic candidates for the Congress. Bob Kerrey, Korey Reiman, John Ewing and Mark Sullivan all oppose the Ryan plan. They would stand firm against any efforts to finance tax cuts for the wealthy by shifting the costs to the poor and the middle class. They deserve to be elected because they reflect the Main Street values of Nebraska rather than the Wall St. values that Nebraska Republicans support.