STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you make the math work without eliminating the big deductions that middle-class families rely on?
RYAN: Well, first of all, that — those claims have been pretty discredited. There have been five different studies –
STEPHANOPOULOS: How have they been discredited?
RYAN: — that show — that this — that this plan works. So the analysis you’re citing wasn’t even an analysis of the Romney plan.
But here’s the point I am trying to make here, George. We think the secret to economic growth is lower tax rates for families and successful small businesses by plugging loopholes.
Now the question is, not necessarily what loopholes go, but who gets them. High-income earners use most of the loopholes. That means they can shelter their income from taxation. But if you take those loopholes, those tax shelters away from high-income earners, more of their income is subject to taxation. And that allows us to lower tax rates on everybody — small businesses, families, economic growth.
Here’s where the president wants to take the country. He wants to add a job-killing small-business tax increase on top of the current code, add even more loopholes and deductions to the code, more Washington picking winners and losers. That will crush jobs. You have to remember, George, that most of our small businesses, they pay their taxes as individuals. Most of our jobs come from these successful small businesses. So we’ve shown — look, the Princeton study, the Harvard analysis, they have shown that you can lower tax rates, broaden the tax base, and, yes, there is still room left for broad-based policies that the middle class enjoy so that nobody has a tax increase. We just stop picking winners and losers in the tax code.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But, Congressman, as you know –
RYAN: When Reagan did this, it worked –
STEPHANOPOULOS: — many say it’s difficult –
RYAN: Go ahead, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: — to accept your word if you’re not going to specify which tax loopholes you’re willing to close. Don’t voters have a right to know which loopholes you’re going to go after?
RYAN: So Mitt Romney and I, based on our experience, think the best way to do this is to show the framework, show the outlines of these plans, and then to work with Congress to do this. That’s how you get things done. The other thing, George, is–
STEPHANOPOULOS: Isn’t that a secret plan?
RYAN: — we don’t want to — no, no. No, no. What we don’t want is a secret plan. What we don’t want to do is cut some backroom deal like ObamaCare, and then hatch (ph) it (ph) to the country.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But why not specify the –
RYAN: We want to do this –
STEPHANOPOULOS: — loopholes now?
RYAN: — out in the open –
STEPHANOPOULOS: Why not say right now –
RYAN: — because we want to do this –
RYAN: — we want to have this — George, because we want to have this debate in the public. We want to have this debate with Congress. And we want to do this with the consent of the elected representatives of the people, and figure out what loopholes should stay or go and who should or should not get them.
And our priorities are high-income earners should not get these kinds of loopholes. And we should have broad-based policies that go to middle-class taxpayers, to make sure we can advance things that we care about, like charities. But that is a debate we shouldn’t cut in a back room, shouldn’t hatch a secret plan like ObamaCare. We should do it out in the public view where the public can participate.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s exactly what I’m suggesting, having it in public before the election so voters can have that information before they make up their minds.
RYAN: We think the best way to get — look, I’ve been in Congress a number of years. I’ve been on the Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. And we think the best way to do this is to get this framework in place, and then negotiate, work with Democrats, work with people across the aisle, have these kinds of hearings, have this conversation to get this objective.
There are really only two ways to look at this refusal to specify which loopholes they plan to do away with:
1) they really have no plan, no idea what they’re going to do — they might as well say they want to ride a unicorn over Rainbow Bridge to Ice Cream Sundae Land and if you vote for them, you can go too. Or,
2) Lyin’ Paul Ryan is asking that you trust him and Etch-a-Sketch. Just trust that they’ll be looking out for YOUR best interests if they’re elected. And pay no attention to the fact that their budget doesn’t add up with any arithmetic in the known universe — or that those tax cuts for the rich (which Romney says are not tax cuts for the rich) will have to be paid for somehow.
For the record, yesterday in an interview with Mitt Romney, David Gregory got no information from Romney either, on the Secret-Awesome Romney Plan or the loopholes he plans to shut down.
Here’s the truth of the matter: