Journalists Denounce Ryan for Not Raising Taxes: ‘Rich Get Off Like Scoundrels,’ Slam Tea Party as ‘Far Right’ Impediment

A round-up from over the weekend of journalists denouncing Republican Congressman Paul Ryan for not including a big tax hike in his deficit-reduction plan and discrediting the Tea Party’s pressure on House Speaker John Boehner as a “far right” impediment to good government.

“He doesn't deal with the revenue side at all,” despaired Newsweek veteran Evan Thomas on Inside Washington, arguing: “We cannot survive on 18, his goal is to do 18 percent of GDP as revenue. That's not enough. We're going to have to raise some taxes...”

On HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday night, Katty Kay, anchor of BBC’s World News America, echoed, “He does nothing on the revenue side,” fretting: “There is this allergy, amongst Republicans, about saying ‘you know what, we actually do have to deal with taxes too.’”

Juan Williams charged “the rich get off like scoundrels,” complaining on Fox News Sunday that Ryan is “not doing anything in terms of raising taxes.” Williams also worried: “John Boehner now has the Tea Party wrapped around his neck like an albatross.”

Interviewing Ryan on Meet the Press, NBC’s David Gregory challenged him: “Do taxes at some point have to be raised if you're really going to get into the realm of asking something of the American people, shared sacrifice, not just helping upper earners?” 

In a front page article on the Tea Party’s role in pressuring Boehner, Washington, DC-based Boston Globe reporter Matt Viser asserted in Saturday’s newspaper: “For those outside the movement, it put on full display the uncompromising principles of the far right, showing that Tea Party-aligned lawmakers are so ideologically rigid they will throw sand into the gears of government to prove their point.”

Hours later, ABC anchor David Muir, who used to work at Boston’s ABC affiliate, picked up on the “far right” characterization, asking on World News about how “Michelle Bachman, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who have said this still doesn't get us down the path of fixing the debt, so Boehner will still hear this from the far right.”

Evan Thomas, on Inside Washington:

It was a brave, bold thing he did and he deserves huge hero points, I think, for actually saying, “okay, we’ve got to deal with entitlements.” Nobody else was saying it. He said it. He deserves credit for it. On the other hand, he’s got some problems. He doesn’t deal with the revenue side at all. We cannot survive on 18, his goal is to do 18 percent of GDP as revenue. That’s not enough. We're going to have to raise some taxes and we're going to have to face up to that, but he doesn't.

Katty Kay, anchor of BBC’s World News America, on HBO’s April 8 Real Time with Bill Maher:

He does nothing on the revenue side. There is this allergy, amongst Republicans, about saying “you know what, we actually do have to deal with taxes too.” And you may have to, God forbid, raise taxes and that it is not a hideously un-patriotic or un-American thing to do to suggest we need more revenue. And what does Paul Ryan do? He actually cuts taxes for the wealthiest, he raises taxes for the very poorest in America.

From the April 10 Fox News Sunday:

JUAN WILLIAMS: When you look at what Paul Ryan did, the first thing you have to do is give him credit. You have to say “hats off to Paul Ryan for actually saying what he plans to do and here's how we would cut entitlements.” That’s the big challenge the whole country faces and it needs to be done. But then you get into the details of what Paul Ryan offers, you have to say, wait a second, this is like a three to four percent difference in terms of what President Obama offered versus what he is offering over the next ten years. Paul Ryan's budget doesn't balance the budget-

CHRIS WALLCE: Wait a minute, he is cutting $4 trillion over ten years and Obama’s cutting $1 trillion.

JUAN WIILIAMS: No, but you’ve got to look at the entire budget, Chris.

WALLACE: That is the entire budget.

JUAN WILLIAMS: You look and you look at the percentage, and it’s not that big of a difference and, guess what, Paul Ryan is doing it on the backs of poor people and seniors, and, says to the seniors oh no you are grandfathered in, if you’re over 55. But you know what, he wants to make proposals that are going to put more pressure on domestic discretionary spending. He’s not doing much about defense spending in this country. He’s not doing anything in terms of raising taxes to compensate and say, “you know what, the sacrifice is going to be shared across all areas of our economy.” The rich get off like scoundrels. They’re happy, they’re like the executives on Wall Street this week who are getting all these big bonuses, despite all the talk-

WALLACE: Because it’s shameful to make money?

WILLIAMS: Oh, get out of town.

WALLACE : You said the rich are making out like scoundrels.

WILLIAMS: You know what, you should be ashamed to use that language as host of this show.

WALLACE: What are you talking about?

WILLIAMS: Because you should be more impartial. You know what, leave that to Brit Hume. Brit Hume can make these outrageous....


If you don't think that those Wall Street guys are scoundrels, then you must be-

WALLACE: You didn’t say Wall Street guys, you said the rich are making out like scoundrels.

WILLIAMS: The Wall Street guys that got those big breaks this week and now are going to get more breaks from Paul Ryan – I know everyone says we got to have tax cuts, we got to have sacrifice for this country – oh it’s just for the middle class and especially those despicable poor people.

— Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.

Budget Boston Globe Real Time Inside Washington Meet the Press Fox News Sunday World News Katty Kay Juan Williams David Muir
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