Today Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Republicans unveiled a budget and tax reform plan. But for Center for American Progress alumna Alex Wagner, it was Christmas morning, with the Ryan budget as a handy cudgel with which Democrats and MSNBC could bludgeon politically hapless Republicans.
"[S]ome Democrats are calling it Christmas in March," MSNBC anchor Wagner quipped on her March 20 Now program as she presented a quick overview of the "nuts and bolts" of the plan such as "repealing the Affordable Care Act," simplifying the federal individual income tax down to two brackets, 10 and 25 percent, and reducing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent.
Wagner's recital of those policies suggested that they're unpopular with the electorate. But the polls tell a different story. A recent Gallup poll shows at least 56 percent of Americans want to scrap ObamaCare. A Washington Post/ABC News poll has a much higher figure at 67 percent of adults. Another recent poll found less support for repeal but found 72 percent of Americans believe the individual mandate forcing Americans to buy insurance is unconstitutional. You may recall that the Supreme Court will take up a challenge to the individual mandate next week.
As to the notion of a top marginal tax rate of 25 percent and a corporate tax rate of 25 percent, there's polling data that show most Americans think that would be fair public policy (emphasis mine):
Three-quarters of likely voters believe the nation’s top earners should pay lower, not higher, tax rates, according to a new poll for The Hill.
The big majority opted for a lower tax bill when asked to choose specific rates; precisely 75 percent said the right level for top earners was 30 percent or below.
The current rate for top earners is 35 percent. Only 4 percent thought it was appropriate to take 40 percent, which is approximately the level that President Obama is seeking from January 2013 onward.
The Hill Poll also found that 73 percent of likely voters believe corporations should pay a lower rate than the current 35 percent, as both the White House and Republicans push plans to lower rates.
These facts were of course unreported by Wagner and her panel members.
For his part CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin complained that the Ryan budget blueprint didn't contain enough specifics about how federal budget deficits would be plugged.
"This is Christmas in March if you're a Democrat because this is sort of silly season, this is not going anywhere fast," Sorkin predicted before conceding that "the good news is, he's put something out. Give him credit for that."
"By the way, Democrats have not put something out, so, that's kind of interesting," Sorkin added.
Actually, today marks the 1,056th day since Senate Democrats last introduced a budget. That's nearly three years of going without a federal budget.
Needless to say, neither Sorkin nor Wagner brought that fact up nor did they attack as "silly," much less reckless, Democratic unwillingness to put forth and defend a budget blueprint.