Paul Ryan: We have to close loopholes … except for my corporate owners

Posted on August 24, 2011


Republican Representative and “real American” idol Paul Ryan says that tax loopholes, shelters and hidden credits for big corporations and the wealthy have “gotten completely out of control” and that the Obama administration has done nothing to stem the tide of corrupt legislation geared toward favoring the rich.

But when he refers to that “tide,” I guess Ryan must be talking about *OTHER* legislators, because when it comes to tax loopholes and back-door glad-handing, Ryan is a vicious undertow all to himself.

  • May 2005: Ryan proposes a bill to grant the S.C. Johnson & Son company special exemptions from tariffs. Specifically, his bills sought to suspend duties for imported components of “unique air freshener products … assembled by S.C. Johnson in the United States.
  • June 2005: Ryan proposed a bill to grant S.C. Johnson a permanent exemption from shipping taxes for “certain types of cleaning products.”
  • July 2005: Ryan proposed a bill to grant S.C. Johnson a permanent exemption from FDA inspection fees.
  • May 2006: Ryan proposed a bill to reduce the duty on S.C. Johnson cleaning appliances “capable of dispensing cleaning solution into a tub or shower enclosure using a button-activated, battery-powered piston pump controlled by a microchip.”

S.C. Johnson & Son, based in Ryan’s district, has donated an average of $41,092 per year to Ryan.

  • August 2006: Ryan sponsored legislation to create more than a dozen tax loopholes for fraternity and sorority housing. In September 2006, In April 2006, Ryan sponsored or cosponsored three bills to allow college fraternities and sororities to accept tax-deductible charitable contributions. Ryan has received for separate donations of $24,500 from the Fraternity & Sorority PAC since 2002.
  • Ryan has sponsored 9 proposals for tax loopholes for the beer industry including five bills to cut taxes for beer brewers, reduce beer taxes to pre-1991 levels and repeal occupational taxes relating to distilled spirits, wine and beer. Ryan co-sponsored five other bills that would permanently reduce-by-half the interstate trucking licensing fees imposed on “transporters of entertainment beverages and supplies.”

The National Wholesalers Association, his second biggest contributor and largest national transporter of “entertainment beverages,” has given him more than $259,000 between 1998 and 2010.

  • In 1999, Ryan tried to give a tax break to a group the Los Angeles Times referred to as “the golf-course underprivileged.” That year, Ryan co-sponsored the Caddie Relief Act, which would have allowed golf caddies to forgo paying taxes on their earnings.
  • Ryan has also opposed efforts to close offshore tax loopholes, a record 51 times since he took office. He voted against an amendment in 2006 that would have barred funding for government contracts with U.S. companies incorporated offshore to avoid paying U.S. taxes. In 2004, he opposed an amendment that would have prohibited the Export-Import Bank from approving direct loans to U.S. companies incorporated offshore to avoid U.S. taxes.

In April of this year, Ryan appeared on the Sunday morning political news program, Face the Nation, claimed that Republicans were actively closing tax loopholes. Ryan said, “we’re saying keep tax rates where they are right now, get rid of all those loopholes and deductions which are mostly enjoyed by wealthy people so you can lower tax rates.” Of course, this was every bit as much of a lie as the other times he’s claimed to be an anti-loophole champion. The fact is that Ryan and his allies have consistently opposed closing tax loopholes, especially for companies that are shipping American jobs overseas.

  • FACT — In January 2011, Republicans unanimously voted against a measure that stopped the U.S. government from entering into contracts with companies that outsource American jobs overseas. [H Res 38, Vote #19, 1/25/11]
  • FACT — In May 2010, Ryan repeatedly voted against closing tax loopholes for companies shipping jobs overseas and using those loopholes to lower their tax liability.  [HR 5982, Vote #514, 7/30/10; HR 1586, Vote #518, 8/10/10]
  • FACT — In 2007, 5.6 million jobs were lost or displaced by the U.S. non-oil trade deficit. [EPI, The Burden of Outsourcing, October 2008]

As has become the standard, this Republican con-man is literally telling people to ignore what he’s DONE and instead listen to his promises of what he WILL do. Ryan’s record since he was elected to Congress in 1998 clearly shows that he has tried to create an array of special loopholes for his top contributors, all while claiming to not be doing it.

In short, Paul Ryan is lying and has been lying since the day he swore his oath of office. And he’ll continue lying as long as people are stupid enough, lazy enough, or partisan enough to allow him to do so.