In his May 16 speech to the Economic Club of Chicago, Representative Paul Ryan said that President Obama wants to raise taxes, including raising the top rate to 44.8 percent (the current top rate is 35 percent). Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post’s fact checker, points out that most of the media’s coverage of the president’s 2012 budget has focused on the president’s desire to return the top tax rate to 39.6 percent, the same as it was before the Bush-era tax cuts. “The top rate is currently 35 percent,” Kessler wrote. “So when President Obama said in his speech on fiscal policy last month that the wealthy (those making above $390,050 a year) would ‘pay a little more,’ we thought he meant an extra 4.6 percent. But Ryan is suggesting the increase is much more than that. Who’s right?”
Kessler does a fine job sorting through the claims and the numbers. His bottom line? “Paul Ryan’s attention-getting figure adds up and appears credible,” he concludes.
A top rate of nearly 45 percent is quite high, and conservatives would be wise to hammer home just how high it really is.