Paul Ryan On Why He Didn't Discuss Tax Plan Math: 'Everyone Would Start Changing The Channel'

Ryan: I Didn't Want To Discuss The Math Of My Tax Plan Because Everyone Would Change The Channel

After a contentious back-and-forth with Chris Wallace of "Fox News Sunday," GOP vice-presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) explained the standoff on Monday by saying that he declined to discuss the math behind the Romney-Ryan tax plan because viewers would be bored by it.

"I like Chris; I didn't want to get into all of the math on this because everyone would start changing the channel," he told Milwaukee talk radio host Charlie Sykes.

"When you're offering very specific, bold solutions, confusion can be your enemy's best weapon," he said later.

On Sunday, Wallace pointed out that the candidate hadn't offered the specific math behind his tax plan. In response, Ryan said, "I don’t have the ... It would take me too long to go through all of the math." Ryan then explained the general outline of the tax plan, including a reduction of rates by 20 percent across the board, the end of unspecified deductions for high-income earners, and the continuation of deductions for middle-income earners.

Romney and Ryan have said that the plan will be revenue-neutral, arguing that lower tax rates will encourage economic growth and therefore increase tax receipts. They also say that closing loopholes for high-income earners will bring in revenue.

However, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center analyzed the plan and found that Romney would have no choice but to eliminate popular middle-income deductions if he wanted to cut rates and maintain revenue neutrality. The authors of the report specifically rejected that lowering tax rates would encourage economic growth, citing estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.

In a story in The New York Times, David Leonhardt pointed out that cutting specific tax deductions that Romney mentioned during a closed-door fundraiser -- including second-home mortgage interest deductions and limits on state and local property tax deductions for high-income earners -- would only raise a fraction of the revenue lost in across-the-board cuts.

When discussing Medicare on the radio show on Monday, Ryan dismissed swing state polls that show the Republican campaign to be losing ground on the issue with voters. "We were actually winning this Medicare debate in the beginning; after I was announced we went at this issue very hard," he said. "The president put up ads literally telling his falsehoods about what our Medicare plan is." Ryan continued that he hoped voters would see through the ads.

UPDATE: 12:50 p.m. -- Appearing on Laura Ingraham's radio show on Monday, Ryan rebutted a charge made by former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) that the campaign is not focused on "big issues."

"He is actually wrong. Haley is a good friend of mine, but all we talk about are our specific ideas -- our energy policy, our education policy, our trade policy, our tax reforms, our budget policies that balance the budget and prevent a debt crisis. That's what we are out there talking about," Ryan said. "That's what are our advertisement is talking about. There's this false narrative that gets portrayed that we aren't offering these alternatives, we aren't offering these plans. But in fact we are. We're going to cut through the clutter; the debates will help us focus this."

Ryan said, "But more importantly, go to our website."

Sarah Bufkin contributed reporting.

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