House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin co-hosted CNBC's Squawk Box. He discussed the need for pro-growth tax reform and the importance of providing effective oversight of executive agencies. Excerpts of Ryan's appearance follow.
Pro-growth policies to prevent austerity
"What we're trying to do is preempt and prevent austerity. Austerity is "cut programs that current people live on--the safety net for seniors after they've retired in real time to respond to the bond markets.' That's what we don't want to have happen.
"What our programs say is, you know, change benefits for people who are like me, 55 and younger, when we retire. All of our entitlement reforms are gradual and phased in, so they're stable and so they protect people in and near retirement from any changes in their lives. You won't be able to do that if you have the credit markets turn on you. That's what austerity is.
"We're pushing pro-growth. We're pushing pro-growth tax reform, pro-growth energy policy, and comprehensive entitlement reform that makes these programs solvent, pays off the debt over time, and doesn't affect current seniors. That's the opposite of austerity. That's preempting austerity, which is what we're proposing. But those folks--some in journalism--see these kinds of proposals, and they think it's like European austerity. European austerity is "raise taxes, cut benefits to current seniors, slow down the economy.' That's not what we're talking about."
Creating jobs through tax reform
"Now, corporate tax reform is not sufficient to us. Look, eight out of ten businesses in America are pass-throughs, subchapter S's, LLCs, partnerships. Their effective top rate is about 44.8 percent as of January now. We're not going to lower the corporations' tax rates and keep these individual tax rates really high. Ninety percent of Wisconsin businesses are in the individual category, so we are not going to throw overboard what we call the subchapter S corporations, which are the really the engines of economic growth and job creation. We need to lower all tax rates across the board, and we do this through base broadening. In the Ways and Means Committee, we're going to be doing this. We are hoping Max Baucus works with us as well on this."
Focused on good policy and good oversight
"We are still going to be fighting for good policy. We still want to do tax reform, energy reform, pro-growth economics. We want a budget deal that gets us entitlement reform that gets the debt and deficit going in the right direction. The point is, we're not going to be dropping our efforts to get good policy and grow the economy just because we have scandals. We're going to do our legitimate oversight functions and do these at the same time."
"We know the IRS targeted people based on the political beliefs. We know they intimidated and harassed donors to conservative organizations. We know that they leaked sensitive taxpayer information to the public so that donors could be harassed. And we know the IRS misled Congress.
"The reason we know about this is because Congress two years ago asked the IRS about this. We were getting these reports in the Ways and Means Committee. We sent letters and had hearings with the IRS saying, "We're getting reports that people are being targeted unfairly and singled out because of their views in the Tea Party.' And they said, "Nope, nothing going on here.' They even knew that this was happening, and they still misled Congress."