Over the weekend, House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted and then deleted a link to an Associated Press story highlighting people who were pleased to see the result of the GOP tax cut in their paychecks. Democrats, from Nancy Pelosi on down, seized on Ryan’s tweet to argue he was out of touch:
Paul Ryan deleted his embarrassing tweet of a blatant admission because he and Republicans don’t want you to know the truth: the #GOPTaxScam is a gift to corporate America and the top 1% at your expense.
He also doesn’t want you to know he got $500.000.00 from the Koch family. pic.twitter.com/ENXxASfAMP
— Nancy Pelosi (@TeamPelosi) February 3, 2018
Moments ago, @PRyan deleted this tweet after we told him just how out of touch he was. Show Paul Ryan what you think of his tax bill. Chip in $1.50 now to help us repeal and replace Ryan permanently this November.https://t.co/c3Fii4Q0Jn
— Randy Bryce (@IronStache) February 3, 2018
Guess someone told Paul Ryan you shouldn’t go around praising yourself for giving a working person an extra $1.50 a week — because he deleted this tweet. pic.twitter.com/JmrYpqvJhv
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) February 3, 2018
Admittedly, $1.50 a week isn’t a lot of money. It’s actually the smallest increase mentioned in the AP article, which I wrote about here last week. Here’s the mention of secretary Julia Ketchum in the original article [emphasis added]:
Wayne Love, who works in managed care in Spring Hill, Florida, got an extra $200 in his paycheck last week, which he said will help offset a $300 increase in the cost of his health insurance.
“I have heard time and again that the middle class is getting crumbs, but I’ll take it!” Love said by email.
Julia Ketchum, a secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week. She didn’t think her pay would go up at all, let alone this soon. That adds up to $78 a year, which she said will more than cover her Costco membership for the year.
And Todd Anderson of Texas and his fiance, who are both educators, got an extra $200 in their paychecks combined that they plan to use to cover the costs of a second baby on its way.
So the problem here, if there is one, isn’t that Ryan got the facts wrong. It’s just that Democrats don’t believe anyone should be pleased with an extra $1.50 a week because they apparently can’t believe anyone would care about that amount of money, especially when people making a lot more money are getting bigger tax cuts. Some people responding to Ryan’s tweet online even suggested Julia Ketchum, the school secretary, was being sarcastic about the $1.50. In other words, she couldn’t possibly be happy about these crumbs.
At least two reporters contacted Ketchum to ask if she was genuinely pleased about the $1.50 or was making a sarcastic point. Here’s an interview she gave to CBS News. She is asked if she was genuinely pleased or if she “laughed, like who cares” about it. “A dollar fifty is a dollar fifty, I’m not going to…I noticed it,” Ketchum replied. She added, “I was pleasantly surprised because it went up. It did not go down.”
CNN also had Ketchum on the air to ask the same question, i.e. were you serious about being pleased you got a $1.50 tax cut? “Were you celebrating the $1.50?” the host asked. Ketchum replied, “I answered it honestly and I really didn’t expect it to go where it went.” The CNN clip isn’t on YouTube yet but you can watch it here.
I’m not sure why Paul Ryan decided to highlight the woman who received the smallest benefit mentioned in that AP story. If it were me, I probably would have highlighted the teachers who saw an extra $200 in their checks rather than the person who only saw $1.50. But that aside, the Democrats said this bill was going to be “Armageddon.” In fact, that trash-talking of the tax bill is probably one reason Ketchum was surprised her taxes didn’t go up. She’d heard this was going to be bad news for people like her and it really wasn’t.
Democrats should be embarrassed about that. Instead, they are still trying to prove the tax cut is a failure by pointing to this high school secretary as an example of someone who got “crumbs” while corporations got millions. What Democrats really want to say here is that a truly decent tax bill would have given this secretary more than $1.50 tax cut. What they don’t say is that a) she probably pays relatively little in federal taxes already and b) there is no Democratic plan under which she would have done better. It’s not Paul Ryan who is out of touch here. It’s the people telling a high school secretary she’s wrong to be pleased her taxes went down this year instead of up.