During a town hall meeting in Milton, Wisconsin, a constituent who described himself as a “lifelong conservative” asked Republican Congressman Paul Ryan about the effects of growing income inequality in the nation. The constituent noted that huge income disparities contributed to the Great Depression and the Great Recession, and thus wanted to know why the congressman was “fighting to not let the tax breaks for the wealthy expire.”
Ryan argued against “redistribut[ing]” in this manner. After the constituent noted that “there’s nothing wrong with taxing the top because it does not trickle down,” Ryan argued that “we do tax the top.” This response earned a chorus of boos from constituents.
Ryan’s constituent is correct to point out that income inequality is accelerating in the United States and tax cuts aimed at the wealthy are exacerbating the problem. Between 1980 and 2005, “more than 80 percent of total increase in Americans’ income went to the top 1 percent.”