Klein then transcribes the resulting exchange:
“But you could have the same or lower rate there,” I said. After all, if you’re closing loopholes, the top marginal tax rate doesn’t change.
“I don’t know about that,” said Ryan. “Remember, we have to write these things statically. We don’t use macroeconomic feedback on the Joint Tax Committee.”
“But if you capped deductions at $15,000,” I pressed, “that wouldn’t change rates.”
Ryan didn’t budge. “You have to decide where you want to cap deduction or which deductions stay or go, what will pass, and what the resulting rates will be.
Here Ryan is descending into word salad, which impresses observers because he is using terms that pertain to tax policy — “statically,” “Joint Tax Committee” — but he is not using them in a way that makes any sense. The fact is that you could increase tax revenue by capping deductions, without increasing rates, or even with lowering rates. Ryan would know — he ran for vice-president promising to do exactly that!