House Budget Committee Paul Ryan says he took no joy in attacking President Barack Obama for fomenting class warfare in a speech Wednesday at the Heritage Foundation, but he said what he said because Obama’s “sowing social unrest” weakens America. The Wisconsin congressman also told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Obama’s rhetoric on raising taxes on the wealthy is not going to create jobs — it will just divide people.
“You know, it’s really disappointing, actually — I don’t enjoy doing this because he gave us a message of hope three years ago, of uniting and not dividing,” Ryan said. “And what we’re getting [is] class warfare. We’re getting very polarizing rhetoric that puts class against class, pits people against one another.
“And I would simply say sowing social unrest and class resentment does not make America stronger, it makes America weaker,” he said. “It strikes me as an ideological thing — it also is a political decision I think he’s made — he decided not to work with Congress.”
Ryan said although he doesn’t think Obama is a “bad person,” the president has spent a lot of time contributing to partisan conflict.
“This is not the American idea — we believe in a system of upward mobility — we believe in a system to get the hurdles out of people’s way so they can rise in society,” Ryan said. “We don’t believe in talking to people like they’re stuck in some class and the government is here to help them cope with their station in life.
“And I think that’s the kind of rhetoric that he’s using which: A, gives you bad policies; B, it sows social unrest; and C, it doesn’t work,” he said. “Using this kind of rhetoric to sell massive tax increases is not going to work to create jobs — it’s just going to put people against each other.”
Van Susteren then asked Ryan why he thought the Senate had not passed a budget bill, considering the House did so months ago.
“They actually had a budget drafted, as far as I know, and I just don’t think they were willing to show the American people the kind of tax increases they have in store,” Ryan said. “They were going to do a 50-50 budget — 50 percent tax increases, 50 percent savings. We already have about a $1.5 trillion tax increase starting in 14 months in America. The top tax rate that small businesses pay is going to 44.8 percent in 14 months — they were going to throw another $2 trillion tax increase on top of that.
“So we were going to see a mammoth tax increase coming in 14 months if they brought the budget to the floor, the one that they wanted to pass,” he said. “So I think they just basically decided to do nothing instead — take this criticism that they’re not passing a budget versus show the American people the tax increases we have in store.”
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