Amanpour Accuses Paul Ryan of ‘Reverse Robin Hoodism,’ Freeland Urges ‘Courage’ to Raise Taxes

“This week -- budget blowback,” Christiane Amanpour trumpeted in framing her Sunday look, at reaction to Republican Congressman Paul Ryan’s proposed budget plan, through those hostile to it, asserting: “As town halls across America erupt in anger over a plan to slash spending, Republicans find themselves under fire.” Amanpour maintained: “Congressman Ryan is at the center of the storm. It's his plan, of course, that has sparked the outcry. Across the country, the anger is palpable.”

Instead of adding some light, however, Amanpour fueled the fire by legitimizing left-wing talking points, confronting Ryan: “People who have been studying your numbers very carefully have been saying that the numbers don't add up,” since:

It also says two-thirds of the savings that you want to make in spending cuts come at the expense of programs designed for the poor, for the disadvantaged. And this is reverse Robin Hoodism, if you like – take from the poor, give back to the rich again.

With “Ryan’s Plan Under Fire” as her on screen heading during most of the segment, Amanpour showed scenes from a day she spent with Ryan at town meeting in his Wisconsin district, illustrated mostly by liberal complaints to him with a few bits of praise mixed in.

In the subsequent roundtable, Chrystia Freeland, global editor-at-large for Thomson-Reuters, made a plea to increase taxes, fretting:

What I think is really missing – in both the Republican and the Democratic approach right now and is really an example of political cowardess – is taxes. We heard in your interview, Christiane, Ryan saying, “well, you know, this is about cutting spending.” It's partly going to be about cutting spending, but it is also going to be about raising taxes. And that's the thing that I think no one has the courage to talk about. It's partly going to be, I think there should be more taxes on the very rich. They’re doing incredibly well in this economy, but it is going to be about more taxes on the middle class, including consumption taxes.

From the Sunday, May 1 This Week with Christiane Amanpour, her segment with Ryan joined in progress:

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: At the end of the day, Congressman Ryan and I sit down to talk about the bottom line.

AMANPOUR TO RYAN: People who have been studying your numbers very carefully have been saying that the numbers don't add up.

CONGRESSMAN PAUL RYAN: Well the Congressional Budget Office say they do.

AMANPOUR: It also says two-thirds of the savings that you want to make in spending cuts come at the expense of programs designed for the poor, for the disadvantaged. And this is reverse Robin Hoodism, if you like – take from the poor, give back to the rich again.

RYAN: I would disagree with that. First of all, spending increases in this budget, spending on the safety net increases but it increases at a more sustainable rate. Here's the problem, Christiane, the safety net we have right now is going bankrupt. It's tearing apart at the seams.

AMANPOUR: What you're proposing, seems like it's going to put a lot of the burden on the seniors. They’re worried they’re not going to be able to afford the cost of health insurance.

RYAN: So, we’re saying give them more money to cover their expenses, don't give wealthy people as much to cover their expenses because they're wealthy and can afford more. But we're also saying, you have to get at the root of the cause of inflation. Even President Obama is saying slow the growth rate of Medicare.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center