The tweet was deleted within hours, probably guaranteeing it will never be forgotten.
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., faced a backlash Saturday after citing a secretary’s $1.50 weekly increase in take-home pay as a sign of the Republican tax plan’s success.
“A secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week … she said [that] will more than cover her Costco membership for the year,” Ryan posted on Twitter on Saturday morning, sharing an Associated Press report about paycheck increases under the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul.
The article describes a high-school secretary, Julia Ketchum, as “pleasantly surprised” her pay went up $1.50 a week, or $78 a year, more than enough for an annual Costco membership.
The tweet was deleted within hours, probably guaranteeing it will never be forgotten, and leaving people baffled as to why Ryan thought it would make a good advertisement for the tax plan. Neither Ryan’s office nor Ketchum could be reached for comment.
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It didn’t take long for lawmakers and social-media users to criticize him for appearing to be out of touch. “That tweet about the $1.50 a week is not a PR mistake,” Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, wrote on Twitter. “It is really what they think.”
Randy Bryce, a Democrat waging a longshot bid to unseat Ryan, used the tweet to raise money. “Moments ago, @PRyan deleted this tweet after we told him just how out of touch he was,” Bryce said, seeking $1.50 donations. “Show Paul Ryan what you think of his tax bill.”
According to an analysis of the bill by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, “in general, higher income households receive larger average tax cuts as a percentage of after-tax income.” Middle-income taxpayers would receive an average tax cut of $930 this year, and those in the top 1 percent would receive an average cut of $51,000.
Economists say it is too early to tell what kind of impact the tax bill will have on the economy and wages.