House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) suggested Sunday that the Occupy Wall Street protests were the fault of President Barack Obama for "sowing class envy and social unrest."
Ryan told NBC's David Gregory that the real source of the sluggish economy and lack of jobs was that businesses "needed more certainty."
"In 15 months' time the top tax rate on small businesses goes to 44.8 percent," Ryan claimed. "Now they're going to throw another tax increase on it. We're going to be taxing small businesses at about 50 percent. According to the Treasury Department, 80 percent of small businesses, 80 percent of businesses file as individuals. Sixty percent of the businesses in this country file their tax rates as individuals and will get hit by this new tax that goes to 50 percent in 15 months. Why would we do that?"
According to Tax Policy Center's Howard Gleckman, President Barack Obama's proposal would actually raise taxes on the top 0.1 percent by seven percentage points, from 32.8 percent to 39.7 percent.
"Bottom line: A typical household may pay a few bucks more or less if Obama gets his way on taxes," Gleckman wrote. "The only exception: those who make more than about $300,000, who'd on average probably get a big enough tax hike to notice."
Ryan continued: "I think this divisive rhetoric is fairly--is divisive. I think it's troubling. Sowing class envy and social unrest is not what we do in America."
"You think that's what the president's doing?" Gregory asked.
"I think the president is doing that," Ryan insisted. "I think he's preying on the emotions of fear, envy, and anger, and that is not constructive to unifying America. I think he's broken his promise as a uniter, and now he's dividing people. And to me, that's very unproductive. That's not who we are in America."
Watch this video from NBC's Meet the Press, broadcast Oct. 9, 2011.