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Sunday, August 08, 2010

"Doubletalk Express"

Paul Krugman explains why critics of his charge that Paul Ryan's budget proposal is nothing more than "flimflam" are missing the point:

Doubletalk Express, by Paul Krugman: OK, here’s Ryan’s reply. As I predicted, a snow storm of words, dodging the math questions.

Notice that Ryan does not address the issue of the zero nominal growth assumption, and how that assumption — not entitlement reforms — is the key to his alleged spending cuts by 2020.

I also see that Ryan is perpetuating the runaround on revenue estimates. If you read either this article or his original response to the Tax Policy Center, you could easily get the impression that nobody would do a revenue estimate, that CBO said it was JCT’s job, and JCT balked. Even Nate Silver has fallen for this. But read the original response carefully:

...Staff originally asked CBO to do a long-term analysis of both the tax and spending provisions in the Roadmap. However, CBO declined to do a revenue analysis of the tax plan, citing that it did not want to infringe on the traditional jurisdiction of the JCT. JCT, however, does not have the capability at this time to provide longer-term revenue estimates (i.e. beyond 10 years) [my emphasis]. Given these functional constraints for an official analysis, staff relied on its original work with the Treasury Department and other tax experts to formulate a reasonable expected path for long-term revenues given the tax policies in the Roadmap combined with the economic growth projections available at the time.

In other words, Ryan could have gotten JCT to do a 10-year estimate; it just wouldn’t go beyond that. And he chose not to get that 10-year estimate. So it was Ryan’s choice not to have any independent estimate of the 10-year revenue effects.

And bear in mind that the Tax Policy Center critique was five months ago. If Ryan disagreed with the center’s estimates, he could have gone back to the JCT to get a different set of estimates. He never did.

By the way, if you look at the artful way his excuses are constructed — giving the false impression that he couldn’t get a revenue score for love nor money — how is that not flimflam?

Finally, why is Ryan denying that he proposes dismantling Medicare as we know it? Replacing the system with vouchers surely fits that description.

    Posted by on Sunday, August 8, 2010 at 10:08 AM in Budget Deficit, Economics, Health Care, Politics, Social Insurance | Permalink  Comments (5)


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