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Monday, August 20, 2012

Paul Krugman: An Unserious Man

The Ryan budget plan is "a joke":

An Unserious Man, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate led to a wave of pundit accolades. ... But ... Ryanomics is and always has been a con game...
Let’s talk about what’s actually in the Ryan plan,... if we add up Mr. Ryan’s specific proposals, we have $4.3 trillion in tax cuts, partially offset by around $1.7 trillion in spending cuts — with the tax cuts, surprise, disproportionately benefiting the top 1 percent, while the spending cuts would primarily come at the expense of low-income families. Over all, the effect would be to increase the deficit by around two and a half trillion dollars.
Yet Mr. Ryan claims to be a deficit hawk. What’s the basis for that claim?
Well, he says that he would offset his tax cuts by ... eliminating enough tax deductions to make up the lost revenue. Which deductions would he eliminate? He refuses to say — and realistically, revenue gain on the scale he claims would be virtually impossible.
At the same time, he asserts that he would make huge further cuts in spending. What would he cut? He refuses to say.
What Mr. Ryan actually offers, then, are specific proposals that would sharply increase the deficit, plus an assertion that he has secret tax and spending plans that ... will turn his overall plan into deficit reduction.
If this sounds like a joke, that’s because it is. Yet Mr. Ryan’s “plan” has been treated with great respect in Washington. ...
The question now is whether Mr. Ryan’s undeserved reputation for honesty and fiscal responsibility can survive his participation in a deeply dishonest and irresponsible presidential campaign.
The first sign of trouble has already surfaced over the issue of Medicare. Mr. Romney, in an attempt to repeat the G.O.P.’s successful “death panels” strategy of the 2010 midterms, has been busily attacking the president for the same Medicare savings that are part of the Ryan plan. And Mr. Ryan’s response when this was pointed out was incredibly lame: he only included those cuts, he says, because the president put them “in the baseline,” whatever that means. Of course, whatever Mr. Ryan’s excuse, the fact is that without those savings his budget becomes even more of a plan to increase, not reduce, the deficit.
So will the choice of Mr. Ryan mean a serious campaign? No, because Mr. Ryan isn’t a serious man — he just plays one on TV.

    Posted by on Monday, August 20, 2012 at 12:33 AM in Budget Deficit, Economics, Politics | Permalink  Comments (45)


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