Saturday, October 10, 2015

Paul Ryan: Memories of Con Jobs Past

As past posts make clear, I view Paul Ryan as a liar and hypocrite, especially when it comes to his feigned allegiance to Christian values even as he restlessly presses the GOP's reverse Robin Hood agenda. Now, with the increasingly insane Republican Party in disarray, some are seeing Ryan as the white knight needed to same the GOP from its self-wrought chaos.  Sadly, too many in the media continue to call Ryan out for what he really is: a con man.  Paul Krugman, fortunately,  doesn't display such reticence.  Here are highlights from his spot on column in the New York Times:

As the Paul Ryan clamor gets louder, a public service reminder: he’s a con man.

I don’t mean that I disagree with his policy ideas, although I do. I mean that his reputation as a serious thinker is based on deception, both about what he has actually proposed and how it has or hasn’t been vetted.

Take, for example, the famous “fiscally responsible” budget plan. As I explained way back when, what Ryan did was to present a sort of vague fiscal outline to the Congressional Budget Office that envisioned implausibly large cuts in spending and mysterious increases in revenue, and stipulated for the purpose of the exercise that CBO take those numbers as given. The budget office hinted broadly in its report that it didn’t believe any of it, e.g.:
That combination of other mandatory and discretionary spending was specified to decline from 12 percent of GDP in 2010 to about 6 percent in 2021 and then move in line with the GDP price deflator beginning in 2022, which would generate a further decline relative to GDP. No proposals were specified that would generate that path. [My italics]
Ryan is to budget analysis as Carly Fiorina is to corporate leadership: he’s brilliant at self-promotion, but there’s no hint that he’s actually able to do the job. There is, in particular, no example I know of where he’s actually been right about anything involving budgets or economics, and some remarkable examples — like his inflation screeds — of being completely wrong, and learning nothing from the experience.

So is this really the GOP can do? And the answer, sad to say, is that it probably is.

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