How to Read a Nobel Prize-Winning New York Times Columnist

Posted: Aug 06, 2010 12:08 PM
Paul Ryan has officially arrived, folks. He and his Roadmap are the subject of a hit piece by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman in his column space today. Those on the Left have seen the future of Ryan, and they're scared.

Unfortunately, in reading, I got pulled down the rabbit hole. Krugman's lies, distortions and sins of omission are more egregious today than they have been in recent past that I can remember. [# More #]

Krugman's main points are 1) Paul Ryan's plan relies on unnamed spending cuts, 2)Paul Ryan's plan does not reduce the deficit because his tax policy is overly generous, and 3) his plan is nothing more than a '90s rehash.

Let's set aside the 90's rehash argument for now. (It's not substantive or meaningful. Sorry Paul.) Now first, we'll look at what Paul Krugman said yesterday.

Medicare actuaries believe that the cost-saving provisions in the Obama health reform will make a huge difference to the long-run budget outlook. Yes, it’s just a projection, and debatable like all projections. And it’s still not enough. But anyone who both claims to be worried about the long-run deficit and was opposed to health reform has some explaining to do.

How are the Medicare cuts under Obamacare achieved? By unnamed, unspecified future cuts that Congress will have to come up with in a few years. Here's Krugman today, in a follow-up blog post:

Keeping nominal spending constant means deep cuts in real per capita terms… this means that most of the alleged savings have nothing to do with the supposed core of the Ryan plan, entitlement reform; they’re just invented out of thin air.

The massive Obamacare bill Krugman hyped for months created spending cuts in the exact same way: unspecified future cuts that Congress will have to invent and likely won't.

For the tax revenue side of the Ryan Roadmap, Krugman cites a Tax Policy Center (TPC) report saying that Ryan's outline won't raise as much revenue as he claims. He then states that the CBO was specifically told not to calculate effects on tax revenue. This is a lie.

Congressman Ryan and his staff did ask CBO to analyze both the revenue 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 jurisdiction of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT).

Additionally, Ryan's plan is a Roadmap for how to control spending, not hard-set limits on tax policy. Ryan's office said,

Congressman Ryan stands by his numbers, and of course would be open to adjustments in the specified rates under his tax reforms if in fact TPC’s estimates are closer to reality than Ryan’s estimates.

Krugman owes the readers of the New York Times a correction for his dishonesty. He took a press release hit that TPC put out on Ryan without bothering to follow up with Ryan's office or look into the details of his plan. He hits Ryan for proposing the same kind of spending cuts that Krugman has applauded Obama for doing.

Thanks to Joe Lawler, who got me started down today's Krugman crazy path.