Paul Krugman knows a thing or two about budgets and the economy. The New York Times Op-Ed columnist and Princeton economics professor, after all, won a Nobel Prize in economic science. So it’s worth noting that Krugman thinks that the controversial budget proposal of newly minted Republican VP contender Paul Ryan—which has become famous for ending Medicare as we know it—should not be taken seriously.
As Krugman noted Monday in a blog post for the Times, the Wisconsin congressman is just “a hard-core conservative, with a voting record as far right as Michele Bachmann’s, who has shown no competence at all on the numbers thing.”
Look, Ryan hasn’t “crunched the numbers”; he has just scribbled some stuff down, without checking at all to see if it makes sense. He asserts that he can cut taxes without net loss of revenue by closing unspecified loopholes; he asserts that he can cut discretionary spending to levels not seen since Calvin Coolidge, without saying how; he asserts that he can convert Medicare to a voucher system, with much lower spending than now projected, without even a hint of how this is supposed to work. This is just a fantasy, not a serious policy proposal.
... What Ryan is good at is exploiting the willful gullibility of the Beltway media, using a soft-focus style to play into their desire to have a conservative wonk they can say nice things about. And apparently the trick still works.