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Ryan’s Budget Figures Don’t Add Up

Posted on Aug 17, 2012
401(K)2012 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Certain media pundits’ hearts are aflutter over how honest, intellectual and responsible GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan supposedly is. But not economics professor Bill Black, who shows that Ryan’s “Tinker Bell” budget proposal uses numbers that have nothing to do with the economy to achieve fiscal balance in the next few decades.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Bill Black at AlterNet:

You may read reports that the Ryan budget plan achieves a balanced budget in 2040. That is not correct. He created fantasy numbers, instructed the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to suspend disbelief (and its normal methodology, which actually crunches the numbers) and treat the fantasy numbers as real. He had to order the CBO to accept his fictional, numbingly over-optimistic numbers as reality in order to achieve a faux balanced budget nearly three decades from now. Absent the fictions his non-budget never eliminates the deficit. Ryan’s deliberate misuse of the CBO to attempt to lend credibility to partisan fantasy numbers is a cynical act of dishonesty. The CBO issued this warning about Ryan’s manipulation of the budget estimation process.

At the request of the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, Congressman Paul Ryan, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has calculated the long-term budgetary impact of paths for federal revenues and spending specified by the Chairman and his staff. The calculations presented here represent CBO’s assessment of how the specified paths would alter the trajectories of federal debt, revenues, spending, and economic output relative to the trajectories under two scenarios that CBO has analyzed previously. Those calculations do not represent a cost estimate for legislation or an analysis of the effects of any given policies. In particular, CBO has not considered whether the specified paths are consistent with the policy proposals or budget figures released today by Chairman Ryan as part of his proposed budget resolution.

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