Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 6, 2011

RYAN'S NUMBERS DON'T ADD UP.... Paul Krugman this morning summarizes the problem nicely: "Gosh. For a plan that supposedly sets a new standard of seriousness, Paul Ryan's vision depends an awful lot on unicorn sighting -- belief in the impossible.... This isn't a serious proposal; it's a strange combination of cruelty and insanely wishful thinking."

The media that jumped to embrace the House GOP budget plan probably should've waited a day.

For example, the CBO has reviewed the preliminary Republican proposal, and it's telling the House majority what it doesn't want to hear.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's initial analysis of the House GOP budget released today by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is filled with nuggets of bad news for Republicans.

In addition to acknowledging that seniors, disabled and elderly people would be hit with much higher out-of-pocket health care costs, the CBO finds that by the end of the 10-year budget window, public debt will actually be higher than it would be if the GOP just did nothing.

Under the so-called "extended baseline scenario" -- a.k.a. projections based on current law -- debt held by the public will grow to 67 percent of GDP by 2022. Under the GOP plan, public debt would reach 70 percent of GDP in the same window.

In other words, the spending cuts Republicans would realize in the first 10 years would be outpaced by deficit increasing tax-cuts, which Ryan also proposes.

Got that? The Ryan plan to reduce the budget shortfall would create more debt over the next decade, not less.

What's more, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has said repealing the Affordable Care Act would increase the deficit considerably. Paul Ryan's plan says repealing the ACA would reduce the deficit by $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years. And how does he reach this conclusion? No one knows; he refuses to say.

Ryan's growth projections are literally laughable. His "dynamic" scoring of taxes is absurd. His reliance on dubious spending "caps" is very hard to take seriously.

I have problems with the Republican plan because of its ideological crusade, the punishment it imposes on the middle class, and its eagerness to lavish benefits on those who don't need them. But putting all of that aside, the even more straightforward issue with this radical scheme is that the numbers don't add up. It makes ridiculous assumptions based on bizarre projections.

For all the media hype, this isn't an example of "seriousness." It's the opposite.

Steve Benen 10:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (42)

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Another GOP budget proposal where the numbers are pulled out of their collective arses...I'm shocked!

Posted by: drinksforall on April 6, 2011 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

He has big blue eyes and looks good on tv. Do any of these numbers really matter?

Posted by: SaintZak on April 6, 2011 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Go ahead with your posturing and faux outrage, liberals. Ordinary Americans know that the GOP is the party of fiscal responsibility and the democrats are all tax and spend enthusiasts.

Posted by: Al on April 6, 2011 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

The good news is that the CBO projects that the tax cuts for those of us making more a $500K a year will add $5 Trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years.

Ryan just needs to find more poor/old/worker/middle class programs to gut to bring this into balance! Keep the social security taxes and eliminate the payouts to the old parasites and all will be well.

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on April 6, 2011 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

My "Plan" is pretty nifty, too. Ship the halt and the lame and the unemployed to Gitmo. Not only will that cut expenses, created jobs, but it will also rejuvenate the railroads.
And it don't take no damn ten years to git 'er done!

Posted by: DAY on April 6, 2011 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

Uh...tax the rich?

Come on, let's give it a shot. Nothing else has been successful as of late, and taxing the rich has a history of, you know, working. Just because the rich hate it, doesn't mean it doesn't work.

Posted by: slappy magoo on April 6, 2011 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

One of the amusing things I noticed in his plan is that he projects that his tax cuts will produce a 2.5% rate of unemployment. Unemployment hasn't been 2.5% since 1950 or so and is not really healthy in any event. Anyway the result doesn't follow from the tax cuts. In 1950 the top marginal rate was about 90% and there is no reason to think the rich are going to invest in American jobs.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 6, 2011 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

But the serious pund-twits will tell you, "Oh, but The Heritage Foundation gave it their thumbs up!" - and no, not up their asses, which is where Ryans numbers came from.

Reminder: The Heritage Foundation is like the Cato Institute - a Wignut Welfare program for the criminally Conservative (Oh, but I repeat myself).
They were also the ones that told everyone that we'd be swimming in jobs after the Bush Tax Cuts.

Instead or swimming in jobs, we're on a desert island for jobs, drowning in an ocean of debt caused by the tax cuts, two occupations, and the Medicare poison pill - ALL of which The Heritage Foundation heartilly approved.

After all, they are a SERIOUS organizaion with SERIOUS people.
Not like the jokers who want to increase the tax on the wealthy and cut military spending before we have nothing for the military worth protecting.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on April 6, 2011 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

But... but... it's got numbers in it! With digits in the numbers! It's more than two pages long! Nobody at the press conference laughed out loud!

Posted by: MattF on April 6, 2011 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Gee dare I say it. Class warfare. There is no other explanation. One question with a follow up needs to be asked of each one of these people in power. how will this help the vast majority of the american people. And follow up after the answer with and how do you prove what you say. Republicans hate proof. Ask any one of them in a conversation to offer some proof. The standard answer usually goes to some form of how dare you question my integrity. Prove that tax cuts lead to job growth. Laughable given that Bush's cuts have been in place for how long now.

Posted by: Gandalf on April 6, 2011 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

As usual c u n d gulag has hit it right on the nose, I would like to say - ditto!

Posted by: j on April 6, 2011 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Nothing surprising here. Of course Ryan's plan is nothing but a POS. Of course he lies and distorts. The GOP may feel strong enough to be finally telling the truth about where they stand on the issues of the day--instead of lying about that, as they have been for 40 years--but they still love lying, because lying confuses people, and confused people are virtually the only people who vote republican these days.

The whole point of this exercise seems to be to get the Village to sign on to the Catfood Commission suggestions--there was no formal report from that Commission, btw--another GOP moving-the-goalposts act. Thing is, the White House seems to be ready to accept that. Which is plain nuts.

By the way, please tell me that Al's comment up-thread was a joke. If not, it was a pretty lame piece of trolling.

Posted by: LL on April 6, 2011 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Article: "The media that jumped to embrace the House GOP budget plan probably should've waited a day."

Yeah right. The corporate media mantra: "Numbers! We don't need no stinkin' numbers!"

Posted by: max on April 6, 2011 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

I can't believe this - I drive a truck for a living, and yet I seem to know more about Ryan's budget proposal (i.e. - it's really flawed) than these idiot pundits, who all seem to think it's going to solve all our problems. I'm just amazed - who the f*ck appointed these morons to be the arbiters of serious political discussion in this country? It's a village, all right - a village of idiots.

Posted by: Patrick Star on April 6, 2011 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

So here you have the actual reality of the Ryan plan yet your corporate media is ejaculating all over itself in it's praise. What does this tell you about the actual nature of your corporate media ? Your worst enemy is in fact your corporate media. It is a true enemy of the state, an enemy of common people. The 'media elite' lives in a corporate bubble that decides upon the 'story lines' and the 'narratives' that they then repeat over and over until those story lines and narratives become the 'reality' that your typical stupid citizen then 'believes'. Never mind that this 'reality' is not reality at all.

It is make believe so that the corporate agenda that only benefits the corporations, and through extension the 400 families that control everything in your country, your plutocracy, can happen. So they hire people who sell their souls, make their faustian deals, to be among the corporate elite. Their souls then become nothing more than a rancid abscess festooned with million dollar suites, ties, and dresses while they set there on your TV sets lying to you, catapulting the propaganda over and over and over.

Your greatest enemy is your corporate media in the form of the likes of the Brian Williams of this world, et-al. Exactly why is it that such a piece of corporate shit should be paid 15 million a year to read for thirty minutes what is prepared for him to read while the teachers of your kids make about $50,000 a year ? Why is this ? And then the same Brain Williams, et-al, turn your teachers into scapegoats for the evils of your capitalism manifesting in the form your Wall Street that is nothing more than a gambling casino for the evil rich who have appointed themselves as superior to anyone else, who give them self the 'right' to hoard all the money for themselves. Meanwhile one out of four of your children are on food stamps. 50 million of your citizens have no health insurance. 20 percent of your citizens live in total poverty. One percent controls the entire wealth of your country. Meanwhile Brian Williams, et-al, is making $250,000 per week. Per Week. And, so, of course your corporate media is now ejaculating all over itself in praise of Ryan. Your greatest enemy is your corporate media.


Posted by: blue on April 6, 2011 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Ryan plan = Soylent Green
And chock full of Orwellian wisdom.

Posted by: jhill on April 6, 2011 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

The only thing serious about this plan is its goal to give health insurers a huge windfall by privatizing Medicare. Notwithstanding the gushing from MSM, the optics don't look good. All I see is, CUT MEDICARE + LOWER TAXES = BALANCED BUDGET and it doesn't add up. The CUT MEDICARE is supposed to be a plus by turning Medicare into Medicare Advantage. Last time I checked MA was more expensive. And, LOWER TAXES?!?! Let's try this again, it worked so well the last couple of times to balance the budget. But, somehow its still 'serious' 'change' for deficit concern trolls. The silver lining to the Republicans winning the house in the midterms is starting to emerge: They can't hide behind the Democratic leadership anymore. They are now in the spotlight and the public will be able to witness how little they have been rehabilitated from the Bush years.

Serious to me would be a tax to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Let's start there. And then maybe a repeal of Medicare Part D.

Posted by: John Henry on April 6, 2011 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

er, Gandalf, "Class Warfare"?

Hmmm, hate to tell you, but, we have lost that war. We were disposed of by a blitzkrieg campaign. All of Ryan's work, er budget will be part and parcel of a mop up by his EinsatzgruppenKommandos.

Posted by: berttheclock on April 6, 2011 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

If the Democrats could ever learn how to message effectively, instead of sputtering about "extremism" and "unfairness", they'd label the Republican-Ryan roadmap "The Raw Deal."

I'm serious here. Imagine the ads..."FDR promised Americans a New Deal, and out of that grew 50 years of middle class prosperity. Now the Republicans are proposing the Raw Deal, a promise to the wealthiest Americans to increase their wealth at your expense."

Democrats, pull your heads out of your asses and start talking about "The Raw Deal" at every opportunity.

Posted by: Jennifer on April 6, 2011 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, the CBO is only useful when it upholds GOP plans and schemes to enrich the Rich. When it criticizes the GOP plans and schemes (which turns out to be every one of them), the Republicans simply dismiss the CBO as a partisan group that only provide comments to be discarded.
Equally unfortunate is the Media's strong tendency to portray the CBO as some strange group that exists just to confuse voters about Republican monetary schemes.

Posted by: T2 on April 6, 2011 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

But watching Scarborough and Hannity's love fest for this guy is so much fun!

I feel like I'm watching gay porn when he goes onto those shows with all the man love thrown around.

Posted by: mikefromArlington on April 6, 2011 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

I think Al has it right. At least that is what my TEEVEE NOOZE tells me.

Posted by: John R AKA Mr. Serf Man on April 6, 2011 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Watch out for the non-partisan CBO to be denounced as socialist and un-American. When you live in fact-free universe, the only thing you can do with unwelcome (or inconvenient?) truths is to defame and suppress the people who spread them. Stuck in their anti-communist obsession, the Right come to resemble their enemies more and more.

Posted by: davidp on April 6, 2011 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

I'm hopeful they'll come out with another flow-chart-to-nowhere which will simplify matters enough for even the Beltway pundits to understand how nonsensical this is.

Posted by: ajw93 on April 6, 2011 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

"Go ahead with your posturing and faux outrage, liberals. Ordinary Americans know that the GOP is the party of fiscal responsibility and the democrats are all tax and spend enthusiasts."

Are you F' n kidding me??!?!? The party that didn't (refused) pay for 2 lengthy wars and blew a hugh surplus?!? Are you for real or just playing the role of Blog idiot??

Posted by: drinksforall on April 6, 2011 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Democrats, pull your heads out of your asses and start talking about "The Raw Deal" at every opportunity.-: Jennifer

Alas, Jennifer, the Democrats are just the flip side of the same coin.

Posted by: DAY on April 6, 2011 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

The good thing is that average Americans can understand that gutting medicare and medicaid is a bad thing. Average Americans realize that they will be asked to die early if Ryan's plan is ever implemented. Average Americans realize that the Ryan plan is the end of the American dream.

The bad thing is "elite" Americans don't understand that Ryan's idea is for average Americans to die early and surrender their dreams for their kids while he and his ilk get richer.

I don't begin to recognize the America Ryan dreams about.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 6, 2011 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with Benen's previous comments in which he suggested that Ryan's plan is ill-timed.

The GOP has the Dems on the ropes in the budget negotiations. While the GOP could certainly misplay a shutdown, if an agreement is reached, the only question is how much Democrats will concede.

But by rolling out a plan that simply does not add up AND tries to repeal Medicare, the GOP is poised to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

This is the political equivalent of Hitler going after Stalingrad (Godwin be damned!). A completely unnecessary and hubristic attempt to go for a premature knockout blow.

Posted by: square1 on April 6, 2011 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

I think Jennifer's idea of presenting all this as the RAW DEAL is perfect. It's a great sound bite that even the most stupid of Americans can understand because, hey, it's only two words. It should be repeated over and over by the spineless Dems on every TV show that they are allowed on ..

Posted by: stormskies on April 6, 2011 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen wrote: "The media that jumped to embrace the House GOP budget plan probably should've waited a day."

Why should the giant corporations that own virtually all of the mass media in America wait a day to start hammering the American people with self-serving propaganda?

After all, that's what their near-totalitarian control of information is for.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 6, 2011 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

drinksforall wrote:
Are you for real or just playing the role of Blog idiot??

The answer is B. Al is satire, and has been for years. The original Al is long gone.

Can we mock the GOP for being all hopey/changey about Ryan's plan?

Posted by: josef on April 6, 2011 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Democrats: We gave you The New Deal and "The Great Society!

Now Republicans want to give you A Raw Deal and A Poor Society!

I like it!!!

And square1,
From your mouth, to God's ears!

Posted by: c u n d gulag on April 6, 2011 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone else remember when the Senate was the most important political body in the history of our nation, and the main focus of almost all Congressional coverage?

Hell, at this point, I THANK GOD for the gridlock in the upper chamber, and am pretty sure Dems have to do all they can to keep control of it. Without it, the absolute nutballs in the House are going to utterly destroy our nation with their clinically insane proposals.

I mean, really. None of this shit is going to make it out of committee, let alone to Obama's desk. Thus, I'm not going to go totally nuts about Ryan's idiotic budget proposal, nor Paultard's Randian wet dream of an idea.

I do, however, like the idea of them putting their ideas out there for the world to see. All they're doing is exposing themselves as out of touch with basic reality.

Let's just hope the media doesn't help hide that fact, and that Dems pound the living shit out of them with it.

Posted by: Mark D on April 6, 2011 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

B-b-b-but they LOVE him! He makes Glenn Beck's tiny heart throb with joy! When you're in love you can believe in magic! Doesn't love conquer all?

Posted by: T-Rex on April 6, 2011 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Its worth repeating the following comparison:

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

Posted by: Objective Dem on April 6, 2011 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Does anyone see a parallel here with Gov. Walker's union-busting plan? An ideological "crusade" in the guise of budget-cutting, accompanied (of course) by tax cuts for the rich! Hmmmm...

Posted by: SFLiberal on April 6, 2011 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Only our lap-dog, lazy-as-hell, worthless media could get fooled again by a Republican budget plan. Can anyone remember when such a thing was not a recipe for fiscal disaster for this country?

Posted by: digitusmedius on April 6, 2011 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

The Paul Ryan "Screw you if you are under 55" plan does not benefit the conomy, does not solve long term problems, does not add up, and shifts more of the burden of what government does to the working class. It advances an elitism, corporatist-defense industry form of hyper elite government benefits for the white upper upper class.

This is what Paul Ryan is saying - " If you are under 55, have a physically demanding job, have sick or aging parents, have kids, belong to a union, work for a governmental agency, want you kids to have a decent education, are not caucasian, have kids who are disabled, don't have advanced college degrees -- tough shit". We are going to pay for the tax cuts to the upper 2%, their tax benefits, their wealth accumulation, and their abdication of basic participation in our government.

So as I said in the post below, go fuck yourself, Paul Ryan. I am already planning my 2012 to work in a state where votes matter - hell, I might even go to WI. I have already donated to the recall effort in you pissant sorry pathetic district.

Posted by: bigtuna on April 6, 2011 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

My growing fear? We don't live in a democratic society where commom citizens work to understand their interests and then work to advocate them in the public square.

No, commoners are sophists seemingly only interested in voting when they have a chance to vote for their "Idol", and the discourse in our public square reflects such narrsacism - not substantive debate on the health of us as a people and our nation too boot!

Ahh, the Koch Bros. never had it sooooo gooooood! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on April 6, 2011 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Several years back, in numerous editorial pieces, Professor Krugman pointed to the GOP efforts to implement the conservative think tank strategy to "starve the beast." The GOP's almost sole concentration on deficit reduction since it retook control of the House, combined with Ryan's plan, is clearly "starve the beast" come to fruition. But I don't recall seeing anything from Krugman or Benen on it. Its time to communicate it again.

Posted by: Matt Alan on April 6, 2011 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

For Medicare "reform", the GOP proposes " a 'premium support system' for Medicare. In the future, older people would choose plans in the marketplace..."

Not only does this shift more burden to the individual but also it transfers more of the operation to the wasteful private health insurance companies whose administrative costs (and profits) far exceed the expense of the Medicare s ystem.

This makes no sense.

homer www.altara.blogspot.com

Posted by: altara on April 6, 2011 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

"I don't begin to recognize the America Ryan dreams about." Ron Buyers @ 10:50 AM.

Try any time between, oh say, 1870 and 1928.
It would appear that the "Horatio Alger" stories are what these twits base their economic "theories" on. Apparently noone ever told them those stories were fiction...

Posted by: Doug on April 6, 2011 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK
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