Sunday, August 8, 2010

Krugman's Incredibly Sloppy Hack Job On Rep. Paul Ryan

I am not surprised that Paul Krugman, in his most recent column, has demonized Wisconsin Republican Representative Paul Ryan as a "fraud" and a "flim flam man." Demonizing one's ideological opponents rather than engaging in reasoned debates is, after all, central to how the left operates. And there are few further to the left than Krugman, a "Nobel prize winning economist" who has made a career at the NYT acting as a shill for the far left. And indeed, Krugman has been one of the foremost champions of the Obama administration's economic policies that today have us mired in the worst recession since World War II.

Rep. Paul Ryan is rapidly becoming recognized as the intellectual leader of House Republicans. Months ago, Ryan drafted a "Roadmap For America's Future." It is a detailed and comprehensive economic plan that addresses deficits, taxes, and entitlements. It is a very serious plan aimed at putting America back on a robust economic footing. And it is a plan that has been getting a lot of positive press as Obama's Keynesian solutions to our severe economic distress only have us heading further into the swamp.

Krugman starts off his diatribe with a statement that, coming from him, is the height of irony:

One depressing aspect of American politics is the susceptibility of the political and media establishment to charlatans.

If anyone could attest to the truth of that statement, its Paul Krugman.

At any rate, Krugman relies heavily on information from the Tax Policy Center, a left leaning organization that, Krugman claims, has determined that Ryan's plan is based on faulty assumptions and is, therefore, unworkable. Krugman then goes on to rake Ryan over the coals." Krugman claims that, in reality, Ryan's road map would cut taxes for the rich (ahhh, there's that class warfare again), slash entitlements generally, and destroy Medicare.

This has to be one of the sloppiest hack jobs ever written.

Krugman charges Ryan with fraud in part because Ryan did not have the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) score the revenue side of his plan. Krugman apparently doesn't know that that job is not within CBO's purview, but rather has to be done by a different organization - the JCT (Joint Committee on Taxation). The JCT is responsible for providing the official revenue score of tax legislation - and they did it for the Roadmap.

But perhaps most damning of Krugman's hackery is the fact that the members of the Tax Policy Center were so disturbed by Krugman's distortion of what they had written that they felt it necessary to post on their website a detailed defense of Rep. Ryan and a refutation of Krugman's ridiculous charges of "fraud:"

In Defense of Congressman Paul Ryan

Given that columnist Paul Krugman relied on Tax Policy Center estimates to level claims that Congressman Paul Ryan is a “flimflam man” and that Ryan’s plan to address our fiscal problems is a “fraud,” I think a defense of the Congressman is in order. . . .

You can read the entire defense here.

Similarly, Meagan McArdle at the Atlantic, no right winger herself, also rises with a defense of Ryan. And then, of course, Rep. Ryan himself has responded to Krugman:

Despite watching European welfare states collapse under the weight of their own debt, those running Washington are leading us down precisely the same path. With the debt surpassing $13 trillion, we can no longer avoid having a serious discussion about how to address the unsustainable growth of government.

Unfortunately, rather than make meaningful contributions to this conversation and bring solutions to the table, Democrats have attempted to win this debate by default. Relying on demagoguery and distortion, the left would prefer that entitlements - often labeled the "third rail" of American politics - remain untouchable, and the column by Paul Krugman of The New York Times is indicative of the partisan attacks leveled against the plan I've offered, a "Roadmap for America's Future." . . .

You can find Ryan's lengthy response to Krugman here.

As an addendum, let me ask, what is it about left wing economists? There has yet to be a centrally controlled economy that can compete with a capitalist economy (and a less regulated one the better.) There has yet to be an instance of which I am aware where Keynesian economics has actually worked as hypothesized. Indeed, just ask Obama's now retiring Chairman of Economic Advisors, Christina Romer. Every time for the last century, when we have cut tax rates, our economy has expanded to the point where government revenues increased. Yet the left, pointing to Krugman and his ilk, have a death grip on their Keynesian beliefs, their desire to use tax policy to punish our most productive citizens, and to use government to redistribute wealth. I can only conclude that Krugman is as worthy of his Nobel prize in economics as Robert Merton and Myron Scholes were. They are the two Nobel prize winning economists who started a hedge fund that failed after losing $4.6 billion in less than four months in 1998. I suspect, before all is said and done, Krugman will join them in ignominy.

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