Paul Krugman attacks Ryan’s plan: In this morning’s New York Times, Paul Krugman punches hard today against Paul Ryan’s budget plan.
Ryan’s latest plan was announced on March 20. Last Thursday, it passed the House on a largely party-line vote. (Ten Republicans voted no; no Democrats voted yes.)
Krugman says this is “surely the most fraudulent budget in American history.” Here’s his basic explanation of that remarkable charge:
KRUGMAN (4/2/12): And when I say fraudulent, I mean just that. The trouble with the budget devised by Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, isn’t just its almost inconceivably cruel priorities, the way it slashes taxes for corporations and the rich while drastically cutting food and medical aid to the needy. Even aside from all that, the Ryan budget purports to reduce the deficit—but the alleged deficit reduction depends on the completely unsupported assertion that trillions of dollars in revenue can be found by closing tax loopholes.Krugman makes a very serious charge. He suggests that Ryan could never make his numbers work—but he only gets 800 words.
And we’re talking about a lot of loophole-closing. As Howard Gleckman of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center points out, to make his numbers work Mr. Ryan would, by 2022, have to close enough loopholes to yield an extra $700 billion in revenue every year. That’s a lot of money, even in an economy as big as ours. So which specific loopholes has Mr. Ryan, who issued a 98-page manifesto on behalf of his budget, said he would close?
None. Not one. He has, however, categorically ruled out any move to close the major loophole that benefits the rich, namely the ultra-low tax rates on income from capital. (That’s the loophole that lets Mitt Romney pay only 14 percent of his income in taxes, a lower tax rate than that faced by many middle-class families.)
So what are we to make of this proposal? Mr. Gleckman calls it a “mystery meat budget,” but he’s being unfair to mystery meat.
Question: Have you seen the New York Times attempt to review this basic topic in its news pages? Have you seen your biggest newspapers attempt to do basic reporting and basic analysis about this seminal topic?
No one could cover this topic in 800 words—and Krugman to trying to offer a larger perspective in today’s column. Have our biggest newspapers provided the basic background reporting?
For today, let’s ponder Krugman’s charge. According to Krugman, Ryan’s budget is “the most fraudulent budget in American history.” Even though this budget won't go into law, passage of this budget last week represents a “disturbing spectacle.”
That’s the charge. Tomorrow, we’ll review what the New York Times and the Washington Post have done in their news reporting about this seminal topic. Our question:
At this point, does the New York Times even pretend to cover topics like this?