Battle of the Pauls

I just read an opinion piece which was slathered with invective against a sitting politician’s economic policies. The piece was titled, “The Flimflam Man” and described the politician as a charlatan and a member of the “audacity of dopes”. The politician’s financial plans were described as “leftovers drenched in flimflam sauce” and “a sham”.

At first I thought I must have been reading one of my own drafts on Obamanomics. But no. It was Paul Krugman’s Op – Ed piece from last Friday’s New York Times. You can read Krugman’s diatribe here, although you might need a free account.

Needless to say, Krugman was not pillorying his BFF (best friend forever) Barack Obama. No, he was busy personally insulting Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as well as ranting about Mr. Ryan’s proposed “Roadmap” budget blueprint. During his hissy-fit Krugman manages to construct one or two cogent thoughts. The first is that the Congressional Budget Office didn’t address the tax loses from Ryan’s proposed tax cuts. The second is that Krugman is disappointed that the reliably liberal Washington Post actually thinks Rep. Ryan’s plan may have some merit. Both are cardinal sins in the conscience of a liberal.

But just as the spittle is drying on his chin after what must have been a violent keyboard concerto, Mr. Krugman realizes that he really hasn’t bothered to read Mr. Ryan’s plan. So, he issues a preemptive attack in defense of his own sloppiness. You can read it here. Even the Washington Post can’t stand much more of Krugman’s infantile insults so Ezra Klein responds with this. Infuriated at being abandoned by his liberal buddies at the Post, Krugman fires off his third salvo in two days here.

Once again, Krugman fumes about the lack of a CBO assessment of the tax proposals. He asserts that lack of an assessment makes Rep. Ryan a flim-flammer. Only one teeny weenie problem – the CBO doesn’t score the tax impacts of proposed legislation. The Joint Committee on Taxation does that. Meanwhile, Ryan has asked for just such a scoring. Mr. Krugman would do well to read Megan McArdle’s article in The Atlantic here.

Fundamentally, Krugman doesn’t know what he’s talking about with this. However, as the First Lady parties in Spain and the President lines up his next putt the Fed is getting ready to downgrade its assessment of US economic prospects. Meanwhile, one of Obama’s snarling lap dogs has managed to bite himself three times in two days.

Anyone care to wager whether Krugman admits his mistake?

As for the Washington Post … first, a positive article on Ken Cuccinelli and then an intelligent discussion of Rep. Ryan’s plan? I may have to renew my subscription!

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8 responses to “Battle of the Pauls”

  1. Larry G Avatar

    Ryan – by the way is on the Deficit Commission…

    so do you think there is a good chance that his voodoo supply-side tax policy will get a fair hearing?

    Many of those on the commission have already said that there is no way out without increased taxes so we'll see.

    and yes.. Ryan is at least a thinker about the issues unlike most of his compatriots….

    and yes.. Krugman has morphed into a sharp-tongued attack dog.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    The problem here is not with either Paul. It is with Groveton.

    Shoot the messenger.

    In other words why bother with this message?

    Some time ago, G man praised Rep Ryan. We took the bait and downloaded all of Ryan’s Roadmap (H.R. 6110) and read the whole thing. What a waste! Pure trash. No substance.

    And besides that I did not like it.

    Now this. Again I bit. Looked at all the linked items…

    No substance. Why bother.

    Get serious. Propose something that might work.


  3. Groveton Avatar


    First, one point was to document Paul Krugman's inaccurate argument that Ryan did not have the CBO assess the revenue implications of the proposed Ryan tax reductions. Krugman writes in the NY Times, has a nobel prize and is perceived as infallable by some. However, in three separate posts he makes it clear that he really doesn't understand the process and calls Ryan a flim-flam man based on his misunderstandings.

    Pretty sad commentary on one of the left's leading luminaries of liberal logic.

    One wonders how many other things the Krugster has gotten wrong.

    Second, you don't like the Ryan plan but you don't say why. I am not sure it's a great plan but calling Rep. Ryan a flim – flam man doesn't seem very useful.

    Ryan's plan seems like pretty straight forward Laffler logic with heavy spending cuts. I am hearing a lot of this out of Europe right now.

    Obama's plan is more and more spending, more bailouts and a bigger deficit.

    My problem with Obama's plan is the same problem I had with Roosevelt's plan – it took a 3 year recession and created a 12 year depression. Look at the Lost Decade in Japan – aren't we headed down the same path?

    Ryan's plan may not be perfect but dismissing it as flim flam or calling it "Pure Trash. No substance." seems pretty lame.

    I'd be very happy to hear your legitimate concerns with Rep Ryan's plans.

  4. Larry G Avatar

    Ryans "ideas" are not particularly earth-shattering though.

    He basically says that we must stop the "creep" of entitlements by cutting benefits and increasing the retirement age.

    He wants to give seniors "vouchers" (like Newt Gingrich) suggested on the order of about 5K a year and if they spend it all – too bad… of to the poorhouse or the local ER to get your treatment.

    Everybody and their dog is saying that we need to stop the creep in entitlements.

    They said that back when Clinton was president.

    It's not that Ryan has stumbled onto some elemental truth that the other dunderheads missed because they had their heads up their butts on some such.

    No. We all know what needs to be done – but no one until Obama has the cuts to try something – in part because anyone who messes with any of it is going to end up covered in dog doo….

    On the revenue side – Ryan is parroting supply side voodoo economics and he COULD have ASKED for a 10 year projection instead of a 20 year or gone to a policy tank to get a 20 year but basically he's advocating a change – but let people stay with the older system if they want or switch to a newer tax system – with incentives to do so.

    But Ryan will get a fair hearing on his ideas – with or without Krugman's love.

  5. Groveton Avatar

    My points remain:

    1. Ryan is not a flim-flam man.

    2. The Republicans do have an economic plan.

    3. The CBO does not make revenue projections.

    A more detailed comparison of the Ryan plan vs. the Obama plan might be a good topid for a future column.

  6. Larry G Avatar

    Ryans basic premise on the revenue side is the same as the Republican party and that is that the folks with the most money should pay lower taxes because it is their money that ultimately provides jobs and investment.

    And that's true – I agree with it.

    But anyone who thinks that money stays here in the US and creates opportunity for US workers in our Globalist world is whistling Dixie.

    An honest plan from Ryan and the Republicans would, at the least recognize this as a reality – and perhaps explore preferential tax treatment for investments that directly benefit the US, it's economy and it's workers.

    With the highest rewards (lowest taxes) going to those who created documented US jobs.

    Sometimes I wonder if the Republicans have a higher allegiance to wealth than to the US.

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    Well, Groveton it is quite simple:

    Rep. Ryan puts forward MOS – More of the same.

    It you do not want your great grandchildren living in cave and eating roots you need to turn to and come up with some ideas and or support those who do have ideas. MOS will not cut it.

    As I understand Jim Bacon’s Best Case it is a double dip recession that prompts a broad based commitment to what Dr. Risse calls “Fundamental Transformations.”

    What Florida says is that smart folks need to take advantage of a period like the Long Depression (1873 to 1896) to make a real Reset. What it will take to achieve a sustainable trajectory will make the 90s in Japan look like a walk in the park.

    Channeling Prof. Risse this means:

    Narrowing the Wealth Gap to one based on effort and ability,

    Cutting per capita consumption,

    Stabilizing population (a first step to get Priests to focus their sexual activities on facilitating women taking control of birth rates), and

    The three Fundamental Transformations.

    Anything less will not just be ‘uncivilized’ but ‘decivilizing.’

    To talk about the Ryan particulars is to waste time like debating the number of clowns that can dance on the dias in the Holly City of Richmond.


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