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Paul Krugman Is Depressed by How Very Little Republican Politicians Know

It really does seem that to actually know something about the world leads you to say things that disqualify you from a position of authority in the Republican Party.

Paul Krugman:

Shiny Lazy People: A few further thoughts about the Ryan response to the SOTU... [I]f your whole public act is based on your supposed knowledge of the importance of fiscal responsibility, wouldn’t you long ago have made sure that you actually know something about the fiscal crises now taking place in Europe? But no. I suspect that Ryan is honestly unaware that Ireland, far from being a spendthrift, was seen as a fiscal role model before the crisis. And that’s not hyperbole: in 2006 George Osborne, now Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, declared that

Ireland stands as a shining example of the art of the possible in long-term economic policymaking, and that is why I am in Dublin: to listen and to learn.

And I also suspect that Ryan is honestly unaware that the UK has not, in fact, experienced a debt crisis.

How can he be unaware of these things? The only explanation I have is intellectual laziness — why check the facts when you already believe that you have The Truth?...

Ryan warns that if we don’t deal with our fiscal problems, we’ll have to raise taxes and cut benefits for seniors. So what can we do to reduce the deficit? Well, government spending is dominated by the big 5: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, defense, and interest payments; you can’t make a significant dent in the deficit without either raising taxes or cutting those big 5. Defense is untouchable, says the GOP; so that leaves the entitlement programs. And 2.7 of the three entitlement programs are benefits to seniors (70 percent of Medicaid spending goes on seniors). So let’s see: to avoid cuts in benefits to seniors, we must … cut benefits to seniors.

I’m reasonably sure that Ryan hasn’t thought any of this through.

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