The New York Times Spent $40 Million for This?
Marcy Wheeler: Has Anybody Ever Seen James O'Keefe and Bill Keller in the Same Place at the Same Time?

James Fallows on the Cowardly and Frivolous Paul Ryan

JF:

The Brave and Serious Mr. Ryan: [I]f asked to choose an adjective to describe the budget plan presented by Rep. Paul Ryan, I would suggest "partisan" or "gimmicky," as opposed to "serious" or "brave."... [I]t's worth mentioning because so much of the pundit-sphere (excluding the Atlantic's Derek Thompson) has received the plan as a dramatic step forward in clear thinking about our fiscal future I think this view is wrong, and that we'll look back on this episode mainly to marvel at what it shows about pundit-world swoon (Paul Krugman's mot juste today), and about clever policy marketing by Ryan, rather than for what it clarifies about budgetary realities....

[I]n a "for the record" spirit....

  1. A plan to deal with budget problems that says virtually nothing about military spending is neither brave nor serious....
  2. A plan that proposes to eliminate tax loopholes and deductions, but doesn't say what any of those are, is neither brave nor serious....
  3. A plan that exempts from future Medicare cuts anyone born before 1957 -- about a quarter of the population, which includes me -- is neither brave nor serious....
  4. A plan to reconcile revenue and spending, which rules out axiomatically any conceivable increase in tax rates, is neither brave nor serious....
  5. A plan to reduce the federal deficit by granting big tax reductions to the highest-income Americans, at a time when their tax rates are very low by historic standards and and their share of the national income is extremely high, and when middle-class job creation is our main economic challenge, is neither brave nor serious....
  6. A plan that identifies rising health-care costs as the main problem in public spending, but avoids altogether the question of how to contain those costs, is neither brave nor serious....
  7. A plan that reduces, among other things, research on future energy sources and technologies by about 85% may be "brave," but it's also crazy and short-sighted.

Comments