Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Gerson on the Ryan "Plan"

Michael Gerson's column today is a typical display of weak thinking and water-carrying. I'll mostly defer to Steve Benen for the response.

I think it's worth adding one more thing, though: Gerson is flat-out wrong when he argues that the CBO projects that Ryan's budget proposal "eventually achieves a balanced budget". In fact, the CBO was asked by Ryan to ignore his actual tax proposals and assume that they would generate 19 percent of GDP in taxes.
But, and this caveat is a whopper, CBO assumed this wonderful outcome would occur only if the revenue portion of Ryan’s plan generated 19 percent of GDP in taxes. And there is not the slightest evidence that would happen. Even though Ryan’s plan has a detailed tax component, his staff asked CBO to ignore it. Rather than estimate the true revenue effects of the Ryan plan, CBO simply assumed, as the lawmaker requested, that it would generate revenues of 19 percent of GDP.
If Ryan isn't willing to take his own tax proposals seriously, even if we ignore his historic preference to blow the roof of the budget, why should we regard him as something other than an opportunist who doesn't even believe his own words?

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