Monday, April 11, 2011

Doing The Math

I have been known to be, how shall I put this, less that fawningly complimentary to Paul Krugman at times. If you read me carefully, I’ve never actually said that he is wrong, merely that his “proof of theory” is sometimes inadequate. In the past week or so he has been dismantling Paul Ryan with great skill and wit, and he has been a delight to read.

He did slightly step in it in a post today when he says of Paul Ryan’s plan that, “I think it’s disingenuous and fraudulent. And the reason I think that is that I have actually done the math.”

Well, that cannot possibly be true. He cannot have “done the math” in Ryan’s plan, because there isn’t any math in Ryan’s plan. I will give Krugman credit for using “artistic license” though, and not call him an idiot. I’m sure he’ll be relieved to hear that.

As an example of what I mean about there being “no math” in the plan, Ryan wants to lower the top tax rate for individuals and corporations to 25% and claims that will be revenue neutral because he will gain revenue by “closing loopholes” and eliminating deductions. He provides absolutely no specifics on what will be eliminated. Not one loophole or deduction which will be eliminated, or the amount that such elimination will generate in revenue, is named in his proposal. How do you “do the math” on that?

You don’t need math to label the plan “disingenuous and fraudulent.”

I’m surprised Ryan didn’t claim that he would balance the entire federal budget by “eliminating waste and fraud” in various departments.

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