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Paul Ryan Really Snookered Alice Rivlin (and a Lot of Others)

He was supposed to be the sensible technocratic Republican negotiator on the budget. No more. Paul Krugman narrates the dirigible explosion:

Do Do That Voodoo: Paul Ryan gave his big speech... and demonstrated, in case you were wondering, that there’s no there there (and there never was). Remember how everyone declared that Ryan was a serious person, truly willing to face up to our deficit problem? Well, now he’s out there denouncing the way “the budget debate has degenerated into a game of green-eyeshade arithmetic” — in other words, enough with all these numbers. And his answer to the deficit now is that we have to grow our way out.

There’s a name for that: voodoo economics....

Low taxes are the secret to growth, nobody ever solved a deficit problem by raising taxes (Clinton, anyone?). He even denounced austerity. The only original things he had to say, if you can call them that, involved health care costs and monetary policy. On health care costs, he declared that “Our plan is to give seniors the power to deny business to inefficient providers.” Remember, what the plan actually does is hand out vouchers whose value will fall well short of the cost of coverage. So how much power do those Americans who can’t afford decent health insurance have right now in their dealings with providers?...

And then there’s the claim that hard money is the key to growth. Milton Friedman turned over in his grave.

Basically, again, what we’re getting here is standard right-wing voodoo. Ryan turns out to be an empty suit, parroting the usual line. What’s remarkable is that for a year or so this empty suit was hailed — by self-proclaimed centrists as well as the right — as a brilliant, brave champion of fiscal responsibility.