Paul Krugman: Paul Ryan Budget Proposal 'Just A Fantasy, Not A Serious Policy Proposal'

Krugman: Paul Ryan's Budget Proposal Is 'Just A Fantasy'

Paul Krugman doesn't think Paul Ryan's budget plan should be taken seriously.

"This is just a fantasy, not a serious policy proposal," Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning Princeton economics professor and New York Times columnist, wrote in a blog post Monday:

Look, Ryan hasn't 'crunched the numbers'; he has just scribbled some stuff down, without checking at all to see if it makes sense. He asserts that he can cut taxes without net loss of revenue by closing unspecified loopholes; he asserts that he can cut discretionary spending to levels not seen since Calvin Coolidge, without saying how; he asserts that he can convert Medicare to a voucher system, with much lower spending than now projected, without even a hint of how this is supposed to work.


He's a hard-core conservative, with a voting record as far right as Michelle Bachman's [sic], who has shown no competence at all on the numbers thing.

Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, announced Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, as his running mate on Saturday. Ryan has led the Republican Party's charge to shrink the size of government, including cutting spending on welfare, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, while slashing taxes for the wealthiest.

Krugman wrote in another blog post published on Monday afternoon that Romney chose Ryan in order to dupe the media into making "Ryan's unjustified reputation for honest wonkery...transfer to the ticket as a whole."

Ryan has been praised as a deficit hawk, but his budget proposal would raise $2.2 trillion less in tax revenue over the next 10 years than President Obama's budget, according to the Washington Post's Brad Plumer. To offset that lost revenue, Ryan also has proposed spending $5.3 trillion less over the same time period, but has not specified exact cuts.

Ryan's budget would slash all federal spending -- outside of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security -- by 70 percent by 2050, perhaps an unrealistic assumption considering that Romney has promised to keep defense spending above those levels, according to Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein.

Ryan also has proposed cutting individual and corporate tax rates and getting rid of taxes on corporate income, capital gains, estates, interest and dividends, according to Bloomberg. Ryan's budget proposal also promised to close tax loopholes, but declined to specify which ones.

Ryan's budget is generous to the wealthiest Americans. Romney, for example, would have paid an effective 0.82 percent tax rate in 2010 under Ryan's budget, thanks to the elimination of the tax on capital gains, the Atlantic's Matthew O'Brien notes.

Check out some of Krugman's best zingers about Paul Ryan below:

Update: This article has been updated to include Krugman's comments on Ryan in a new blog post on Monday.

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