Battle of the Paul's

That's Paul Ryan Paul vs. Paul Krugman
(Oops.  Very sorry.  Maybe my jet lag made me dyslexic.  If it's any consolation, a lot of people call me Robert instead of Michael).

Krugman says Paul Ryan's Paul's math doesn't add up.  Math (and facts) don't usually matter in political debates, and I suspect that is true here as well.  But on factual grounds I'd say the second guy with the given name Paul has utterly eviscerated the other.

The budget situation isn't complicated.  It's mainly about medicare and taxes. In the long run we have to cut one, increase the other, or some balance of these two. Obama's health care bill has possibly made some modest gains on the Medicare side of things.  We'll see.  The rest is chump change.

Now Libertarians and most Republicans most of the time are for much larger cuts in Medicare, or even dismantling Medicare altogether.  This is one way to cut spending for real.  But since it isn't politically popular to say that, they often disguise these positions.

The problem is, we just can't have honest policy debates when blatant lies are called "intellectually audacious" and receive glowing, uncritical coverage by the Washington Post.

Just sayin'.


  1. Or, similarly stated, "we just can't have honest policy debates when blatant"..biasedness and closed mindedness hidden behind the label "nobel laureate", "are called "intellectually audacious" and receive glowing, uncritical coverage by the New York Times.

    Just sayin'.

  2. Jacob,

    Krugman is pretty specific in his criticisms. You are not.

    Sorry, but Mr. Ryan is all wet here.


  4. Jacob,

    I'm not impressed with the specifics in that article either.

    Krugman's facts are clear and Ryan (still) has presented no defense for his vast distortions of what his plan really represents: (1) shifting of the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle class; (2) deep cuts in medicare, with dubious effects on efficiency; (3) substantial yet unspecified cuts in discretionary spending; (4) no change in the prospective deficit.

    Maybe there is some merit to certain aspects of his proposal. But whatever merit there may be, he's not being honest about the big picture and the fact his plant does not solve--in any conceivable way shape--the problems he says it solves.

    Academics don't typically use artful labels like "flimflam sauce", and frankly this makes me squirm a little too. But you know, Krugman did his homework and the facts he's presented are clear and well documented.

    You may not like Krugman's politics but he is backing up his positions with a lot more substance than his detractors. It would be nice--I would really love to see--arguments as sound and intellectually honest coming from the other side. Right now they don't exist.

  5. touche'..2 things:

    1) I (contrary to what may seem due to my posts) don't come here to rag on your opinions..I really like the econ stuff you post, and take time to read it and check out any related links I can find, or sometimes the related literature.

    2) however, I (as you would correctly presume) don't agree with krugman's politics. But there are lots of people whose politics I don't agree with. I just think that krugman has the ability to back up his opinions with sound logic, and also to think along less partisan lines. However, he does not USUALLY take advantage of this and often uses elementary and partisan arguments to back his claims. Then, because he's "the great paul krugman", gets quoted every other day as if he said something intelligent..keep up the good work on the blog, but I just can't agree with you on krugman

  6. Jacob,

    Krugman isn't just an economist; he's a columnist and is happy to wear his politics on his sleeve. He's not trying to be balanced or objective and doesn't claim to be.

    But even if you don't agree with him, he's good to read. He makes good and very clear arguments that are factually and economically based. He's always got a model in the back of his head that he uses to form his positions. That's hard to find in the punditry out there. He's famous because he's good.

    For my part, I, like Krugman, really hate bad reporting. I kind of expect politicians to be less that fully honest about their policy proposals, but then I expect the press to clear up obvious flibs. It gets particularly bad in certain cases, like "rising star" politicians, because if a reporter kisses in the all the right places, the reporter thinks it may given him/her that special access to make the big scoop when, say, Paul Ryan announces his run for the Presidency.


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