So there seems to be a little bit of a controversy surrounding one of my favorite Republican Congressmen... Paul Ryan. Last week, Paul Krugman attacked Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future v2.0" as "leftovers from the 1990s drenched in flimflam sauce." I'm not sure exactly what's in flimflam sauce, but I assume that like McDonald's Secret Sauce, it's really just Thousand Island Dressing.
Krugman then goes on to complain that Ryan has not gone to the right sources for any scoring or verification on his claims. Ryan has now responded in an op-ed in the Journal, correcting Krugman on his incorrect claims. I'll let you read both Paul's yourself and decide who has the correct take on the fiscal impact on the Roadmap for America's Future, because I want to concentrate on a different aspect to this particular controversy.
While Krugman calls Ryan a charlatan and claims that Ryan's numbers are fraudulent, I believe that Ryan is actually a charlatan because were Ryan given the opportunity to vote for his own plan, given his past voting on fiscal measures, he would actually vote against it. I know I seem like a broken record on this, but that's because everyone continues to ignore Ryan's voting history.
Let's start with the fact that the Roadmap for America's Future has been revised to version 2.0. One of the reasons why the revision was required was because in the time between version 1 and version 2, significant new spending was passed by Congress which totally destroyed all the base numbers in version 1. Among those new spending increases were the auto bailout and TARP. Both of which were supported by Ryan.
Even worse is Ryan's flip flop on Medicare. If you read the Roadmap, he talks very bluntly about the need to control Medicare spending, and how it's an entitlement which has grown out of control. What Ryan never says, is that he voted for the largest increase to the Medicare entitlement since it was originally enacted... Medicare Part D. In other words, he helped to create the very problem that he now wants to solve. How generous of him.
And while the Roadmap does have a pretty website, we still don't know if it will become an actual budget proposal that could... you know... actually get voted on. Republicans are pushing this harder and harder right now as the November mid-term elections get closer, but people should be very worried about a GOP Bait-and-Switch here. When ObamaCare was in it's full push, one of the Republican talking points was that Medicare would be cut, and that they would protect it. This is one of the worst examples of GOP political opportunism. When ObamaCare was going to touch Medicare, they saw it as a chance to scare the elderly and to block it. Now that Medicare as seen as a weapon in the budget, they want to control Medicare spending. Given that its nearly impossible to cut programs in the Federal government, especially one that the elderly depend on, does anyone actually think the GOP will back this plan?
Now then, I wouldn't put it past the GOP to flip-flop again if they manage to regain control of Congress in November, but the reality is that the GOP has a poor track record on following through on it's promises of fiscal conservatism once it actually gains power (see 2000-2006 for proof). Just looking at Ryan's own voting record should cast the legitimacy of the Roadmap into doubt. So while Krugman's analysis of the numbers may be wrong, his labeling of Paul Ryan is not. I'll wait until the Roadmap to America's future is pushed by someone who doesn't have a record of creating fiscal problems in government before supporting it.
The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent
my employer's view in anyway.