Paul Krugman @ New York Times: The FlimFlam Man
So why have so many in Washington, especially in the news media, been taken in by this flimflam? It’s not just inability to do the math, although that’s part of it. There’s also the unwillingness of self-styled centrists to face up to the realities of the modern Republican Party; they want to pretend, in the teeth of overwhelming evidence, that there are still people in the G.O.P. making sense. And last but not least, there’s deference to power — the G.O.P. is a resurgent political force, so one mustn’t point out that its intellectual heroes have no clothes.
But they don’t. The Ryan plan is a fraud that makes no useful contribution to the debate over America’s fiscal future.
Paul Ryan @ Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Krugman’s Detour on ‘Roadmap’ to Solvency
Despite watching European welfare states collapse under the weight of their own debt, those running Washington are leading us down precisely the same path. With the debt surpassing $13 trillion, we can no longer avoid having a serious discussion about how to address the unsustainable growth of government.
Unfortunately, rather than make meaningful contributions to this conversation and bring solutions to the table, Democrats have attempted to win this debate by default. Relying on demagoguery and distortion, the left would prefer that entitlements – often labeled the “third rail” of American politics – remain untouchable, and the column by Paul Krugman of The New York Times is indicative of the partisan attacks leveled against the plan I’ve offered, a “Roadmap for America’s Future.”
By dismissing credible proposals as “flimflam,” critics such as Krugman contribute nothing to the debate. Standing on the sidelines shouting “boo” amounts to condemning our people to a future of managed decline. Absent serious reform, spending on entitlement programs and interest on government debt will consume more and more of the federal budget, resulting in falling standards of living and higher taxes as we try to sustain an ever larger social welfare state.
Weekly Standard: Ryan Rips Krugman: ‘Intellectually Lazy’ and ‘Bizarre’ Attack
Talking late this afternoon with THE WEEKLY STANDARD, Republican congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin blasted New York Times columnist Paul Krugman for his “intellectualy lazy” attack on Ryan’s fiscal “Roadmap.” In his Friday column, Krugman called Ryan a “charlatan” and his plan to reform the welfare state and eliminate the debt a “fraud” that is “drenched in flimflam sauce.” Ryan responded to Krugman in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel over the weekend, and elaborated on his criticisms of Krugman this afternooon.
“I realize he’s a columnist and not a journalist, yet he could have easily tried to have verified his claims with a phone call or an email,” Ryan said of Krugman. “Instead he went with his confusion and chose to impugn motives,” said Ryan, “which strikes me as a very intellectually lazy exercise or style.”
I know it’s more reading than most are used to here in the Assigned Reading section, but I promise that it’s worth it.
So, here’s how it began: First, the New York Times‘ Paul Krugman took to the editorial pages in an attempt to tear down Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan’s fiscal “roadmap.” Then, Ryan responded to Krugman in a weekend commentary in his hometown Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, going almost point-by-point-by-point in response to the various assertions made by Krugman. Funnier yet — considering that Krugman complains that “nobody checks [Ryan's] arithmetic,” take special note of the many occasions in which Ryan points out that Krugman, in making his assertions, apparently never did his own homework.
The two pieces, Krugman’s and Ryan’s, are definitely worth reading, but John McCormack’s Weekly Standard piece (linked above) provides a great, almost collated approach to the to-and-fro between the columnist and the congressman. To be honest, I really don’t even know what else to excerpt — just take my word for it and enjoy the trio of commentaries as a black-and-white example of why Paul Ryan may be perhaps the brightest shining star in today’s new GOP. Read the Krugman piece, read the Ryan piece, then read the Weekly Standard piece. If you’re a policy wonk like myself, and enjoy the day-to-day nitty-gritty of American politics, the whole thing is fantastic. You’ll see the contrast between the empirical and the emotional, you’ll see the left’s reliance on the politics of personality, you’ll see it all.
Furthermore, while you’re at it, take a look at the reaction to the Weekly Standard piece by HotAir’s Allahpundit. His explanation of the personal nature of Krugman’s attacks on Ryan is absolutely spot on:
The only part I don’t get: Near the end, PR seems genuinely perplexed as to why he’s suddenly the target of such nasty personal attacks from PK. Isn’t the answer obvious? It’s the same reason why Chris Matthews went to such pains to make Ryan look unserious and why the DNC is now lumping him in with candidates like Sharron Angle in an attempt to make him seem kooky. According to the Narrative, today’s conservatives are a horde of feral, brainless bigots following whatever primitive impulses their political id generates. Ryan, being both soft-spoken and very intellectually serious about the unsustainability of entitlements, is both a threat to that narrative and to the welfare state itself. As such, frankly, he’s lucky he’s gotten off as easy as he has thus far. Potentially, he’s progressive public enemy number one.