And as for that “once-unimaginable accomplishment” of balancing the budget in a decade, the LAT writers do wryly note that “Ryan also counts taxes and savings from the president’s healthcare law, while promising to repeal it.” But they don’t capture just how much budgetary hand-waving Ryan relies on to achieve that goal—or pause to consider whether it should be a top goal at all. Nor do they, like most others, note that the Ryan plan lacks a lot of specifics, what Robert Reich, the Clinton-era Labor secretary calls “magic asterisks.”
At the Post’s Wonkblog, meanwhile, Evan Soltas provided a wide-ranging, link-heavy roundup that showed evidence of actually reading and analyzing the plan. A useful chart by Dylan Matthews shows where Ryan would most aggressively swing the budget ax (watch out, Medicaid).
And a post by blog chieftain Ezra Klein on “Five huge things we still don’t know about Paul Ryan’s budget” stated plainly what many news reports missed, or at least failed to emphasize, about the vagaries in the latest Ryan proposal.
Klein writes that:
Making matters more difficult is that Ryan’s tax-reform targets—which have been downgraded in this budget to mere “goals”— are deeply implausible, requiring, in the estimation of experts I’ve spoken to, at least $5 trillion in offsets. If Ways and Means cheats by passing a tax reform that is, in reality, a large tax cut, suddenly Ryan’s budget might actually be a huge deficit-buster.
And later adds:
…much of Ryan’s budget boils down to, “trust me,” or at least, “trust the House Republican Conference.” Without the details on tax reform, there’s no way for us to verify that the tax and spending sides of the budget really add up.
The downside to the Wonkblog’s strong work? Much of it never appears in the print version of The Washington Post
Follow @USProjectCJR for more posts from this author and the rest of the United States Project team.
More in United States ProjectRead More »