Ryan’s numbers don’t add up

RYAN’S NUMBERS DON’T ADD UP…. Paul Krugman this morning summarizes the problem nicely: “Gosh. For a plan that supposedly sets a new standard of seriousness, Paul Ryan’s vision depends an awful lot on unicorn sighting — belief in the impossible…. This isn’t a serious proposal; it’s a strange combination of cruelty and insanely wishful thinking.”

The media that jumped to embrace the House GOP budget plan probably should’ve waited a day.

For example, the CBO has reviewed the preliminary Republican proposal, and it’s telling the House majority what it doesn’t want to hear.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s initial analysis of the House GOP budget released today by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is filled with nuggets of bad news for Republicans.

In addition to acknowledging that seniors, disabled and elderly people would be hit with much higher out-of-pocket health care costs, the CBO finds that by the end of the 10-year budget window, public debt will actually be higher than it would be if the GOP just did nothing.

Under the so-called “extended baseline scenario” — a.k.a. projections based on current law — debt held by the public will grow to 67 percent of GDP by 2022. Under the GOP plan, public debt would reach 70 percent of GDP in the same window.

In other words, the spending cuts Republicans would realize in the first 10 years would be outpaced by deficit increasing tax-cuts, which Ryan also proposes.

Got that? The Ryan plan to reduce the budget shortfall would create more debt over the next decade, not less.

What’s more, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has said repealing the Affordable Care Act would increase the deficit considerably. Paul Ryan’s plan says repealing the ACA would reduce the deficit by $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years. And how does he reach this conclusion? No one knows; he refuses to say.

Ryan’s growth projections are literally laughable. His “dynamic” scoring of taxes is absurd. His reliance on dubious spending “caps” is very hard to take seriously.

I have problems with the Republican plan because of its ideological crusade, the punishment it imposes on the middle class, and its eagerness to lavish benefits on those who don’t need them. But putting all of that aside, the even more straightforward issue with this radical scheme is that the numbers don’t add up. It makes ridiculous assumptions based on bizarre projections.

For all the media hype, this isn’t an example of “seriousness.” It’s the opposite.