HERITAGE FOUNDATION WANTS YOU TO STOP LAUGHING AT IT…. One of the right’s leading think tanks isn’t having a good week.

After widespread criticism that its analysis of Paul Ryan’s budget was optimistic to the point of absurdity, an author of the Heritage Foundation is admitting to reporters that his numbers may have been a tad off. But he firmly lays the blame at the feet of the CBO, the independent analyst tasked with evaluating the impact of congressional legislation on the budget, for any of his errors.

The most glaring number was Heritage’s unemployment projection, which they saw dropping to 6.4% in 2012 and an unprecedented 2.8% in 2021. In an interview with Slate’s Dave Weigel, the director of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis, William Beach, admitted his study’s figures might strain belief.

“Am I comfortable with a 2.8 unemployment rate?” asked Beach. “It’s pretty low. The model’s predicting a low unemployment rate — that’s how to take it. The thing is that the model stops in 2022. If it had continued into 2022-2031, then the unemployment rate would start to rise again.”

I suppose it’s at least somewhat encouraging that Heritage is embarrassed by the ridicule and its own impossible-to-believe projections, but it’s worth noting that Heritage ran a report yesterday, defending its analysis of the Republican plan. Today, if you visit the exact same page on the Heritage site, the most absurd results have simply been removed.

This, of course, only leads to more ridicule, not less. As Paul Krugman put it:

I mean, really, guys — this is all over the blogosphere; did you really think you could get away with pretending it was never there?

But this does bring back memories: during the Social Security debate, Cato tried to expunge all evidence that it had ever used the word “privatization”, when it was easy to show that its project was originally the Project on Social Security Privatization.

Anyway, you now know what kind of people we’re dealing with.

Remember, Heritage is one of the institutions that’s supposed to provide the GOP with intellectual firepower. So much for that idea.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.