Let’s not revisit Herman Cain’s “9-9-9” foolishness. Let’s instead consider what House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) thinks of it.

“We need more bold ideas like this because it is specific and credible,” Ryan said. “I’m more of a flat-tax kind of a guy.”

The budget chairman went on to say that ideas like Cain’s plan could help shape the debate over tax reform moving into 2013.

“It’s great to see such bold ideas,” Ryan told TheDC.

Look, tax policy can be complex, and separating good ideas from bad is often challenging, but this “9-9-9” approach is just silly. It raises taxes on the lower- and middle-classes a lot; it would cause the deficit to spiral to new depths; it would make it more expensive for businesses to hire workers; and it would give the rich a massive tax cut they don’t need.

And that’s just given the general outline — Herman Cain, who doesn’t take public policy especially seriously, hasn’t offered much in the way of substantive details, including the independent analysis of his plan he claims exists, but refuses to share. One of Cain’s own economic advisers conceded this week it’s not a plan he would have picked.

Ryan sees all of this and calls Cain’s nonsense “bold,” “specific,” and “credible”?

My larger point here isn’t that Cain has a dumb plan. Rather, the key takeaway here is that Paul Ryan just isn’t to be taken seriously. I realize much of the political establishment — especially reporters — considers the right-wing Wisconsinite some kind of genius, but I’m not sure how much more it will take to convince them he’s not the wiz they perceive him to be.

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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.