Among those paying close attention to Paul Ryan’s maneuvering of late, it’s sort of predictable if laughable that he’s returned to the ancient conservative chestnut of “dynamic scoring” to square the various circles in his latest tax plan.

Jonathan Chait calls dynamic scoring “magic pixie dust,” and as used by Ryan, that’s pretty accurate. The way I’d define dynamic scoring is that it demands the scorekeepers assume the economic world behaves the way supply-siders thing it does, even though it demonstrably doesn’t. Thus to a considerable extent high-end tax cuts pay for themselves, and also enable policymakers to cut the rest of the population a slice of tasty pie through much smaller tax cuts as well.

But I’ve already used a couple of metaphors here. I would invite readers to come up with their own ways to describe the incredibly convenient world of dynamic scoring, wherein if you assume an ideology is right then the numbers say so, too!

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.