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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press The NYT Reports on Paul Ryan's Presidential Ambitions and Flat Earthers' Plan for Astronomy Department

The NYT Reports on Paul Ryan's Presidential Ambitions and Flat Earthers' Plan for Astronomy Department

Thursday, 21 April 2011 04:33

The NYT somehow thinks that it's good journalism not to point out that people who say that the earth is flat are wrong. How else can one explain the fact that it reports on Representative Paul Ryan's presidential ambitions (or lack thereof) and notes in passing that he has different views on how to constrain health care costs and promote growth than President Obama.

Representative Ryan's views on both topics have been tested and shown to be wrong. The government run Medicare program is far more effective in constraining costs than the private sector. This is why the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that adopting Representative Ryan's plan would add $30 trillion to the cost of buying Medicare equivalent plans over Medicare's 75-year planning horizon.

This is not the sum transferred from the government to beneficiaries. It is the increase in total costs -- waste to the government, income to insurers and health care providers. This $30 trillion figure is approximately 6 times the size of the projected Social Security shortfall. It comes to almost $100,000 for every man, woman, and child in the country.

We also have had ample opportunity to test Representative Ryan's other main theme, that lower taxes are necessary to boost growth. President Reagan had large tax cuts in the 80s. This was the worst decade for growth in the post-war period until the last decade when President Bush had another big round of tax cuts. This is why CBO projects that tax cuts do not pay for themselves and will lead to deficits that will be a drag on growth.

Given the overwhelming weight of the evidence, the NYT is misleading readers when it reports that:

"And Mr. Ryan is making a counter case — tax cuts are needed to stir economic growth, and Medicare is on an unsustainable path — as he travels through towns like North Prairie, Delavan and Clinton, population 2,162."

The reporter should know that Mr. Ryan's case does not make sense and should not imply to readers that it does.


Comments (3)Add Comment
Under Ayn Rand Objectivism, the Earth is Flat
written by izzatzo, April 21, 2011 5:29
According to Paul Ryan's favorite 'economist', there's only one reality and a flat earth is not excluded. From Wikipedia:

Objectivism is a philosophy defined by the Russian-American philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand (1905–1982). Objectivism holds that reality exists independent of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive and deductive logic, that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness or rational self-interest, that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights, embodied in laissez faire capitalism, and that the role of art in human life is to transform man's widest metaphysical ideas, by selective reproduction of reality, into a physical form—a work of art—that he can comprehend and to which he can respond emotionally.
written by joe, April 21, 2011 7:47
There are currently 130.738 million payroll jobs in the U.S. (as of March 2011). There were 130.781 million payroll jobs in January 2000. So that is over eleven years with no increase in total payroll jobs. A decade after cutting taxes on the "small businesses" like Bechtel, still no jobs created.

Real per capita GDP has grown .65% a year since the Bush tax cuts went into effect. The population increased .94% a year. 60% of the real economic growth is due to population increase. Supply side economics should be about opening the borders to immigrants rather than tax cuts.

Conservative and Wrong is Taken as a Positive in US
written by Hugh Sansom, April 21, 2011 1:29
The NYT position on Paul Ryan reminds me of responses in the past 24 hours to David Cameron's nixing of Gordon Brown for head of the IMF. There are a million reasons to oppose Gordon Brown for anything -- mainly that, like most Labor MPs today, he's more Tory than Labor. But Cameron opposes him for not supporting greater fiscal austerity -- this despite conclusive proof of months of UK decline with Cameron/Tory fiscal austerity.

The thing is: Conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic are utterly indifferent to matters of fact. The New York Times is only slightly less so.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.