CEPR - Center for Economic and Policy Research


En Español

Em Português

Other Languages

Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Time Magazine Decides to Throw Numbers to the Wind to Promote Representative Ryan

Time Magazine Decides to Throw Numbers to the Wind to Promote Representative Ryan

Thursday, 15 December 2011 14:05

Every budget expert knows that the stories of exploding budget deficits in the tens or hundreds of trillions of dollars (depends how many centuries in the future we wants to count), are driven by our broken health care system. If the United States paid the same amount per person for its health care as other wealthy countries, we would be looking at long-term budget surpluses not deficits. However, people who don't do budget calculations for a living do not generally know that the real story is a broken health care system.

This allows charlatans like Representative Paul Ryan to push nonsense budget plans that mean huge tax cuts for the wealthy, while slashing the programs that low and middle income people depend upon, like Social Security and Medicare. They also know that they can count on innumerate reporters to tout their programs to the sky, since the media is largely controlled by people who also want to see government programs for low and middle and income people slashed.

This is why Time Magazine made Representative Ryan the runner-up for person of the year. He proposed a plan that, according to the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) projections would increase the cost of buying Medicare equivalent policies by $34 trillion over the program's 75-year planning period. Under Representative Ryan's plan, the CBO projections imply by 2050 the cost of buying a Medicare equivalent policy at age 65 will be two-thirds of the median retiree's income. For a person who is 85 the cost will be twice the median retiree's income.

Meanwhile, Representative Ryan proposed massive tax cuts for the country's richest people. Under his proposal, the tax cuts are paid for by the cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and other government programs. The projected deficits are little affected, since the revenue lost to tax cuts is roughly equal to the cuts in government programs.

Representative Ryan's program would imply a massive upward redistribution to the one percent. While Time Magazine holds out the prospect:

"the $15 trillion U.S. economy grows by 3% rather than 2% per year, after a decade that extra percentage point will mean almost $2 trillion extra in the national wallet each year,"

serious people do not listen to such nonsense. There is a vast vast pool of evidence on the impact of tax rates on growth. There is no way that a serious person can use this evidence to conclude that tax reform can have more than a modest impact on growth, and certainly not an increase of one percentage point, unless of course you work for the One Percent.

Comments (7)Add Comment
Its the economy, not the individual
written by nassim sabba, December 15, 2011 1:53
The trickle down theory is correct if we replace the rich by the total economy. Thus when the total economy works well, its effect trickles down and up and sideways. Hence we need to make policies that help the economy, not the rich.
What helps the economy is a healthy population. Healthy, physically, financially, and emotionally, the huge bottom 99.9% will spend a far larger percentage of their income on tangible demands that will sustain the economy.
The only way is to keep those in the 99.9% healthy and financially capable to sustain the economy through their demands. Their demand will create jobs. The top 1% or 0.1% can't demand as much. Investing in derivatives and stocks don't create demand. Capitalism is can only be sustained by demand, which in turn creates jobs.
So, it is better to say that the economy (society) depends on social support programs, not just the middle class and the poor. The latter argument makes such services sound like hand-outs. The fact that we need a healthy and financially robust demand, demands that we support that those who demand.
written by fuller schmidt, December 15, 2011 6:25
Greedy people like Ryan are eternal teenagers.
could it be false equivalences again?
written by trish, December 15, 2011 6:32
OWS and then, "for balance," Paul Ryan as runner-up. Hmmmm.

First, these marketing gimmick/awards are just more of our worthless press's infotainment crap for those with short attention spans and mind-numbed brains that are unable to think critically due to massive amounts of infotainment crap...

And of course there's the press's never ending noble quest for balance never mind the facts.

This may not be a direct false equivalence but Paul Ryan sort of epitomizes the politician-role in all that OWS is protesting, doesn't he: the corporate hackery, the mendacity, hypocrisy, the covert shilling for the elite which has led to the gross inequality.

written by Buddy Boy, December 16, 2011 7:43
Show Time's cover to 100 people without the text and I bet 99 of them would say it is a picture of a terrorist. I doubt Time sees any difference.
written by mel in oregon, December 16, 2011 1:34
time magazine has always been the stupidest publication in the united states. look at some of their person's of the year, kissinger, bush, obama, all stupendously egotistical & also very stupid. inntvo pantaloons."
written by Renate, December 16, 2011 2:19
After decades of tax cuts, low and stagnating wages and salaries and high unemployment it should be clear to all, supply side, trickle down economics does not work. The standard of living will go down by how much, 20%-25%? Empirical evidence tells us, it won't go up.
What motivates these people to do what they do?

written by Renate, December 16, 2011 2:26
Time magazine is promoting the party of psychopaths.

Write comment

(Only one link allowed per comment)

This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comments.


Support this blog, donate
Combined Federal Campaign #79613

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.