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Posted at 11:42 PM ET, 02/24/2011

Krauthammer falls for the Paul Ryan ruse

By Matt Miller

Et tu, Charles? I've been a Krauthammer fan for ages, quote him often on our public radio show "Left, Right & Center," and have always marveled at Charles's range, erudition and insight. But his Friday column he unfortunately becomes a victim of the biggest hoax pervading Washington -- the illusion that Paul Ryan is a "fiscal conservative."

At the end of Charles's piece today, which contains much I agree with, he pulls the lens back to the bigger picture of the battle of Wisconsin:

We have heard the looming debt a mortal threat to the nation. We have watched Greece self-immolate. We can see the future. The only question has been: When will the country finally rouse itself?

Amazingly, the answer is: now. Led by famously progressive Wisconsin - Scott Walker at the state level and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan at the congressional level - a new generation of Republicans has looked at the debt and is crossing the Rubicon. Recklessly principled, they are putting the question to the nation: Are we a serious people? (italics mine)

Sorry, Charles. The one thing we know from Paul Ryan's "Roadmap for America" -- his claim to fiscal fame -- is that Ryan is fundamentally unserious about the debt. Though few have bothered to look at his plan's details, the CBO analysis Ryan requested shows that the Roadmap does not balance the budget for more than fifty years and incurs, by my small-c conservative estimate, at least $62 trillion in debt between now and then. (I've explained the details elsewhere.) I don't believe that if Charles knew these facts he would have implied that Ryan was "recklessly principled" or "serious."

I didn't start out wanting to be the Ryan Ruse police; I figured anyone who looked closely at his plan would see these facts staring them in the face. But now someone has to do the job, because, as only seems possible in Washington, Ryan's reputation as a "fiscal conservative" is both ubiquitous and demonstrably false.

But don't take my word for it, Charles (though I did work at OMB and know how to add). Ask Ryan to produce his own number for the amount of debt incurred under his Roadmap. Ask Heritage or AEI or CATO to do the same. Ask Sarah Palin if she realizes that the plan she endorsed in the Wall Street Journal last December adds at least $62 trillion to the debt and doesn't balance the budget until her daughter Bristol is in her 70s.

Watch this space for more victims of the Ryan Ruse. With your help, we can eradicate this scourge in our time, and get the honest debate on our fiscal future we desperately need.

By Matt Miller  | February 24, 2011; 11:42 PM ET
Categories:  Miller  | Tags:  Matt Miller  
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Yes, you are right. Pseudo-conservatives or Banana Republicans are better monikers for yooz guyz!

As for the Ruse term you uze, looking for the ruse is the key to understanding everything Republicans. Wherever all the yelling and fussing is, somewhere right under your noze the good old boyz have already stolen the peanut out of the shell game!!!!!

Champagne wishes and caviar dreams. Leave a little to steal tomorrow!!!

Posted by: gradya3 | February 25, 2011 1:05 AM | Report abuse

Ryan dumps social security and medicare/medicaid - trusting in vouchers and such - increases middle class taxes, lowers corporate and higher income taxes - of course he gets rid of the estate tax so as to stay on the right side of the billionaires - and after the above is accomplished we still run deficits and add to the debt. That's the future GOP-TP see for us - no unions, lower wages, lower benefits, elimination of the minimum wage, elimination of OSHA/EPA/Mine safety, and anything else that restrains big biz - which will make billions and pay no taxes at all - from doing what they please, when they please, how they please. Frankly, that isn't an appealing future for me. Just look at who is contributing to his coffers and backing him in their think tanks and you'll see who his "friends" are that he represents. And if you share their vision then vote for them. For me, the future they strive for is a dystopia.

Posted by: WiseUpAmerica | February 25, 2011 8:40 AM | Report abuse

For about 40 years after WWII, working Americans, that is those people who actually add value to our economy, were given for the first time in our history a fair share of the Nation's wealth. That's how we got the largest middle class of all undustrialized countries.
What Ryan Paul and other so-called Conservatives are attempting to do now is to roll back this achievement and create a nation of paupers ruled by a superrich upper class, similar to South America and many third world countries.
We are in economic trouble not because of money spent on the needs of our citizens but because for 60 years we as a nation have lived beyond our means. Under the illusion of saving other countries from Communism and other dictatorships, we have squandered our wealth on needless military expenditures and on counter productive wars. That started with Korea, later Vietnam and now, to top it off, two completely stupid wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In order to keep the ruling class happy, we cut taxes and so had to finance our adventures by borrowing from our enemies. If Congress succeeds in pushing through the cutbacks in services the economy will collapse in no time. The only solution is to stop wasting so much money on military adventures. We have become as militarized as Prussia used to be. And yes, luxuries like the space program may also have to be cut back.

Posted by: schumann-bonn | February 25, 2011 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Sadly, most of these misguided libertarians and conservatives have not learned the lessons of history, not even modern history. Their approach to economic reform, based on tax cuts for the corporatocracty and the wealthy elites are precisely what caused the economy of Ireland to collapse.

No real attempt to balance budgets can happen without fundamental tax reforms, including big tax increases on the wealthy and high-income earners, and removal of subsidies to the oil companies and agro-businesses. Of-course, some spending areas must also be addressed, especially defence and homeland security, particularly where these areas are outsourced to the private sector.

Posted by: r_hzka | February 25, 2011 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Yup. The 'River Ryan-con' has an undercurrent, an underlying theme to it.
... It ... sounds like : "Things go better with Koke".

Posted by: deepthroat21 | February 25, 2011 9:17 AM | Report abuse

If Mr. Miller could count to 10 without using his fingers, I would take the time to read this entire article.
The problem with Mr. Miller and all other radical liberal elite Democrats is that unless they have a CPA paid for with money from "We the People", they have not a clue.

Posted by: rteske | February 25, 2011 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Most conservatives are enamored with Rep. Ryan's Social Security proposal allowing private accounts for people under 55. There are three major flaws with this proposal:
1. the transition costs to fund these accounts while still paying current recipients is in the trillions of dollars.
2. the plan calls for government run investment accounts, so government bureaucrats will be making decisions about which private companies get debt and equity financing for their operations.
3. the plan's guarantees against downside investment risk will make the 2008-2009 financial rescue look like peanuts during the next major market downturn.

The upfront costs are too high, it is socialist when it is running smoothly, and creates a major risk of bankrupting the country.

But other than that is sounds great.

Posted by: stichmo | February 25, 2011 9:36 AM | Report abuse

It too bad the left doesn't want to look at its part of the destruction of the middle class, supporting every stupid idea to expand the welfare state and flood the country with immigrants from mthe third world. How do you think the unions were so easily broken if the companies couldn't find illegals to work for them? How do you think the welfare rolls never came down, we always replenished them with low skill immigrants. How do you think the schools became so dumbed down that the "answer" always was hire more teachers to lower class size, filling them up with ESL students. The list goes on and on.

Posted by: mwoss | February 25, 2011 10:11 AM | Report abuse

The moral of this story is that cuts have to be made. NOW! Portraying Ryan as a fiscal non-conservative is classic finger pointing at its best - hey they're doing the same thing we are - so we're OK. The sweetheart union deals have to stop if you give the slightest iota of crap about this country and where our debt is headed. Our "Leader and Chief" could care less since he and his family are good to go for the rest of their lives. What's worse - he's an outright liar about it. As usual, you resort to calling out Republican vs Democrat as the issue. Stick to the content of the issue - in this case fiscal responsibility. Let's grow some of that - we all need it.

Posted by: gary928 | February 25, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

So, despite the obvious problem, you would rather take no action towards resolving it?
Apparently OMB trained you in analysis paralysis.

Easy to sit back and criticize - tell us your plan given you clearly view yourself as a financial wizard. I look forward to the column.

Posted by: michaelcorcoran | February 25, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

schumann-bonn, Your first paragraph is correct; the rest is balderdash. The era you talk about was back when it wasn't fashionable to be on welfare or unemployment. A huge majority of Americans were contributing economic fuel to the capitalism engine that took this country to its greatest heights. Now we have more than 50% of our population living off of the system. Hopefully there will be a vigorous look at where we are spending trillions of dollars to keep a perpeptual minimum wage class in existence. When I was growing up, welfare and unemployment were meant to be safety nets; not a generational career.

Posted by: nosuchluck | February 25, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Charles Lane says Gabby Giffords would agree with Paul Ryan.

Posted by: tjtucker | February 25, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Most unusual for sure! The ship is sinking and the captain of the ship non-shalantly does a shout-out, "Hey, don't worry. Ever-thingall-be ok"; while he continues to shoot holes in the ship.

Energy prices are "mushrooming" to unheard of prices while this regime sits on its gluteus maximus waiting on some sort of alternative energy to save the day.

I suggest that when wind power makes a serious debut; put Obama, Reed, and Pelosi in front of the windmill and just let the "blowhards" spew their hot air. That should supply enough windpower through 2012.

"Drill baby, DRILL!!" While the rest of the world is laughing at us in wonderment, we continue to sit on millions of gallons of oil that could help rich and poor alike.

Protect the Environment? Don't worry. If this regime continues on its present course, there won't be any environment to worry about. Real GLOBAL WARMING will take care of the environment as 1000s of ILLEGAL ILLEGAL ILLEGAL(let me repeat) ILLEGAL immigrants pour into our country.
Many of these are ready to "warm the globe" with nuclear explosions that should take care of environmental worries for many years to come.

But, "Hey, don't worry bout it, it'll be OK". Yeah! Keep on dreaming and maybe one day your arrogance, pompousity, and "know-it-all" attitude will be unmercifully humbled beyond recognition.

This regime can't even protect its citizens. Other countries have already evacuated their citizens from Libya; but not us. What happened to the ships we used to keep in that area? Our folks could be home by now. So now, Obama has to be "tight-lipped" about what he says to keep our folks out of harms way.

It's about time for this Great Country to wake up and get serious about what's happening. I think most Americans realize what a mess we're in, and we're hoping our "leadership" might realize the same. Seems all they can do is continue to divide the country and call each other names just like schoolyard kids.

Marching with HITLER SIGNS is not the way to come together. Politicians should be setting an example. No, instead one politican advises the folks to "get bloody in the streets", and then apologizes. It's getting to be where folks are getting tired of the mispeaking followed by apologies. If you're such an utter idiot to be using this type of incendiary language, you don't belong in any kind of leadership role. Go back to the back alley where you belong.

Let's come together folks. No more special deals just to get votes. No more misrepresenting your position just to get votes. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT THE TRUTH. WE DEMAND HONEST PEOPLE IN POSITIONS OF LEADERSHIP. If we don't, we are in grave danger of losing our Great Country to people we don't even know.

And if I may improvise on the old cliche, "If you don't like this country, then get your gluteus-maximus out. If you don't like this country, please don't come here". Most of us who are here recognize it for what it is and "LOVE IT".

Posted by: cbthirtynine | February 25, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

"Stick to the content of the issue - in this case fiscal responsibility. Let's grow some of that - we all need it."

No matter how you try to paint it, it's not "fiscally responsible" to add 62 trillion dollars to the national debt and plan for it to finally be paid off well after you're dead, mostly off the backs of your children and grandchildren. Miller is right - Ryan's roadmap is the antithesis of fiscal responsibility. What credit card company allows you to defer paying off your bill till after you're dead?

"So, despite the obvious problem, you would rather take no action towards resolving it?"

We'd absolutely like to take some action - serious action, that involves far more personal sacrifice than folks like you are willing to contemplate. Entitlement reform, in other words, AND raising personal income tax rates on more well-heeled taxpayers.

What YOU'D like, on the other hand, is for your tax rates to be lowered no matter how much debt we still have to pay off, while everyone else's entitlements are cut and the debt problem gets resolved by your kids and grandkids, as per Representative Ryan's "roadmap".

Posted by: mjabele | February 25, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

How great it would be if a "couple more" of the party members of ANY persuasion actually understood the principles of the philosophy they are touting or ANYTHING about government. There are so many gullibles these days who don't have a CLUE about their government or the legislative process at all. I know MANY in my area who earn minimal incomes and are currently or have recently depended on the unemployment compensation benefits the Republicans voted AGAINST at least twice, but the STILL continue to vote AGAINST themselves and FOR the party of the Billionaires and multi-millionaires! They get almost orgasmic when any anti-Democrat legislation passes in the House at the federal OR the State level because they don't understand an iota about the process. A bill's only passing in the House is as impotent as passing gas! How VERY sad for this country that HALF of the MiddleClass income people are so poorly educated they actually vote AGAINST every policy that benefits their lives and the lives of their loved ones because they never bother to watch the ultimate outcomes of their votes.

Posted by: Maerzie | February 25, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Golly, it's almost like we didn't HAVE a balanced budget in 1999, and all these machinations will take DECADES to work through.

Oh, wait, we DID have a balanced budget in 1999. Will it really take us decades of concerted, careful effort to get back there? On second thought, let's let the Bush tax-cuts expire, end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, let the ACA take effect, then see where we are.

Posted by: AllanL5 | February 25, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

And what we have here is the "MILLER RUSE". While condemning Ryan's plan due to it's length in time in solving the 'problem' - he does not offer the opposing solution from the Democrats? Endless deficits, does not address any of the 'entitlement' mentality - until America's fiscal ruin?

But what all admits is - we have a fiscal problem - we have a deficit problem - and Obama's solution - more debt.

Sorry Matt - but WE The People - no longer buy into the "collective" like the Borg in Star Trek. We will not be assimilated and resistance is most definitely not futile - ala Wisconsin - Indiana - Ohio - ultimately fixes in NY - we will win back our Government...ala the November 2010 elections. (Just why Matt did not the dems submit a budget in October 2010? cause had they - it would have shown the additional 1.6 trillion deficit and instead of a 63 seat loss - it would have been a 163 seats. A slaughter. The cowards.

Posted by: short1 | February 25, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

He fell for "Ryan Nothing" because he is a very thin thinker.....very thin. Plus he simply is a party one on the left would take this guy seriously under any condition.

Posted by: mmuoio | February 25, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

"Krauthammer falls for the Paul Ryan ruse"

What ruse? Republicans say that by adopting Ryan's "RoadMap" they will balance the budget in "SIXTY YEARS"!!
What more could Americans ask for?

Using Ryan's plan I will refinance the car I bought in 2004 have it paid off by 2025.

Of course the interest I'll pay on the refi could pay for 2-3 new cars but what the heck if it works for republicans and Ryan it should be a good plan for all Americans.

Posted by: knjincvc | February 25, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Robert Reich | Wednesday 16 February 2011
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican presidential hopeful, says in order to “save” Social Security the retirement age should be raised. The media are congratulating him for his putative “courage.” Deficit hawks are proclaiming Social Security one of the big entitlements that has to be cut in order to reduce the budget deficit.
This is all baloney.
In a former life I was a trustee of the Social Security trust fund. So let me set the record straight.
Social Security isn’t responsible for the federal deficit. Just the opposite. Until last year Social Security took in more payroll taxes than it paid out in benefits. It lent the surpluses to the rest of the government.
Now that Social Security has started to pay out more than it takes in, Social Security can simply collect what the rest of the government owes it. This will keep it fully solvent for the next 26 years.
But why should there even be a problem 26 years from now? Back in 1983, Alan Greenspan’s Social Security commission was supposed to have fixed the system for good – by gradually increasing payroll taxes and raising the retirement age. (Early boomers like me can start collecting full benefits at age 66; late boomers born after 1960 will have to wait until they’re 67.)
Greenspan’s commission must have failed to predict something. But what? It fairly accurately predicted how quickly the boomers would age. It had a pretty good idea of how fast the US economy would grow. While it underestimated how many immigrants would be coming into the United States, that’s no problem. To the contrary, most new immigrants are young and their payroll-tax contributions will far exceed what they draw from Social Security for decades.
So what did Greenspan’s commission fail to see coming?

Humm out of room

Posted by: knjincvc | February 25, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Robert Reich | Budget Baloney

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Support Truthout today by clicking here.
Remember, the Social Security payroll tax applies only to earnings up to a certain ceiling. (That ceiling is now $106,800.) The ceiling rises every year according to a formula roughly matching inflation.
Back in 1983, the ceiling was set so the Social Security payroll tax would hit 90 percent of all wages covered by Social Security. That 90 percent figure was built into the Greenspan Commission’s fixes. The Commission assumed that, as the ceiling rose with inflation, the Social Security payroll tax would continue to hit 90 percent of total income.
Today, though, the Social Security payroll tax hits only about 84 percent of total income.
It went from 90 percent to 84 percent because a larger and larger portion of total income has gone to the top. In 1983, the richest 1 percent of Americans got 11.6 percent of total income. Today the top 1 percent takes in more than 20 percent.
If we want to go back to 90 percent, the ceiling on income subject to the Social Security tax would need to be raised to $180,000.
Presto. Social Security’s long-term (beyond 26 years from now) problem would be solved.
So there’s no reason even to consider reducing Social Security benefits or raising the age of eligibility. The logical response to the increasing concentration of income at the top is simply to raise the ceiling.
Not incidentally, several months ago the White House considered proposing that the ceiling be lifted to $180,000. Somehow, though, that proposal didn’t make it into the President’s budget.

Source URL:

Posted by: knjincvc | February 25, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

maerzie that was such an eloquent rant. You added so much insight to the process you so understand that we don't. SOmebody in this chain said it best - use to be welfare and handouts were the last resort - not a lifestyle.
And mj... why is raising taxes your only solution? At some point there simply is no more income left to tax? It's the spending that needs to be reigned in. Wouldn't it be nice if every time I overspend my checking account, I get to add more direct deposit dollars to cover the deficit. When do I realize that maybe I should stop buying things. Ans. immediately if it was my money but since it's the taxpayers pot, your answer appears to be never.

Posted by: gary928 | February 25, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

How to balance the budget:

1) Undo everything Bush did

Posted by: LeoNoVA | February 25, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Baloney Alert: Warning Warning, Will Robinson...

Posted by: RichNomore | February 25, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

If Robert Reisssschhh, was a trustee of the Soc. Sec. administration, WE have a few questions for him, who had the key to the lock-box fund while he was trusteeing??? And why didn't he say something when he saw the last of the fund sucked out???

Posted by: RichNomore | February 25, 2011 5:07 PM | Report abuse

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