Paul Ryan: Paul Krugman's a lazy dishonest hack, isn't he?

I’m paraphrasing. Very slightly.

Talking late this afternoon with THE WEEKLY STANDARD, Republican congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin blasted New York Times columnist Paul Krugman for his “intellectualy lazy” attack on Ryan’s fiscal “Roadmap.” In his Friday column, Krugman called Ryan a “charlatan” and his plan to reform the welfare state and eliminate the debt a “fraud” that is “drenched in flimflam sauce.” Ryan responded to Krugman in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel over the weekend, and elaborated on his criticisms of Krugman this afternooon. Follow the link up top and read the Standard’s whole account of Ryan’s rebuttal to

“I realize he’s a columnist and not a journalist, yet he could have easily tried to have verified his claims with a phone call or an email,” Ryan said of Krugman. “Instead he went with his confusion and chose to impugn motives,” said Ryan, “which strikes me as a very intellectually lazy exercise or style.”

Krugman attacked Ryan for not having the Congressional Budget Office officially score how much revenue his Roadmap would generate. An analysis by the Tax Policy Center, a left-leaning Brookings/Urban Institute project, showed that Ryan’s tax reforms would not generate enough revenue to eliminate the deficit. But Ryan points out that it is not the CBO’s role to score revenue–it’s the job of the Joint Committee on Taxation.

You and I wouldn’t be expected to know that last factoid but a legislatively-minded economist would, which is why Megan McArdle was aghast that the Times’s resident Nobel-winner could have leveled a charge so dishonest in his op-ed broadside last week. Follow the link up top and read the Standard piece in full, as it’s a necessary gloss on Ryan’s op-ed counterattack on Krugman over the weekend. The only part I don’t get: Near the end, PR seems genuinely perplexed as to why he’s suddenly the target of such nasty personal attacks from PK. Isn’t the answer obvious? It’s the same reason why Chris Matthews went to such pains to make Ryan look unserious and why the DNC is now lumping him in with candidates like Sharron Angle in an attempt to make him seem kooky. According to the Narrative, today’s conservatives are a horde of feral, brainless bigots following whatever primitive impulses their political id generates. Ryan, being both soft-spoken and very intellectually serious about the unsustainability of entitlements, is both a threat to that narrative and to the welfare state itself. As such, frankly, he’s lucky he’s gotten off as easy as he has thus far. Potentially, he’s progressive public enemy number one.

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