Flimflam Columnist

Has Paul Krugman lost it?

In his Friday New York Times column, he called Rep. Paul Ryan “the flimflam man” and called Ryan’s “Roadmap for America’s Future” a “fraud.” What was Ryan’s gravest sin? Heartless cuts in Medicare.

Then, ON THE VERY SAME DAY, Krugman posted the graphic below from the Medicare Trustee’s report and announced that “health reform was the biggest move toward fiscal responsibility in a long, long time.”


So how does health reform produce such huge savings? Heartless cuts in Medicare. A lot more heartless than anything Paul Ryan has conceived. See my previous post here.

Comments (18)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Tom H. says:

    Nice post. Krugman is an idiot.

  2. Nancy says:

    Ditto Tom’s comments. I hate to read his columns.

  3. Devon Herrick says:

    Medicare’s fiscal future is saved — assuming the doctors and hospitals that treat Medicare patients are willing to give Medicare a two-thirds off discount.

  4. Larry C. says:

    If George W. were president and a trustees report like this came out, can you imagine what Krugman would be saying. He would claim that the Republicans are going to put grandma on the ice.

  5. Ken says:

    This inconsistentcy is so glaring and so obvious, maybe Krugman has lost it. Early signs of Alzheimers?

  6. mdb says:

    You need to mention the medicare “savings” are spent twice – on both shoring up MediCare and to pay for ObamaCare. Which is flimflam sauce if I ever saw it. Also no one believes the “savings” will be realized, and the temporary doc fix passed this year makes part of the “savings” claims of the report a lie.

  7. artk says:

    If you read Krugman’s column, you’ll see his criticism of Ryan’s Medicare plan is that turning it into a voucher system will either cost more or provide less services then the existing system. He supports this contention with the fact we already have a form of that, Medicare Advantage, which costs more per recipient then standard Medicare.

    As for Krugman’s “flimflam” criticism, that was aimed at the fact Ryan asked the CBO to score only his spending cuts, ignoring the 4 trillion dollar revenue shortfall of his tax cuts.

  8. BobM says:

    @artk: You have it right. Mr. Goodman should perhaps read the article. It’s a flim-flam because, taking tax cuts and spending cuts together, Ryan’s proposal doesn’t do what it purports to do. That fits my definition of a flim-flam, no matter who proposes it. And raising taxes on 95% of Americans may not be a flim-flam, but I’d like to hear someone explain why that’s a good idea.

  9. mdb says:

    @bobm and artk

    You need to read original Ryan work. Krugman’s claims about the spending/tax cuts are based on new CBO numbers, Ryan’s report is old, it uses old numbers (numbers that were current at the time of release). Krugman’s only possible complaint could be that the numbers have not been updated. Krugman is a partisan hack, anything he says now should be viewed through that lens.

  10. DrMatt says:

    Megan McArdle addresses the ‘flimflam’ point about the revenue issue. It seems that @artk & @BobM, like Krugman, don’t understand that’s not what the CBO does…That’s the role of the JCT.


  11. artk says:

    mdb sez: “Krugman is a partisan hack”

    I suppose criticizing Krugman as a political hack, you’re implying that Ryan isn’t.

    Let’s look at Ryan’s history to see if he’s a political hack. He graduated Miami University in Oxford Ohio in 1992. Upon graduation, he took a job as an aide to Republican Senator Bob Kasten. He then took a job as an aide to Republican Senator Sam Brownback, followed in 1997 by a stint as a speechwriter for Bill Bennett and then for Jack Kemp’s Vice Presidential run. Since 1998, he’s been a Republican Congressman. It seems to me that Ryan’s entire career has been as a professional Republican.

    Krugman, since getting his BA from Yale, and his PhD from MIT, on the other hand is a full time professor of economics, has done Nobel prize winning research on international trade, has written 20 books and published 200 peer reviewed articles and worked for the Reagan White House on its Council of Economic Advisers.

    As political hacks go, Krugman can’t hold a candle to Ryan’s hackdom.

  12. John Goodman says:

    The difference is that Ryan is always the gentleman. He does not attack people’s motives, just because they disagree with him. He likes to discuss ideas and solve problems, not engage in ad hominem diatribes.

    I don’t believe that even the most liberal member of the House of Representatives would describe Ryan as a hack. Even President Obama complimented him as a thoughtful Republican with whom the White House would like to work.

  13. BobM says:

    For the record, I disagree with Krugman as often as I agree. And, I have to applaud Ryan for being even a little courageous in proposing *something* when most politicians on both sides are running away as fast as they can from the issue. But I’ve never seen any third-party analysis to support the contention that Ryan’s proposal actually reduces the deficit. And I apologize the carrying forth the term “flim-flam.” Pretty mild compared to what’s thrown around these days, but I this comes too close to ad hominem attacks for my comfort.

  14. mdb says:

    I define hack, as someone who ignores facts, omits facts, or lies about facts depending on the party of the president for political advantage.

    Krugman scores much higher than Ryan in all three categories.

  15. steve says:

    Agre that Ryan is not a hack, however his Roadmap cuts Medicare in the long run as a primary method of containing the deficit. It is disingenuous to imply that Ryan does not cut Medicare.


  16. John Goodman says:

    Megan McArdle takes Paul Krugman to task over his Ryan column and subsequent blog posts and shows no mercy: