Paul Krugman is Uncharacteristically Optimistic Today

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Paul Krugman says he misjudged the way Paul Ryan’s latest budget proposal would be received:

Where I was at least somewhat wrong was in my expectations about how the Very Serious People would treat his latest outing. I thought they would still treat him as a heroic deficit hawk, never mind the fact that his plan is really about transferring money from the poor to the rich, with no credible deficit reduction at all. That, after all, is what they did last year — he even received an award for fiscal responsibility.

But I’m not seeing that this time. Overall, the response seems muted, maybe out of embarrassment. But leaving aside the predictable right-wing cheerleaders, it looks as if the emperor’s nakedness is now common knowledge.

This is an uncharacteristically optimistic view. I don’t think the reaction to Ryan was muted because everyone suddenly realized he was a fraud. Reaction was muted because this year’s Ryan budget is pretty much the same as last year’s Ryan budget. That made it boring, and that’s the punditocracy’s greatest sin. News outlets don’t cover boring stuff. Beyond that, though, I see no reason to think that general attitudes toward Ryan have changed. Liberals still think he’s a charlatan; conservatives still think he’s the second coming of Ronald Reagan; and the Beltway VSPs still think he’s a VSP.

Ironically, there really was one part of Ryan’s plan that was different this year: his approach to Medicare reform. But virtually no one outside the wonkosphere seems to have noticed. I guess that’s the price of being a bore.


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