Why has Paul Ryan Suddenly become Factually Challenged?

Posted by Timothy McBride on Saturday, February 2, 2013 Under: Deficits

A lot of people are scratching their heads about what "has happened to Paul Ryan?" After all before the last week, he was supposed to be like Robin to Batman, a wizkid, the savior -- he had a great reputation on Capitol Hill for being a deficit hawk, a numbers guy. He wowed the press. So now, all of the sudden he cannot tell anything factual. So what happened? Jonathan Chait has a very good theory. It is worth considering. Here are the operative paragraphs:

"The thing about Ryan is that he has always resided in a counter-factual universe. He is a product of the hermetically sealed right-wing subculture. Many of the facts taken for granted by mainstream economists have never penetrated his brain. Ryan burst onto the national scene with a dense, fact-laden attack on the financing of Obama’s health-care bill that was essentially a series of hallucinations, pseudo-facts
 cooked up and recirculated by conservative apparatchiks who didn’t know what they were talking about or didn’t care. His big-think speeches reflect the influence of fact-free conservatives and collapse under scrutiny.

 "During the last couple of years, Ryan took his act to the big city, expanding beyond his Washington conservative movement base and pitching himself to a broader audience as a straight-talking avatar of fiscal responsibility. That he managed to pull off the feat was completely incredible. Ryan’s entire career had been rooted in the 'Reagan proved deficits don’t matter' wing of his party, and he spent the Bush administration consistently pushing for even more fiscally irresponsible policies than even George W. Bush could bear, and then spent the Obama administration relentlessly killing any effort to ameliorate those deficits. The genuine Paul Ryan is a man deeply devoted to reducing tax rates for Job Creators, and staunchly opposed to universal health insurance and other social spending. He is not a deficit hawk. The tension between Ryan’s policy goals and the persona he crafted was strained to the breaking point. When the press corps finally applied even the slightest pressure to it, it immediately and inevitably snapped."


In : Deficits 

About Me

Timothy McBride Timothy D. McBride, Ph.D. is a Professor at the Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis. Here you can find musings on health policy and other issues. Opinions are my own, and not those of my employer. Contact: mcbridetd@gmail.com