I don’t know who Time magazine’s Michael Grunwald is, but he just made Joe Klein his bitch:
You may not like Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget plan, but you must admit that it’s courageous. You simply must. By order of the Washington establishment, you may question whether Ryan’s plan is sensible or humane or even remotely honest, but you have to confess that it is undeniably an extraordinary act of bravery, or else pundits will beat the confession out of you with swoony prose.
To New York Times columnist David Brooks, Ryan’s 73-page budget outline — it’s not an actual budget — is “the most comprehensive and courageous budget reform proposal any of us have seen in our lifetimes.” Here at Time.com, Joe Klein wrote that it’s “without question, an act of political courage,” while Fareed Zakaria declared that “Ryan’s plan is deeply flawed, but it is courageous.” The Economist agreed: “Credit where credit is due; whatever you think of Paul Ryan’s budget, it is politically gutsy.”
This is just weird. Ryan is a conservative Republican committee chairman in a conservative Republican caucus. He was reelected last year with 68% of the vote. Sorry, Joe, but I do question whether it was really courageous for him to propose huge tax cuts for the rich, squeeze health care for the poor, and promise that nobody over 55 — the heart of the conservative Republican base — will have to make any sacrifices. Honestly, does anyone think this week has been bad for Ryan’s career?
Ryan is showing the same kind of courage that the 101st Chairborne showed in the Iraq War, the same kind Chris Hitchens shows when he advocates bombing Iran. Among Beltway media elites, that’s the genuine article, of course, deserving of a Silver Star.
What I don’t know for sure is if Brooks, Klein, Sullivan, etc. are cowardly careerist sociopaths, just plain stupid, or both. There’s plenty of evidence for both, that’s for sure. I’m all Sullied out for now, possibly forever, but this is such a striking example of innumeracy that I’m going to go through it again (I mentioned this yesterday, h/t to several commenters).
Overall, taxes would rise to 22.3 percent of the economy, compared with 18.3 percent under the Ryan proposal. (Sullivan quoting from a summary of an alternative budget).
Kudos to the Progressive Caucus. But even with this splurge of tax-and-spend-and-gut-defense, they only manage to get revenues 3 percent higher as a percentage of GDP than Ryan’s, as Megan notes.
We all make addition mistakes, but this has been up there for over a day. And worse, there’s no mention of how much 3 percent or four percent of GDP is. I emailed this yesterday and got no response:
[C]ould you at least correct your post to say that 22.3 – 18.3 is 4 percent not 3 percent. Also, too, you might do well to estimate how much 4 percent of GDP is (it’s a little over half a trillion).
Speaking of cowardly, I have nothing but contempt for bloggers who neither have comments nor read email.