Paul Krugman Won't Give Paul Ryan Credit for Wanting to Eliminate the Federal Government

October 03, 2017

Paul Krugman again went after Paul Ryan for the lack of specifics in his proposals for eliminating the national debt. As he reminds us, centrist commentators widely praised these proposals at the time as serious budget plans.

While Krugman is absolutely right on the tax side (Ryan says that he will offset lower tax rates by eliminating unspecified tax loopholes), he should give Ryan credit for what he actually proposes on the spending side. As I have pointed out elsewhere, Ryan has essentially proposed eliminating the federal government other than Social Security, Medicare and other health programs, and the military.

“This fact can be found in the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) analysis of Ryan’s budget (page 16, Table 2). The analysis shows Ryan’s budget shrinking everything other than Social Security and Medicare and other health care programs to 3.5 percent of GDP by 2050. This is roughly the current size of the military budget, which Ryan has indicated he wants to increase. That leaves zero for everything else.

“Included in everything else is the Justice Department, the National Park System, the State Department, the Department of Education, the Food and Drug Administration, Food Stamps, the National Institutes of Health, and just about everything else that the government does. Just to be clear, CBO did this analysis under Ryan’s supervision. He never indicated any displeasure with its assessment. In fact he boasted about the fact that CBO showed his budget paying off the national debt.”

So the Washington press corps favorite thoughtful conservative wants to get rid of almost the entire federal government. Let’s give Mr. Ryan credit for what he is proposing. It is specific, it just happens to be crazy.


Support Cepr


If you value CEPR's work, support us by making a financial contribution.

Si valora el trabajo de CEPR, apóyenos haciendo una contribución financiera.

Donate Apóyanos

Keep up with our latest news