Apr
26
2011

Someone at the LAT Really Likes Paul Ryan

At his Beat the Press blog (4/23/11), Dean Baker caught this in the L.A. Times (4/23/11):

Congress is on its first recess since Republican leaders unveiled a plan to end the federal deficit by dramatically changing Medicare, cutting other government programs and reducing taxes.

As Baker points out, what the paper is referring to–the Paul Ryan budget proposal–does not "end the federal deficit." As he put it:

This is like saying they had a plan to fly to moon because they said they would build a rocket. The whole point is the specifics. How would they build a rocket? How would they raise taxes to meet their revenue targets?

But someone at the L.A. Times seems to like Paul Ryan's budget–at least judging by theunusually flattering (and misleading) descriptions of it that have appeared in the paper recently.

On April 11, the Times reported:

Ryan's 2012 budget proposed major changes to the longstanding federal programs.

For Medicare, seniors would receive a stipend to buy insurance on the private market. Analysts expect it would raise individual out-of-pocket health costs while making federal costs more stable and predictable.

Stabilizing costs–well, that's one way to put it. Making poor seniors pay much more for their healthcare in order to give tax breaks to the wealthy–that's another way.

About a week earlier (4/5/11), the L.A. Times debuted the Ryan budget this way:

The budget resolution unveiled Tuesday by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) would dramatically improve the nation's overall fiscal picture, reducing deficits projected in President Obama's budget and moving the federal government into surplus by 2040, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

As FAIR noted, one should be wary of claims about what the Congressional Budget Office is saying about the Ryan plan–Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post explained why:

The Post's Kessler, however, reports that this claim "seriously overstates the case," since the CBO analysis "reflects the scenarios that Ryan has concocted. There are, for instance, no real revenue estimates, just an assumption that federal revenues will remain at about 19 percent of GDP." The spending cuts imagined by Ryan are equally implausible–a "bare-bones government…not experienced since before the Great Depression."

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.