Paul Krugman Exposes the Biggest Con Artist in American Politics This Side of Donald Trump

News & Politics

Paul Krugman pegged him as a con artist virtually from the start of his political career. Back in 2010, he even devoted a column to him aptly titled, "The Flimflam Man."

No, he was not referring to the man with the world's most destructive Twitter habit. The object of the New York Times columnist's scorn, then and now, is House Majority Leader Paul Ryan, whose makeshift health care bill threatens the coverage of millions of Americans.

In a Friday column, the New York Times columnist took aim at the American Health Care Act and its feckless author. In Krugman's estimation, virtually everything Ryan has said about his Obamacare replacement is a lie:

He claims that it would lower premiums; it would actually increase them. He claims that it would end the Obamacare death spiral; there isn’t a death spiral, and his plan would be more, not less, vulnerable to a vicious circle of rising premiums and falling enrollment. He claims that it would lead to “patient-centered care”; whatever that is supposed to mean, it would actually do nothing to increase choice.

Krugman sees this legislation as merely the latest expression of the House Majority Leader's sadistic world view. Ryan previously proposed a budget that included huge tax breaks for the rich at the expense of the poor and working class. And like the American Health Care Act, it too proved a bill of goods.

"The alleged deficit reduction came entirely from 'magic asterisks: claims about huge savings to be achieved by cutting unspecified government spending, huge revenue increases to be achieved by closing unspecified government spending, huge revenue increases to be achieved by closing unspecified tax loopholes," Krugman writes. "It was a con job all the way."

So why does anyone take Ryan seriously? Krugman blames a credulous press, which confuses Powerpoint presentations for wonkery and whose desire to present both sides of a narrative borders on pathological.

"This false symmetry — downplaying the awfulness of some candidates, vastly exaggerating the flaws of their opponents — isn’t the only reason America is in the mess it’s in," Krugman concludes. "But it’s an important part of the story. And now we’re all about to pay the price."

Read Paul Krugman's column at the New York Times.

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