The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Politics

March 15, 2013

Does Ryan Really Believe His Economics?



By Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers

Bloomberg News

Paul Ryan believes the United States has a looming inflation problem. The reality is that Ryan has an economic credibility problem.

The latest iteration of the Wisconsin representative's budget for the U.S. government spells out what he sees as a major threat to the economy: "Pressed for cash, the government will take the easy way out: It will crank up the printing presses. The final stage of this intergenerational theft will be the debasement of our currency. Government will cheat us of our just rewards. Our finances will collapse. The economy will stall."

It's a stark forecast, in which the driving force is "debasement of the currency," which is simply a rhetorically loaded term for inflation. Ryan's views on the economy are premised on his forecast that the country is headed for a central-bank induced monetary disaster.

This sort of fear-mongering sells well among gold bugs, doomsday preppers and other tea party types. But it rests on very shaky ground. So shaky, in fact, that either Ryan is being dishonest or he's placed himself on the Spam-hoarding radical fringe, far outside any standard approach to monetary economics.

For instance, the latest projections from the Federal Reserve's policy-setting Open Market Committee suggest that long-run inflation will average 2 percent, consistent with its stated long-run target. Of course, in Ryan's view, the Fed would say that, just to hide its intentions ahead of an inflationary surprise.

What do professional economists say? The Survey of Professional Forecasters summarizes the projections of private- sector economists, academics and econometric models, lacking any nefarious agenda that one may ascribe to the Fed. In the latest survey, the median projection among these economists is for inflation to average 2 percent over the next decade. Even the most alarmist forecast sees inflation averaging no more than 3 percent. These 46 economists draw on a wide variety of views about the economy, yet Ryan is more extreme than all them — by a substantial margin.

Text Only
Politics
  • With 1 week to go, Sanford subject of attacks

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford can’t seem to escape attacks on the extramarital affair that derailed his political career, which he hopes to revive in a special congressional election that is now a week away.

    May 1, 2013

  • Bombing shifts Mass. Senate race before primaries

    BOSTON — Even before the explosions, polling suggested that Massachusetts voters weren’t excited about the looming special election to replace former U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

    April 28, 2013

  • In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites

    WASHINGTON — America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

    April 28, 2013

  • Senate Democrats put off vote on Labor nominee

    WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats have delayed a confirmation vote on Labor Secretary-nominee Thomas Perez after Republicans threatened to use a separate hearing to criticize his handling of a whistleblower case.

    April 24, 2013

  • Sen. Baucus' decision to retire sets stage for majorlegislative changes

     Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the most influential congressional figures of his era, announced his intention Tuesday to retire, a move that could produce sweeping changes in the political and legislative landscape over the next two years.

    April 24, 2013

  • Senate friendship born of tragedy beat partisanship

    These days, most dispatches from Washington focus on petty partisanship, posturing, impasses and a political culture that rewards confrontation.

    April 22, 2013

  • Rubio rising

    If Marco Rubio helps pass comprehensive immigration reform, he will have accomplished more as a senator than Barack Obama did.

    April 22, 2013

  • Gun Bill's Failure May Help Immigration Legislation

    WASHINGTON — Here's an odd political reality: The collapse of the gun bill in the Senate last week may well make the passage of immigration reform legislation slightly easier.

    April 21, 2013

  • Senate Planning Vote on Internet Sales Tax

    WASHINGTON — The days of tax-free online shopping could finally be numbered.

    April 21, 2013

  • Advocates of Immigration Reform Fight Back Against Push for Delay

    WASHINGTON — The Senate's leading supporters of overhauling the nation's immigration system sought Sunday to blunt a conservative effort to slow the pace of debate over their bill, saying the Boston Marathon bombings are a reason to move quickly to make changes.

    April 21, 2013

Featured Ads
Politics Video