My guess is that Paul Krugman thought that this post was one of the more trifling economic-oriented pieces he has written in a while. It was short and probably took little time. It was also seemingly commonplace. After all, it was about a politician who said something inherently and obviously false.
But I found it to be extremely disturbing, not because it was off-the-wall -- it's anything but -- but because it described a behavior -- bald-face lying -- that has become so blatant and commonplace among Republican policymakers on economic issues that any one of them who is even slightly honest and candid now would be both an absolute rarity and a welcome relief.
And the fact that the GOP lying about the economy...and especially the budget...is so accepted and expected means that any Republican who wasn't jump-the-shark ridiculous on these issues wouldn't be allowed to stay in the party much longer.
As I explain at the beginning of my weekly Roll Call column, I resisted the incredibly strong urge to talk about Etch A Sketch federal budgeting and instead discussed one of the most ridiculous, lazy, and absurd (Get the picture?) reasons supporters of the budget proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) say its valuable: It moves the U.S. back to the historical averages for both spending and revenues.
Honestly, saying that historical averages are meaningful in any way for what should be done now or in the future is just nonsense.
Ryan's Historical Averages Are Irrelevant to Budget Debate
By Stan Collender
Roll Call Contributing Writer
March 27, 2012, Midnight
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his latest budget plan yesterday. As expected, it proposes to reduce appropriations below what was agreed to in the debt ceiling deal -- the Budget Control Act -- last August, cut taxes, and make major changes in Medicare.
The Ryan plan is no more of a serious budget than was the budget the White House released in February. And just like the Obama budget, what Ryan released is nothing more than a re-election document that some Republicans will use repeatedly on the campaign trail through November to shore up the base.
The Ryan-proposed budget supposedly will be approved by the full House Budget Committee today. It will then go to the House floor where it will be angrily denounced by House Democrats and, although the vote is likely to be closer than you would guess given the GOP majority, passed.
It's March, the month when Spring, the NCAA tournament, and "Dancing with the Stars" all begin.
It's also when Republican shameful misuse (to the point of malpractice) of the budget baseline typically reaches its annual high/low point.
That's when, in response to the Congressional Budget Office's release of its updated deficit projections and estimates of the president's budget, Republicans carefully pick the comparison that supposedly proves what they want to say even when there is ample and readily available evidence that show what they're saying isn't true.
Two examples from last week.