Paul Krugman Breaks the Rules

by tristero

Look, people, everyone knows you're not supposed to read government budget proposals. Math's hard! Maybe, if you're feeling like you want to be informed, you rifle the pages, then throw the huge mess of Powerpoint-ed arcana into your inbox, atop the other things you intend to get to Real Soon Now, like some overdue bills, the 20 page form letter from your agoraphobic uncle telling everyone what he's been up to, and that 2-year supply of dental floss your dentist gave you.

But somehow, the good doctor from Princeton never got the memo. Paul Krugman actually sat down and actually read what was wrought by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (gotta hand it to them: that's one hilarious name, if you're in the mood for joking, that is). Read the entire column, but if you don't, here's the punchline:
...what the co-chairmen are proposing is a mixture of tax cuts and tax increases — tax cuts for the wealthy, tax increases for the middle class. They suggest eliminating tax breaks that, whatever you think of them, matter a lot to middle-class Americans — the deductibility of health benefits and mortgage interest — and using much of the revenue gained thereby, not to reduce the deficit, but to allow sharp reductions in both the top marginal tax rate and in the corporate tax rate.
Now, when I said Krugman's read the budget proposal, I meant that by our standards he's read it. By his own, he's just started:
It will take time to crunch the numbers here, but this proposal clearly represents a major transfer of income upward, from the middle class to a small minority of wealthy Americans.
Wait a minute, wait a minute, you mean, you're supposed to, you know, like, check that their numbers add up?

I never knew that. Y'learn something new every day.

(Seriously: Thank you, Dr. Krugman. I don't have the training or time - not to mention the raw intelligence - to read and understand the report. But I can, and do, understand your columns, and deeply appreciate the work you're doing.)