I have been keeping my eye open for the best brief summary of Ryan’s budget plan. After going through dozens of posts with a combined thousands of graphs, I have settled on this piece from Paul Krugman. An excerpt:

Ryan basically proposes three big things: slashing Medicaid, cutting taxes on corporations and high-income people, and replacing Medicare with a drastically less well funded voucher system. These concrete proposals would, taken together, actually increase the deficit for the first decade and beyond.

All the claims of major deficit reduction therefore rest on the magic asterisks. In that sense, this isn’t even a plan, it’s just a set of assertions.

Importantly, all of the deficit reduction Ryan’s plan claims to achieve is actually unspecified in the plan itself. He claims to reduce the deficit by closing tax loopholes, but never says which loopholes. He claims to reduce the deficit by cutting discretionary spending, but never says how.

Despite the way the media wants to present him, Ryan is not a serious, earnest budget guy. The plan redistributes from the poor to the rich, and achieves any and all budget goals by stipulating certain budgetary results without explaining how they are going to come about. Ryan is not a smart policy wonk making tough choices; he just plays one on TV.