You’re going to hear a lot about Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) being an intellectual heavyweight with a bold, fiscally conservative vision for America. As a former Clinton Office of Management and Budget aide who has looked closely at Ryan’s plans, I can tell you he is not a fiscal conservative, not a truth-teller on America’s fiscal challenges, and not a man with a plausible plan to renew the country.
(In my view he does deserve real credit for putting the need to restrain Medicare’s growth rate on the table, given the political risk this involves, but this doesn’t redeem the overall awfulness of his broader budget proposals).
The remarkable thing is that he and his allies have managed to convince so much of the press to buy into an image that isn’t remotely supported by his actual ideas. I’ll turn to all this in the days ahead, but here are links to six pieces I’ve written on aspects of Ryan’s approach in the last year-and-a-half that stand up well, and that can help folks who haven’t had reason to focus on Ryan get up to speed fast.