CNNMoney Touts Ryan's Roadmap, Forgets To Tell Readers Where It Leads

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

CNNMoney gets in on the "Paul Ryan puff piece" trend:

Ryan, a longtime member of the House Budget Committee, which he now heads, is steeped in the math of deficits and debt and has crafted his own fiscal overhaul plan.

That plan -- the "Roadmap for America's Future" -- proposes sweeping changes to Social Security, Medicare and the tax code that would be a significant departure from the status quo, and mainline Republican thinking.

Yes, yes. Paul Ryan has sterling fiscal credentials -- never mind his career-long support for deficit-inducing wars and tax cuts and the like. CNNMoney sure didn't mention it. But what's worse is that CNNMoney refers to Ryan's "fiscal overhaul plan" without telling us how that plan would affect the nation's fiscal situation. The whole article is about how Ryan is going to attack the Obama administration's "handling of the economy and budget," and it mentions Ryan's budget plan without ever telling us what that plan would do. So what would it do? It would take 50 years to balance the budget. And that's the optimistic assessment, based on the dubious assumption that Ryan's deep tax cuts don't reduce revenue.

Yes, Paul Ryan has "his own fiscal overhaul plan." So what? Buying a whole bunch of Powerball tickets is a "plan," after all. The question is what the plan will do, and what the likely results are. News organizations should be sure to answer those questions, not just fall all over themselves in a rush to assert Ryan's fiscal bona fides.

Finally, the CNNMoney article is part of a special package on "America's Debt Crisis." I can find no such package devoted to "America's jobs crisis." CNNMoney might want to re-think those priorities. Not just because jobs are the more urgent concern to most Americans, but because focusing on debt rather than jobs and economic growth may be counterproductive even if your primary concern is the debt.

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