Thursday, March 6, 2014

Nice Try, Paul

Paul Ryan, who, along with Newt Gingrich qualifies for Paul Krugman's characterization of a stupid person's idea of what a smart person sounds like, has just produced a giant report on the failure of social programs. Or, at least, that was his intent. To those able to think past the fog emanating from  Ryan's brain as it struggles with arithmetic, it seems his report sort of backfired. According to The Fiscal Times:

... Ryan’s 204-page report, The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later, is documented with hundreds of citations of academic work. The paper breaks down federal anti-poverty programs ... and reviews the evidence for and against their effectiveness, relying in large part on academic research. 

"Today, the poverty rate is stuck at 15 percent—the highest in a generation,” Ryan noted in the report. “And the trends are not encouraging. Federal programs are not only failing to address the problem. They are also in some significant respects making it worse. Changes are clearly necessary, and the first step is to evaluate what the federal government is doing right now." 

However, several economists and social scientists contacted on Monday had reactions ranging from bemusement to anger at Ryan’s report, claiming that he either misunderstood or misrepresented their research... 

This is, of course, the opposite of surprising. Unlike actual research or honest study of any sort, Ryan and all of today's Republican pushers begin with an answer and work to support it, by whatever means possible, not excluding obfuscation, distortion, and some form of this here thing.

[Image source]

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