Krugman and flimflam the next generation

Paul Krugman weighs in on the Ryan budget magic. Here is a small quote:

And so it is with the new poverty report.

Give Ryan some points for originality. In his various budgets, he relied mainly on magic asterisks — unspecified savings and revenue sources to be determined later; he was able to convince many pundits that he had a grand fiscal plan when the reality was that he was just assuming his conclusions, and that the assumptions were fundamentally ridiculous. But this time he uses a quite different technique.

What he offers is a report making some strong assertions, and citing an impressive array of research papers. What you aren’t supposed to notice is that the research papers don’t actually support the assertions.

In some cases we’re talking about artful misrepresentation of what the papers say, drawing angry protests from the authors. In other cases the misdirection is more subtle.