On Saturday, I pointed out that Krugman seemed to have made a few errors in his attack on Paul Ryan. He said that Ryan was a lowdown dishonest skunk because he had not gotten the Congressional Budget Office to score the revenue side of his "Roadmap", and instead had directed the CBO to assume revenues around the post-war historical average. I noted that first, Krugman seemed to be unaware that the Joint Committee on Taxation, and not the CBO, generally scores changes to the Internal Revenue code; and second Krugman seemed to be unaware that Paul Ryan had asked both the CBO and the JCT to score the revenue side, and been turned down. The CBO turned him down because, ahem, scoring changes to the Internal Revenue code is the proper job of the JCT. The JCT turned him down because it doesn't do long-term revenue forecasts, and didn't have the staff time to do a ten year forecast.
On Sunday, Paul Krugman came back with a sort of Oceania-has-always-been-at-war-with-Eastasia post in which he acknowledged the JCT/CBO distinction without noting that his prior posts had missed it. He then doubled-down on his charges of dishonesty:
I also see that Ryan is perpetuating the runaround on revenue estimates. If you read either this article or his original response to the Tax Policy Center, you could easily get the impression that nobody would do a revenue estimate, that CBO said it was JCT's job, and JCT balked. Even Nate Silver has fallen for this. But read the original response carefully:
The Tax Policy Center analysis covers a 10-year period, but the Roadmap is a long-term plan with spending and revenue projections covering 75 years. As such, the analysis is not consistent with the long-term horizon of the plan. Staff originally asked CBO to do a long-term analysis of both the tax and spending provisions in the Roadmap. However, CBO declined to do a revenue analysis of the tax plan, citing that it did not want to infringe on the traditional jurisdiction of the JCT. JCT, however, does not have the capability at this time to provide longer-term revenue estimates (i.e. beyond 10 years) [my emphasis]. Given these functional constraints for an official analysis, staff relied on its original work with the Treasury Department and other tax experts to formulate a reasonable expected path for long-term revenues given the tax policies in the Roadmap combined with the economic growth projections available at the time.
In other words, Ryan could have gotten JCT to do a 10-year estimate; it just wouldn't go beyond that. And he chose not to get that 10-year estimate. So it was Ryan's choice not to have any independent estimate of the 10-year revenue effects.
To be honest, I too found that passage ambiguous. Which is why I
contacted Ryan's staff, who were happy to clarify that yes, they asked
the JCT to do a forecast, and JCT said no. I don't understand why
Krugman keeps diving deeper into these Talmudic interpretations rather
than just calling to ask, when their phone number is easily available on their website. There are some questions that are easier to resolve by talking to a live
human being than by re-parsing a report, and this happens to be one of