Ryan hasn’t “crunched the numbers”; he has just scribbled some stuff down, without checking at all to see if it makes sense. He asserts that he can cut taxes without net loss of revenue by closing unspecified loopholes; he asserts that he can cut discretionary spending to levels not seen since Calvin Coolidge, without saying how; he asserts that he can convert Medicare to a voucher system, with much lower spending than now projected, without even a hint of how this is supposed to work. This is just a fantasy, not a serious policy proposal …
What Ryan is good at is exploiting the willful gullibility of the Beltway media, using a soft-focus style to play into their desire to have a conservative wonk they can say nice things about. And apparently the trick still works.
I much prefer Bob Odenkirk’s profile of Ryan:
He’s a man of habits, believing that they “simplify life and make room for brainstorms.” A voracious reader of history, he’s been known to clip favorite words from books and eat them. Sometimes he’ll eat whole paragraphs. His New York Public Library card has been permanently revoked.
He doesn’t observe Tuesdays. He wears a watch that he smashed on purpose at exactly twelve o’clock. As a result, scheduling is not his strong suit. He famously missed his own birthday by three months.
He reads the Bible in Aramaic to himself through a bullhorn every night and says it’s the perfect mix of the old and the new.
He has three children by four women whom he has never met. He has adopted a man older than himself whom he has affectionately dubbed Grandbrother and with whom he trades birthday cards three times a year.