Paul Ryan's Plan Is 'Cruel' —or Maybe Brilliant Krugman and Krauthammer weigh in on GOP budget plan By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Apr 8, 2011 12:11 PM CDT 41 comments Comments Rep. Paul Ryan in a file photo. (Getty Images) (Newser) – The battle lines around Paul Ryan's budget plan are pretty well laid today in columns from Paul Krugman, who calls it both "ludicrous" and "cruel," and Charles Krauthammer, who sees it as "brave and profoundly forward-looking." Excerpts: Krugman, New York Times: For starters, it relies on the principle that "tax cuts pay for themselves," which Krugman denounces as "voodoo economics." And the idea of "privatizing Medicare" will probably end up raising costs by adding middlemen. Most of Ryan's $4 trillion in cuts hit low-income Americans, writes Krugman. "And by repealing last year’s health reform, without any replacement, the plan would also deprive an estimated 34 million nonelderly Americans of health insurance." Krauthammer, Washington Post: Ryan's critics generally take this line of attack: The plan "cuts poverty programs and 'privatizes' Medicare in order to cut taxes for the rich." That's just "major demagoguery," Krauthammer writes in a point-by-point rebuttal. Ryan's blueprint is "classic tax reform," and it "seeks nothing less than to adapt the currently unsustainable welfare state to the demographic realities of the 21st century." He hopes the president has even half of Ryan's political courage.