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Representative Paul Ryan, the supposed fiscal genius of the Republican Party, raised eyebrows over the weekend when he told David Gregory on “Meet The Press” that his budget must be passed in order to avoid austerity.

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What we’re saying is let’s get on growth and prevent austerity. The whole premise of our budget is to preempt austerity by getting our borrowing under control, having tax reform for economic growth, and preventing Medicare and Social Security and Medicaid from going bankrupt. That preempts austerity, the President, his budget…puts us on a path toward European austerity.

Ryan’s claims don’t add up for a number of reasons. First of all, his budget would not get borrowing under control, given that it would actually increase public debt.

Second, Ryan’s plan to cut spending by $5.3 trillion over the next 10 years is the very definition of austerity. As Crooks and Liars points out, Ryan is making a ludicrously demanding that we pass his austerity budget to avoid austerity.

Finally, Ryan’s insistence that President Obama is the one pushing austerity makes no sense, especially when you consider that Ryan has also accused Obama of trying to create a “western-European style, cradle to the grave social welfare state.”

Either Paul Ryan doesn’t understand what the term “austerity” means, or the GOP’s greatest con man is getting seriously sloppy.

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