Paul Ryan Is Not An Economist

By Bill Maher

Paul Ryan couldn't explain his tax plan to Chris Wallace because "It would take me too long to go through all of the math." It's not the first time Ryan has had trouble trying to explain his plans and it raises an important question: is Paul Ryan a policy wonk, or does he just play one on TV?

The record suggests he just plays one on TV. He has a bachelor's degree in political science and economics. That's all. He's not a trained economist and wouldn't be qualified to teach a graduate level economics course. Most economists take him about as seriously as they do his idol, Ayn Rand.

The only people who have tagged him as a brilliant economist are journalists who aren't economists themselves and other Republicans. Why does everyone take it as a given that he's a wonk? How would they even know? He lies about everything else; doesn't it make sense that he’s lying about that, too?

I notice any time Ryan gets into trouble explaining economic issues, he starts using the word "baseline" a lot. It's not really that complicated of a word, but I think it's meant to scare people off, like, "Don’t mess with me, I'll start talking about baselines." To me, it just smacks of a guy who's trying too hard. And it's meant to end the conversation before someone who does know what they're talking about discovers he has no idea.

Ryan once told The Weekly Standard that meeting with budget actuaries was "the highlight of my day." Again, trying too hard. The reporter bought that. I don't. And is someone who enjoys talking to actuaries that much really qualified to be vice president?

Romney's awfulness as a candidate is obscuring how awful Ryan is. Look at that footage of him being booed at the AARP -- seniors don't just dislike his plan, they think he's a condescending little prick. If you thought Al Gore talked down to people, listen to Paul Ryan for five minutes. The difference is, Gore wasn't pretending -- he really did know shit.

The polls also suggest that the real disaster on the Romney/Ryan ticket might be Ryan. Around the time Ryan was picked for VP, Romney was up among seniors in Florida and Ohio; now Obama has the edge. Along with Democrats solidifying their support, the improvement with seniors is the biggest reason Obama has risen. Don't you think Ryan has something to do with that?