Brad DeLong on the debasement of budget policy since the Reagan era:
Ever since the start of 1981 and the miseducation of David Stockman, the bane of a sensible American fiscal policy has most often been the magic asterisk: the implicit claim that some policy that the politician dares not name or some magical Budget Fairy will fly down from above and make everything OK. When this magic asterisk is found, by my guess 90% of the time it is in budget "plans" from Republicans—but a good 10% of the time it is found in plans from Democrats (yes, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Gene Sperling, I am looking at you).
This has reached its zenith in the budget "plans" of Paul Ryan and his fellow tea partiers. I can't remember the last time I saw a budget plan from a Republican that was even remotely honest.