Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 6, 2011

THE CBO TELLS REPUBLICANS WHAT THEY DON'T WANT TO HEAR.... Almost exactly two years ago, David Brooks had some advice for the new White House team. President Obama, the columnist said, is "going to have to prove the hard way that he meant what he said about being pragmatic and evidence-based. That means he won't sweep a C.B.O. study under the rug simply because the findings are inconvenient."

The concerns were reasonable, but directed at the wrong side of the aisle. The Obama White House hasn't blown off inconvenient CBO scores; Republicans have.

This has been ongoing for a while -- the GOP just loves the Congressional Budget Office, just so long as the party likes what it's hearing. On the other hand, Republicans consider the CBO unreliable and worthless when its information runs counter to their agenda.

With that in mind, Republicans will be none too pleased to hear from CBO Director Doug Elmendorf today, who explains that repealing the Affordable Care Act "would increase budget deficits" by quite a bit. (via Matt Finkelstein)

As a result of changes in direct spending and revenues, CBO expects that enacting H.R. 2 would probably increase federal budget deficits over the 2012-2019 period by a total of roughly $145 billion (on the basis of the original estimate), plus or minus the effects of technical and economic changes that CBO and JCT will include in the forthcoming estimate. Adding two more years (through 2021) brings the projected increase in deficits to something in the vicinity of $230 billion, plus or minus the effects of technical and economic changes.

Making matters slightly worse, the CBO also found that the House Republicans' repeal bill, if it became law, would also leave 32 million Americans without health insurance by the end of the decade and make coverage more expensive for individuals.

As Jonathan Cohn added, "So there you have it: According to one of our most reliable and nonpartisan authorities, repealing the Affordable Care Act would mean higher deficits plus insurance that is less comprehensive, less available, and in many cases more expensive. "

This, of course, is the top priority of congressional Republicans, who claim to consider fiscal responsibility paramount.

In June 2009, the Congressional Budget Office scored an incomplete Democratic health care proposal, issuing an unhelpful analysis with little practical value. At the time, Eric Cantor (R-Va.) not only accepted the CBO numbers as gospel, but called the analysis "the turning point in the healthcare debate." (Dems crafted a more complete bill, and soon received a better score.)

You see, in his mind, a bad CBO score on a health care bill should necessarily kill the legislation.

Funny, I don't imagine Cantor will think that way today.

Steve Benen 10:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (15)

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Comments

Will that be the headline news item tonight?

"Republicans vow to increase the Deficit?"

Somehow, I don't think so. God damn network news woosies.

Posted by: Rochester on January 6, 2011 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

But the CBO doesn't get it: increasing the deficit and leaving 32 million people without health insurance isn't an unintended consequence of repealing the ACA, it's the *intended* consequence of the ACA! After all, how better to complete the transformation of the US from the largest middle class-based economy in world history to utter peonage?

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on January 6, 2011 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Facts, schmacts.

Republicans are right because they're sincere. And very white.

Posted by: walt on January 6, 2011 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

"Funny, I don't imagine Cantor will think that way today."

Does Eric Cantor ever think in ANY way on ANY day?

Posted by: Buffalo Harold on January 6, 2011 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Who knew that these 'people of faith' could be so selective?
The Bible? Only the smiting. What fogiveness?
The Constitution? The 1st and 2nd for me. What, there are others? Oh yeah, the 10th!
The CBO? Only when you agree with me, not "them."

Ah, if only we had a semi-sentient media, and not a bunch of analogue recoders in human form...

Posted by: c u n d gulag on January 6, 2011 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

But creating a larger deficit by repealing the Health Care bill is not against the GOP rules for the House. Only spending that increases the deficit is prohibited. It's only spending that is bad! And repeal is not spending! So, it's okay!

Posted by: g on January 6, 2011 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

The Republicans are absolutely shameless.

Those Americans that make less than a million dollars a year who voted for them are STUPID.

Posted by: JD on January 6, 2011 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

I expect that the GOP reaction will be to abolish the CBO, thereby saving the taxpayers oodles of pennies.

Posted by: Snarki, child of Loki on January 6, 2011 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

What JD said. These Republican reptiles care nothing about the American people or about responsible governance. All they care about is licking the boots of the wealthy and dismantling any semblance of a safety net and spitting on FDR's grave.

Posted by: Sam Simple on January 6, 2011 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

but....but...the Constitution!!

Posted by: SaintZak on January 6, 2011 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Buffalo Harold 10:56

how dare you make light of my know nothing congressman!

Posted by: Ted76 on January 6, 2011 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Don't forget the CBO scores Senator Crapo requested in September on the effect of repeal.

http://www.43sb.com/?q=node/5634

Posted by: Sisyphus on January 6, 2011 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

I expect that the GOP reaction will be to abolish the CBO, thereby saving the taxpayers oodles of pennies.

Louie Gohmert has already called for eliminating the CBO. He says it obviously isn't "nonpartisan" because it keeps disagreeing with Republican numbers.

Posted by: Redshift on January 6, 2011 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

You're forgetting how conservative "logic" works: Decide on the conclusion you want, and then choose "facts" that support that conclusion. If the CBO supports what you want, it's unimpeachable gospel, if it doesn't, it's unreliable and biased. Consistency doesn't matter, only getting the "right" answer.

Posted by: Redshift on January 6, 2011 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

230B... Ha...A drop in the bucket if you're a wealthy self-centered Republican who never has to worry about where your next meal is coming from.

Posted by: DebbieP on January 6, 2011 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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