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Friday, March 19, 2010

NY Times and Wash Post Say CBO Numbers Don't Pass Smell Test

When my wife and I were getting married we had a interesting interview with the florist who we eventually hired. He told us that he used to be the florest for most of the Mafia families in NY and that it would take a week or two to get the massive amount of flowers necessary. I asked him what do you mean weeks, didn't they bury people within a few days? "Well said the florist, If it was a really big funeral, they would usually give me a weeks notice before the guy would need a "funeral."

Just like my "florist's clients," the CBO results were "ready" before the bill was released. I do not mean that the CBO purposely changed their analysis to get Nancy Pelosi the numbers but as Mike Pence indicated during the seven hour "non-partisan'" heath care conference the CBO spits out according to the direction they are given, they do not make judgments based on that direction. Therefore there are tons of tricks in their cost analysis, some of most blatant are the first ten years includes only six years of costs but ten years of additional tax income, or how the $500 billion of Medicare savings are counted twice. Gee if they counted it 100 times we can make the deficit go away, but of course you cant spend the same money twice.

Amazingly to of the Democrats "Home Field" news papers actually accused the CBO numbers of failing the "smell test, The Washington Post and the NY Times.

The WAPO analysis, pointed out that it is just an estimate and no one really knows for sure how the bills costs will really shake out and his particular estimate is more shaky than usual.
Budget experts generally have high praise for the work of CBO analysts, the non-ideological technocrats who crunch the numbers to estimate the fiscal impact of legislation. But their work is often more art than science, and although the forecasts that accompany legislation are always filled with uncertainty, this one contains more than most.
For example, the legislation contains subsidies for those who would not be able to afford health coverage on their own — but the cost of those subsidies could vary a lot depending on how much other elements of the legislation change the price of health insurance, such as through provisions requiring minimum coverage levels.
The New York Times goes even further, pointing out that there was no way the CBO report was going to show numbers that did not work out in favor of Obamacare:
Congressional Democrats have spent more than a year working with the nonpartisan budget office on the health care legislation, and as they fine-tuned many of the bill’s various provisions in recent weeks, they consulted repeatedly with its number-crunchers and the bipartisan staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation. In other words, the overall numbers were never going to miss the mark. Whenever the budget office judged that some element or elements of the bill would cause a problem meeting the cost and deficit-reduction targets, Democrats just adjusted the underlying legislation to make sure it would hit their goal.
In other words the bill precise language of the bill was written in a way to make the numbers look good, whether they actually do or not is another story all together.


TexasFred said...

If the NYT calls bullshit on it, it's bullshit! The NYT never met a libber talking point they didn't embrace...

Hyphenated American said...

I wrote this entry on my blog a few days ago:

Hyphenated American votes "yes" on Obamacare

After considerable mental pain and suffering, Hyphenated American decided that the passage of Obamacare would be in the long-term interests of America. I will applaud if the Obamacare passes - particularly if it passes through the infamous Slaughter Rule. My readers surely would want to know the reasons for my sudden turn-around - it is obvious from my blog that I am a strong opponent of socialized medicine. In all honesty I must confess that Obamacare is a wrong idea at precisely the right time. It is beyond dispute that Obamacare will be devastating to the American healthcare - but at the same time it will most likely destroy the Democratic Party for the next 50 years - and that assuming that Democrats are lucky. Back in November 2008, when conservatives predicted doom and gloom, I believed that Obama's presidency would seriously weaken the liberals - and I am proven right with each passing day.

Read the rest on my blog

P.S. Would you like to exchange links to our blogs?

egb said...

CBO estimates based on what parameters are passed to them. Obama and Pelosi pass parameters they know will work and they know that CBO uses static analysis. If you raise the tax and use the numbers from 2007, you get more money. Only thing is, the rich are very good at not paying taxes and the additional 4% tax will translate to $50,000 or more. Would you throw money into municipal bonds if you could save $50,000 in taxes? The rich will avoid the tax, the savings won't be found and the deficit will grow by $200-300B over the 1-st ten years. That's what my models says.

Always On Watch said...

The WAPO analysis, pointed out that it is just an estimate and no one really knows for sure how the bills costs will really shake out and his particular estimate is more shaky than usual.

This should be trumpeted all over the evening news. Won't be, of course.

10ksnooker said...

Do you know of one time the CBO has made an accurate predicition. Yep, that's the problem isn't it.