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First Order Of Business For New GOP-Led Congress: Cook The Books

Republicans are rolling out changes to the way CBO calculates the cost of legislation to make tax cuts cost less and health care cost more.
First Order Of Business For New GOP-Led Congress: Cook The Books

Republicans are readying their plans for their new majority, but first they have some tweaks to make in order to cook the books a bit with the CBO. They call it "dynamic scoring", but it's really a way to make tax cuts look awesome while jacking the cost for health care.

The Hill:

Republicans, preparing to take full control of Congress, have said for weeks that they'll move to force the CBO to evaluate the macroeconomic impacts of fiscal proposals.

The resolution is part of a series of new changes submitted to the House Rules Committee Tuesday that the GOP wants the House to approve when the 114th Congress convenes early next month.
Under the new rule, the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) would be directed to incorporate any macroeconomic effects of legislation into their scoring if the bill is expected to have a significant effect on the economy. The House Rules Committee and the full chamber will likely approve the proposed changes.

Top Republicans have said that "dynamic" scoring is, in the words of incoming House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), "reality-based." Currently, congressional scorekeepers try to account for how tax legislation can change people's behavior.

But in their officials scores, Congress's nonpartisan analysts don't project that a broad overhaul to the tax code would spur economic growth — and thus more revenue for the Treasury.

“This change will allow CBO and Joint Tax to include the non-partisan economic analysis they are already doing into the official scores,” a spokesman for the Rules panel said. “When the House considers major legislation that will have a significant impact on our economy, Members of Congress and the American people deserve the full picture from our budget scorekeepers."

For major legislation, such as tax reform, the CBO and the JCT would need to assess the budgetary effects of changes in “economic output, employment, capital stock and other macroeconomic variables," the proposal says.

They're also blocking Doug Elmendorf's reappointment as head of the CBO. Evidently the guy who was just fine in 2010 isn't anymore, because Congressional conservaKochs want someone who embraces dynamic scoring.


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This is a little like using the current year's interest rates to determine the value of pensions 30 years out from now. By introducing short-term factors into CBO scoring along with measurements that have no business in policymaking -- like impacts on capital markets -- the numbers can be massaged to the point where they're completely meaningless. That's already true to a certain extent now, but after they institute this change, the CBO estimates will be utterly meaningless to anyone but billionaires.

[Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey]

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