Ten Years Ago at Grasping Reality: June 5, 2007

Must-Read: Mark Thoma: The More Trump Fails, the Better Off We’ll Be: "The Trump administration has gone to war against independent sources of information that pose a challenge to its policy goals and the narratives... http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2017/06/05/More-Trump-Fails-Better-We-ll-Be

...One of the most recent targets is the Congressional Budget Office.... Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, criticized the CBO’s estimate that 23 million people would lose health insurance if the Republican health care plan were to be enacted: “If the same person is doing the score of undoing Obamacare who did the scoring of Obamacare in the first place, my guess is that there is probably some sort of bias in favor of a government mandate.” He went on to claim that the CBO is a partisan organization, and other Republicans defended him by arguing that the CBO’s estimates of insurance coverage under Obamacare were overly optimistic and biased in favor of the Obama administration. In responding to this, it’s useful to remember why Congress created the CBO in the first place. As Peter Suderman explains, the problem Congress was trying to solve was “a powerful executive branch with incentives to offer conveniently misleading, overly rosy projections about the costs and budgetary impacts of major federal expenses like war and entitlements. Congressional frustration boiled over during the Nixon administration… and the Congressional Budget Office was born.” Suderman goes on to conclude, “Basically, the CBO was created as a budgetary power center that could check the influence of the administration’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB).”

It’s telling that Mulvaney is the Director of the OMB, and the administration’s budget is a prime example of “overly rosy” projections–with double-counting thrown in for good measure...