Tag Archives: cbo

Has ObamaCare Received a CBO Score?

Steny Hoyer’s office says yes:

The Congressional Budget Office has long been a pivotal, though indirect, player in Congressional politics, but it’s hard to think of a time when a bill has hinged so precariously on its findings. This morning, reports are trickling out of Democratic offices, including Whip Steny Hoyer’s, that the CBO score (which will be officially released this afternoon) contains some pretty good news for health reform proponents.

Marc Ambinder says apparently:

Apparently, the CBO says that the bill would reduce Medicare expenditures by about 1.4% per year, extending the solvency of the program by nine years. Thirty-two million Americans will be covered — about 95% of all those eligible. The cost over decade one: $940 billion. The release today will help Speaker Nancy Pelosi fulfill her promise of providing 72 hours to review the bill before the vote, which is on tap for Sunday.

Rep. Paul Ryan says no (PDF):

The Congressional Budget Office has confirmed that there is currently no official cost estimate. Yet House Democrats are touting to the press – and spinning for partisan gain – numbers that have not been released and are impossible to confirm. Rep. James Clyburn stated he was “giddy” about these unsubstantiated numbers. This is the latest outrageous exploitation by the Majority – in this case abusing the confidentiality of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office – to pass their massive health care overhaul at any cost.

If ObamaCare passes, it is hard to take seriously the claim that Obama will ever be able to stand-up to our creditor nations (India, China, Japan, etc.)? He already is disrespected (if liked) throughout the world. If ObamaCare passes, and the largest increase in the welfare state in two generations becomes law, he will be a laughing stock, as well.

Update: The CBO itselfs weighs in (PDF):

Although CBO completed a preliminary review of legislative language prior to its release, the agency has not thoroughly examined the reconciliation proposal to verify its consistency with the previous draft. This estimate is therefore preliminary, pending a review of the language of the reconciliation proposal, as well as further review and refinement of the budgetary projections.

Social Honesty

A Question of Numbers,” by Roger Lowenstein, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/16/magazine/16SOCIAL.html, 16 January 2005 (from slashdot).

Political Divisions Persist After Election: Nation Unsure, Hopeful About Bush, Poll Finds,” by Richard Morin and Dan Balz, Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A16073-2005Jan17.html, 18 January 2005 (from The Corner).

Amid the New York Times’ dishonesty

The C.B.O. assumes that the typical worker would invest half of his allocation in stocks and the rest in bonds. The C.B.O. projects the average return, after inflation and expenses, at 4.9 percent. This compares with the 6 percent rate (about 3.5 percent after inflation) that the trust fund is earning now.

The “trust fund”‘s 3.5 percent return is meaningless. Nyt is conflating two different types of returns. In the second sentence the CBO projection of an average adjusted 4.9% return is for a “typical worker.” The 3.5% adjusted return is for the trust fund as a whole. It ignores the effective return of a typical worker under the current social security return.

The number of workers per retiree has been steadily decreasing over the long haul, while the years worked before receiving benefits has been increasing (every modern worker will have paid into SS for his entire working life, while the first social security beneficiary worked only three years before collecting). So while the lock-box’s adjusted return has been relatively steady, each worker’s return has fallen from many tens of thousands percent to much, much less.

But Nyt’s faces an uphill battle in its propaganda

At a time when Democratic leaders are preparing to challenge many of Bush’s major initiatives, nearly seven in 10 Americans agree that Bush’s victory means that congressional Democrats should compromise with him — even if it means compromising on their party’s principles.

But by 54 percent to 41 percent, the public supported a plan that would include a reduction in the rate of growth of guaranteed benefits and private savings accounts financed with a portion of payroll taxes. A proposal with those elements is under consideration by the Bush administration.

Americans divide equally over Bush’s proposal to index Social Security benefits for future retirees to increases in the cost of living rather than to wage growth as is now the case, a change that would effectively mean benefits would be lower than currently projected. A clear majority of Americans — 55 percent — support the president’s proposal to allow younger workers to put some of their Social Security savings into stocks or bonds. When packaged together, the two components draw the support of 54 percent of those surveyed.

The survey suggests that Democratic leaders may be out of step with their rank and file on the severity of the problems facing Social Security. Those leaders are attempting to thwart Bush’s plans by saying there is no immediate crisis. But two-thirds of all Democrats said they worry that there is not enough money to keep Social Security funded until they retire.

Depending on how the question is asked, polls can give different results. And I believe President Bush is not inclined to follow popular opinion much, in any case. But it’s heartening to see that even with a formerly reputable paper like Nyt abandoning honesty, the President can, at least for now, count popular opinion as a friend.