Congressional Republicans are planning to block the reappointment of Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Elmendorf. Under Elmendorf’s leadership, the CBO has had the bad habit of finding that Republican budget proposals that don’t add up don’t add up. The Republicans want a director who isn’t such a stickler.
Basically, they want to get rid of all the economists and accountants and hire fabulists who will replace responsible accountancy with story-telling. Nothing will have to add up, it will just have to conclude with “and we all got rich happily ever after.”
According to Bloomberg’s Dave Weigel, there are conservative economists and analysts who think this is a bad idea. They think Elmendorf’s training, experience, and history show him to be the right person for the job of running the non-partisan CBO. But it’s Elmendorf’s non-partisanship that rankles Republicans. Arguments that he’s unbiased are arguments against him in their minds. If you’re not biased for them, you’re biased against them.
Republican lawmakers who have questioned the office’s analysis were unmoved. They agreed with calls from incoming House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price for a new director who might introduce so-called dynamic scoring to CBO analysis.
Dynamic scoring is the idea that policy changes can induce significant macroeconomic effects, such as tax cuts partially paying for themselves.
Dynamic scoring is the “idea” that what reality has proven time and time again doesn’t work will work this time if we all believe it and clap loudly enough. It works by taking into account the fact that wishes are horses and beggars will ride.
By the way, that’s Doctor Tim Price who’s the incoming chair of the House Budget Committee. Doctor as in M.D. not Ph.D. in economics. This continues the Republican principle that not being qualified to know what you’re talking about on a given issue qualifies you to oversee legislation dealing with that issue, e.g. climate change denialists and creationists on various committees dealing with science. A budget committee chair who may not be able to add and subtract but can set a broken bone---Price is an orthopedic surgeon---is apparently just what the country need to get this its finances under control.
Once upon a time there was a joke going around that the Republican Party was the Party of Ideas.
What made the joke really funny was that Ronald Reagan was President at the time.
Unfortunately, many Republicans and many members of the Washington Press Corps and punditocracy didn’t get the joke. They didn’t even know it was a joke.
The Republicans have had one over-arching “idea” since 1933 which they’ve been pushing and pushing over and over again and that’s been to repeal the New Deal and get the nation back onto the firm economic footing it was on on October 28, 1929. Every “idea” they’ve put forth since has been a rephrasing of that original one and every single reiteration has boiled down to “Let the rich run the place like it’s their private toy room”. They’ve just hired generations of skillful admen to find different ways to dress it up in words that sound smart, if you don’t think about what they mean, which is nothing.
All this past election season, apologists and flunkeys for the Republicans in the Political Press Corps kept assuring us that the responsible grown-ups in the party had finally gotten the Tea Party crazies under control. This continued after Eric Cantor lost in a primary to a Tea Party crazy. The Republicans did not take control of the Senate and increase their majority in the House by adding moderates to their caucus. Getting rid of Elmendorf is something the Tea Party crazies want done. The thing is, though, there’s really no difference between the supposed grown-ups and the Tea Party crazies except that the supposed grown-ups have better manners (around reporters. They’re boors around the President of the United States). All Republicans are united by one “idea.”
Undressed up by admen, it amounts to this: Don’t tell me how to make money. Don’t tell me what to do with my money. And don’t dare tell me I should share my money. I don’t owe anything to anybody.
My money. My country. I get to do with them whatever I want and anything that tells me that’s not a good thing is going to get tossed out the window.
That includes math.
Read all of Weigel’s story, Republicans Block Reappointment of CBO Chief Doug Elmendorf, at Bloomberg.