Originally Posted by Don Zeko
I've said it before, I'll say it again. The whole point of a CBO score is to provide a best estimate answer to the question "How will the budget deficit in an world in which we pass this bill compare to the budget deficit in an alternate universe in which we don't?" So you have Scenario A, in which the bill passes and is not repealed, which you compare to scenario B, in which it doesn't pass/is quickly repealed. Everyone agrees that the doc fix will continue to be passed every year in both scenarios, so there's no reason to include the cost of the Doc Fix in your estimates of how Scenario A differs from Scenario B. It just means that the current law projections understate the budget deficit, which is why the CBO has an alternative baseline budget model that includes predictable changes to current law like the Doc Fix.
I think this all misses the point. The Congressional Budget Office's purpose is to restore balance between the presidential and congressional branches. Both Theodore Lowi and Bruce Ackerman
have argued about reforms designed to restore this balance. Ironically, I think this partisan side-stepping of the CBO means it works, and what the CBO needs is a supporter outside the government, to give its estimates some credibility. Between a future where corrupted interest groups and their whores in the government slug it out and what Lowi called "judicial democracy" or Ackerman's "restored balance", I'd take the latter two, even if the former is more entertaining. Americans no longer have the luxury of that kind of democratic - and in this sense I mean the most insulting connotation of that word - wastefulness.