fresh voices from the front lines of change







The conservative response to the Congressional Budget Office analysis that health care reform will cut the deficit more than $1 trillion over the next two decades is simply to call the nonpartisan analysts liars.

For some reason, when the CBO was harshly criticizing early drafts of Democratic health proposal, conservatives thought the CBO was so awesome, and some even claimed Democrats would devilishly refuse to let CBO score the final bill before the vote.

Let’s take a Hot Tub Time Machine journey all the way back to 2009.

* The CBO director Doug Elmendorf just told Congress that early Democratic draft would raise the health care cost curve. And top Republicans thought the CBO was pretty sharp. From the W. Post:

Republicans also seized on Elmendorf’s remarks, with House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) saying they prove “that one of the Democrats’ chief talking points is pure fiction.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Elmendorf’s testimony should serve as a “wake-up call” to Obama and Democratic leaders to heed requests from lawmakers in both parties to slow down the process.

* Boehner’s office put out a statement heralding the CBO: “Exposed: CBO Confirms Democrats’ Plan Will Increase Americans’ Health Care Costs.”

* GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley was calling the CBO “God.”

* GOP Rep. Mike Pence really appreciated the CBO analysis of his own bill, with a news release headlined: “Pence Hails CBO Report on Republican Health Care Bill.”

* The Heritage foundation blog trumpeted: “CBO Deals Another Crushing Blow to Obamacare.”

Now, get back in the Hot Tub Time Machine and return to the present day, 2010.

* RNC Chair Michael Steele said of the CBO conclusion that the pending bill will cut the deficit more than $1 trillion: “That’s a lie.”

* Multiple Fox News personalities trash the CBO, with the Fox Nation website also calling the CBO score “a lie.”

* Hell hath no fury like Rep. Boehner’s CBO love scorned: “That’s why the whole so-called CBO scoring issue is a fallacy.”

* And Rep. Pence is not “hailing” the CBO anymore: “Only in Washington, can you spend a trillion dollars and say you’re gonna save the taxpayers’ money.”

When the CBO gave the Democrats analysis that was politically harmful to their position, Democrats respected the CBO analysis and responded by modifying the legislation to make it even more fiscally responsible.

When the CBO gave conservatives numbers politically harmful to their view, they ended their love affair with the CBO, and decried the agency as not credible.

But it’s not the CBO’s credibility that’s drowning.

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