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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Thursday, January 25, 2007

CBO Required to Assume Falsehoods

If Congressional Dems want to make real changes, perhaps they should start with truth in accounting:
The federal budget deficit will fall to $172 billion this year and $98 billion next year, then disappear completely by 2012, according to a report released yesterday by the Congressional Budget Office. But virtually nobody -- not even top CBO officials -- believes it.

That is because the CBO, the nonpartisan office that supplies Congress with cost estimates, is required to make some whopping assumptions, including: that all of President Bush's tax cuts will expire on schedule in 2010; that the alternative minimum tax will be permitted to ensnare millions of additional taxpayers; and that the war in Iraq and other military operations will never cost much more than the $70 billion that has so far been approved for the fiscal year that ends in September.

Back in the real world, even Democrats want to extend at least some of the Bush tax cuts. Even the White House wants to halt the expansion of the alternative minimum tax. And, as for global war efforts, the president is calling for an additional 21,500 troops to be sent to Iraq and is expected to ask Congress to approve an additional $100 billion for this year alone.
It seems rather silly, perhaps almost dangerous, to ignore reality in our budget forecasts. These projections should be a useful tool to look at the future and gauge legislation by. But if they're allowed to ignore what will really happen, they're completely pointless.