There have been a lot of charges and counter-charges of fuzzy math out there. I’ve probably already said more than I should about the CBO and interpretations of their work. As important as defending the CBO is (and it is), it just isn’t that interesting to me. I don’t like to fight or repeat myself.
Actually, I mostly find the CBO scoring argument sad. There really is no hope for progress of any kind if we can’t even agree to abide by the budget scoring of a non-partisan office. If you don’t think that office is operating in good faith or don’t like the rules by which it operates, then that’s where the debate should be. Tell me some other way to score bills that everyone will agree to and abide by. Better, tell it to your colleagues across the aisle. Figure out the rules. AND THEN STICK BY THEM AND STOP WHINING WHEN THE BALL BOUNCES THE OTHER WAY!!!
I am not impressed with selective second guessing of the work produced by an office so established. I don’t want to hear it from Republicans. I don’t want to hear it from Democrats. I don’t want to hear it from the Tea Party. If my own mother said such things I’d have some firm words with her (respectfully, kindly, but firm). And I love my mother!
Like Jon Cohn, I may sound upset. I am, but only because I care. I don’t want to be upset by one party or the other. I don’t enjoy it. I don’t get a rush. It’s not why I pay attention to politics. I would love nothing better than to see everyone settle down and get to work–good faith, honest, hard work–addressing the problems of this nation, including health care coverage, cost, and quality. I don’t expect we’ll agree on solutions or even what the problems are. But I damn well expect we’ll honor the outcomes of the process we’ve agreed to follow. If we can’t do that, we don’t have a government. We have a bunch of children. I don’t put my children in charge of anything nearly as important as the nation’s health care system. Nor should you.
One more thing, Cohn wrote, “This relentless effort to discredit the Affordable Care Act’s budgeting has been the equivalent of a full employment for folks like Austin, Ezra, and me. For that, I guess, I’m grateful.”
I’m not. It may keep me preoccupied, but I don’t get paid for this. I do it because I care. I want people to understand. I want to be part of the solution. I do love this country, almost as much as my own mother. For country and mom, I pledge not to bash the CBO or to second guess their estimates. Care to join me?
UPDATE: By the way, it is for the very reasons I expressed above that I stuck to the CBO’s estimates in my recent KHN column. There’s just no need to go further. The CBO has provided ample grist for the debate on what matters.