CBO Performs Voodoo Math and Other Undead Zombie Health Care Updates; UPDATE: ‘Does the CBO’s Shady Accounting Trick Make My Butt Look Big?’ UPDATE II: Ramming Speed! ‘Slaughter Solution’ Passes 222-203
Posted on | March 18, 2010 | 28 Comments
UPDATE 3:56 p.m. ET: Michelle Malkin has the details on the procedural vote whereby the House Democrats approved the so-called “Slaughter Solution” to allow them to pass the Senate version without actually voting on it. This is a Constitution-be-damned-just-ram-it-through move, and Michelle links this fretful remark from AOSHQ:
“I am getting really worried, because if 222 Democrats voted for this unconstitutional, very-unpopular maneuver, doesn’t that mean that all 222 will also vote for the bill itself? Why vote for this if you’re not going to vote for that?”
Yeah, we’re teetering on the brink here. Yet there is strange optimism (!) from Allahpundit:
Altmire dumped on the Slaughter strategy before voting for it. So did Stephen Lynch — who, interestingly, said he was a no on the bill itself just a few hours ago. My hunch is that they both want to vote no on O-Care but don’t want to be blamed for tying Pelosi’s hands in case she’s able to get to 216 by using Slaughter, so they’re throwing the leadership a bone on this vote.
This charade is so twisted and bizarre, it’s impossible to calculate the odds. I think the undecided Democrats have been so relentlessly arm-twisted by Rahm and Nancy that they’re like suspects who, under extraordinary police interrogration, confess to crimes they didn’t commit.
UPDATE 2:30 p.m. ET: Jacob Sullum at Reason‘s Hit & Run:
The Medicare savings, which may not actually materialize because they depend on reimbursement changes Congress has been loath to maintain in the past, total nearly $500 billion during the first decade, compared to total deficit reduction of $130 billion. . . .
CBO warns that it “does not generally provide cost estimates beyond the 10-year budget projection period” and that its projections for the second decade are subject to “an even greater degree of uncertainty” than its projections for the first 10 years. . . . Yet the Democrats have transformed these highly uncertain projections into a seemingly precise and reliable dollar figure: $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction during the second decade.
What basically happened is that Democrats were rushing to get out the CBO scores so that they could have some sort of claim to have released them 72 hours prior to a vote, which they want to hold on Sunday. But we won’t have 72 hours to look at the actual final scores.
Phil provides this graphic illustrating the Democrats’ clever accounting trick:
It’s like a fat chick wearing a black skirt because she thinks it makes her look skinny. The Lonely Conservative dubs it the “ObamaCare Layaway Plan.” More blog commentary from Gateway Pundit, Nice Deb, The New Editor, Confederate Yankee, Le·gal In·sur·rec· tion, IMAO, Sister Toldjah and Weasel Zippers.
PREVIOUSLY: As of 1 p.m., the official Congressional Budget Office estimate of ObamaCare’s budget is overloaded by traffic, but don’t worry: The rectal extraction accounting process is sufficiently transparent that Ed at Hot Air and Steve at No Runny Eggs can read it:
CBO and JCT previously estimated that enacting H.R. 3590 by itself would yield a net reduction in federal deficits of $118 billion over the 2010-2019 period, of which about $65 billion would be on-budget. . . . That incremental effect is an estimated net reduction in federal deficits of $20 billion over the 2010-2019 period over and above the savings from enacting H.R. 3590 by itself; almost all of that reduction would be on-budget.
Translation: We’ve cooked the books with a shamelessness that would make Enron blush!
Steny Hoyer is happier than a shoplifter who just found out the security camera system is out of order.
UPDATE: Whatever you do, don’t call Doug Elmendorf at the CBO and say, “Hey, this is Bernie Madoff — great work you’re doing there!”
UPDATE II: Drew M at AOSHQ:
I’m not going to pretend to be a budget wonk but aside from the fact that the CBO projections are based on the ‘facts’ provided to them by Democratic leadership, the Director of the CBO says this isn’t a real estimate . . .
The question is, will enough Democrats who claim to worry about the deficits drink this Kool-Aid and consider this a sufficient fig leaf to go over the cliff with Nancy? I fear the answer is yes.
Again, I implore readers: Please do not make prank phone calls to CBO at (202) 226-2700.
UPDATE III: Daniel Foster quotes this from the CBO report:
Although CBO completed a preliminary review of legislative language prior to its release, the agency has not thoroughly examined the reconciliation proposal to verify its consistency with the previous draft. This estimate is therefore preliminary, pending a review of the language of the reconciliation proposal, as well as further review and refinement of the budgetary projections.
(Hat-tip: Instapundit.) Basically, the CBO has been assigned to evaluate a proposal that was plastic as Play-Do, with the legislative ingredients re-jiggered until Elmendorf’s crew could give them the budget estimate they wanted. Twitter buddy Greg Howard:
DID AL GORE & EAST ANGLIA DO THE CBO NUMBERS?
Yeah, so no fair calling Doug Elmendorf, faking a British accent and telling him you’re from the Climate Research Unit and want to hire him to do his mathematical magic on the global-warming numbers.
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