Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich wants to abolish the Congressional Budget Office, which he called “a reactionary socialist institution.” (More)
On Monday I said we’d discuss willpower this week. However, I ate too much Thanksgiving dinner and was too sleepy to do research. So much for willpower. Instead we’ll do Quick Takes today and tomorrow and try to muster the willpower for willpower next week.
In a speech in New Hampshire on Monday, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said he wants to abolish the Congressional Budget Office:
The Congressional Budget Office is a reactionary socialist institution which does not believe in economic growth, does not believe in innovation and does not believe in data that it has not internally generated.
Gingrich’s description of the CBO is absurd on its face, as noted tweetly by former CBO acting director Donald Marron. But at least this is one issue on which Gingrich has not flip-flopped since his tenure as Speaker of the House in the 1990s. Back then, he railed against and ultimately defunded the Office of Technology Assessment, whose task was to scientifically evaluate policy alternatives. As Crooks and Liars‘ Jon Perr wrote this week:
Now as then, the truth is not setting Republicans free. In the double-speak of GOP leaders like Newt Gingrich, the Congressional Budget Office’s truths are “lies.” And that’s why for the Republican Party dead set on removing another “defense against the dumb,” the CBO must go.
The problem, as Republicans see it, is that CBO reports don’t support their policies. From whether the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act created jobs (yes), to whether the Affordable Care Act reduces the deficit (yes), to whether privatizing Medicare would shift higher health care costs to seniors (yes), to whether income inequality is at its highest level in 80 years (yes), the CBO has a consistent answer to faith-based supply-side economics: (no).
The solution, as Republicans see it, is not to weigh the CBO’s non-partisan, objective analysis and devise policies consistent with Realworldia. Instead, the solution is to abolish the CBO, as they did with the OTA, leaving no reputable, independent source to call out their demonstrably false claims …
… and how better to do that than with a demonstrably false claim: that the CBO is “a reactionary, socialist institution.”
Okay, that claim isn’t entirely false, as former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin conceded:
I think if you parse that phrase carefully, he got one out of three right. I do agree it is an institution. If you’re playing baseball, that’s a decent batting average.