Thursday, April 21, 2011

Budget Chicanery

Holy Math Mistakes Batman! I read a Fox News article claiming that the administration overestimated the savings for its long run budget plan by 1.8 trillion dollars. I knew nothing about this story had to be true. I mean the story doesn't even have a writer's name attached, it most likely was plugged into the algorithms' used to attack any Secular Kenyan Socialist President, but I digress. The interesting tid bit was this story was actually quoting a Committee for a Responsible Budget report claiming that the administration overestimated long-term savings, and the real kicker, Representative Ryan's plan did not. When reading this I knew there was something afoot. Let's go to the charts. This is the first chart of the report, and it appears to show this difference in deficit projections:

Unfortunately if you can see that tiny print at the bottom, the CFRB is using CBO reports on Obama's budget, versus using calculate Paul Ryan's budget. My only assumption is they must be defaulting to Ryan's budget calculations. I don't need to rehash the criticisms of this budget proposal, but let's just say Heritage has been reforming its user access to its data sets lately. I just don't understand the point of this report. Why did the CFRB not just put out a detailed analysis of the President's budget? Why did it have to compare it to other budgets if they were not also doing the analysis of those budgets? I wonder if this has something to do with Paul Ryan giving his plan first. By being the first to speak, he became the rule setter of the debate. He was the person out on their own showing courage. Whereas when Obama entered the conversation it became a debate because there were now two opposing arguments. Whatever dynamic is going on here, this seems a tad bit irresponsible to me.

1 comment:

  1. I too am interested in the different reactions to Ryan's budget and Obama's budget. For some reason, Republicans are still trusted as the adults when it comes to fiscal policy--despite all evidence to the contrary. I think this says something about the American elite, and especially the elite media: namely, that the people most think-tankers and pols surround themselves with are people not likely to benefit* from Democratic policies. I think it has been this way for a very long time as well--at least in the post-scarcity era. Bond yields trump unemployment figures, balanced budgets trump health insurance accessibility, and so on. Thus, when presented with two competing budget proposals, Washington is wired to accept Republican claims at face-value.

    *As research shows, this is not necessarily the case--Democratic governance is associated with an improving economy. If I wasn't so lazy I would find the link to this paper.