Ryan Grim over at Huffington Post has been doing a good job keeping track of Senator Kent Conrad,(D-Big Insurance.) First, Conrad appointed himself Senate Majority Whip by declaring the public option dead. Since the public option is, in fact, not at all dead, he has now decided to move the goal posts according to Grim:
Instead of measuring the impact of health care reform over ten years, the CBO will use a 20-year window, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) told reporters Tuesday. "You have to do that if you're going to know whether you're bending the cost curve," he said.
The upshot: CBO is likely to estimate that the second decade of the reform bill's life will add to the deficit, giving fuel to critics who say it is too expensive. It would also force backers of the bill to trim subsidies, increase revenue somehow, or break Obama's pledge.
What a jerkoff. Now he wants the CBO to move to 20 year scoring (???) because the ten year scoring isn't stopping the bill. Thats right...he wants us to now start talking about a (insert obscent number here) TRILLION dollar healthcare bill.
We know what will follow:
We just can't afford to spend this much money with our deficit being what it is.
Any CBO estimate will, of course, use inflation and economic growth projections over the next 20 years. Nevermind that the CBO has proven itself consistently wrong as noted by Dean Baker:
The CBO did not even recognize that the collapse of the stock market bubble, which was already in progress, would affect capital gains tax revenue. This caused it to overestimate capital gains tax revenue by more than $300 billion over its 10-year projection period, an amount equal to approximately 1 percent of the budget and 10 percent of the deficit.
It’s not just economic turning points that the CBO tends to miss. They sometimes badly misjudge the impact of specific programs. Last summer, Congress funded a program to keep homeowners facing foreclosure in their homes. The CBO projected that 400,000 loans would be modified under this program by 2011. Through April of 2009, there had been fewer than 1,000 applications, and only 51 completed modifications.
The CBO can't even get 10 year projections correct, nor could we expect any reasonable forecaster to do so. We simply do not know whats going to happen tomorrow, much less 10 years from now. We can only guess, which is exactly what the CBO does unsuccessfully and often.
Conrad's motives are clear:
"But, you know, they are the scorekeeper and we've got to have somebody that we give this responsibility to and that we follow," he said.
HuffPost asked Conrad if he was worried the longer-term projection would tank the reform effort.
"No, but it makes it more challenging," he said.
What a fucking asshole. First he said we couldn't score the bill in five years, but in ten. Now he says, we can't score it in ten, but twenty. Even thought the off base Congressional Budget Offices own rules limit it's analysis to ten years. Doug Elmendorf of the CBO:
CBO does not provide formal cost estimates beyond the 10-year budget window because the uncertainties are simply too great.
Except when Conrad wants to kill healthcare reform.