Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Monday, September 6, 2010 2:24 pm

We’re talking about “equality” here. No wonder a Republican senator is having trouble.

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns! — Lex @ 2:24 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I have long believed that the Congressional Budget Office is staffed by robots — not because of the quality (or lack thereof) of their work, but because I think carbon-based life forms would be unable to respond to idiotic question after idiotic question from congresscritters and their staffers, day in and day out, year in and year out, without allowing at least a modicum of snark to seep into their reports and responses. And yet, as with the watchdogs of the Governmental Accountability Office, they manage to continue to produce reports and analyses from which every last bit of partisanship, emotion and edge has been thoroughly expunged.

If you think I exaggerate, consider the recent question posed by the felicitously named Sen. Mike Crapo, Republican of Idaho (flagged by Sarabeth at If passing certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act was estimated to reduce the deficit by $455 billion over 10 years; what effect would repealing these same provisions have on the deficit?

Picture, if you will, the CBO office in which this communication is first received. Normal, carbon-based life forms would be saying things to an imaginary Crapo like, “OK, Mike, it’s like this. See this cookie? This cookie is the part of the deficit affected by the act. If we enact the act [holds cookie behind back], the cookie goes away. But if we then repeal the act [brings hand forward again], the cookie comes back. Got it?”

But because normal, carbon-based life forms aren’t involved, instead we get this:

Finally, you asked what the net deficit impact would be if certain provisions of PPACA and the Reconciliation Act that were estimated to generate net savings were eliminated—specifically, those which were originally estimated to generate a net reduction in mandatory outlays of $455 billion over the 2010–2019 period. The estimate of $455 billion mentioned in your letter represents the net effects of many provisions. Some of those provisions generated savings for Medicare, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and some generated costs. If those provisions were repealed, CBO estimates that there would be an increase in deficits similar to its original estimate of $455 billion in net savings over that period.

In other words, a = a. It’s standard pre-algebra. It’s called the Reflexive Property of Equality. Learn it, love it, live it.

And then there’s this lagniappe, which I am not making up: Crapo is considered such a whiz on this subject that his party has made him the ranking minority member on the Senate Finance subcommittee on healthcare.

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