Green Room

CBO – “We don’t estimate speeches”

posted at 12:49 pm on June 23, 2011 by

Philip Klein beat me to this gem from this morning’s appearance by Congressional Budget Office director Doug Elmendorf, but in 27 seconds, a quick question-and-answer exchange between House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI, and my Congressman) and Elmendorf outlined just how unserious President Barack Obama was in his April 13 speech purporting to reduce the level of deficit spending by $4 trillion over 12 years:

For those of you who for whatever reason aren’t able to play YouTube video, Budget Committee communications director Connor Sweeney provided the transcript:

HBC Chairman Paul Ryan: “We got your re-analysis of the President’s budget. I won’t go back into that. But the President gave a speech on April 13th where he outlined a new budget framework that claims $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 12 years. Have you estimated the budget impact of this framework?”

CBO Director Doug Elmendorf: “No, Mr. Chairman. We don’t estimate speeches. We need much more specificity than was provided in that speech for us to do our analysis.”

Also of note; Congress has not received any of the proposals outlined in that speech from the Office of Budget and Management.

Meanwhile, the two Republican members of Vice President Joe Biden’s deficit-reduction talks, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ), pulled out of the talks over the issue of taxation. Cantor is still hopeful of some sort of deal as the group of 5 Democrats (including Biden) and 2 Republicans had already agreed to $2 trillion of spending cuts reductions in the planned increase in spending over the next 10 years, including items classified as “mandatory” (really, automatically-authorized) spending.

Of course, the CBO projected that, given the most-likely of budgetary decisions (termed the “Alternate Fiscal Scenario”), the publicly-held debt will be over 100% of the Gross Domestic Product by 2021. Given they also project, depending on whether the draconian (especially on the tax side) “Extended-Baseline” scenario or the “Alternate Fiscal” scenario is applied, $6.8 trillion or $13 trillion in deficits the next decade, $2 trillion really is just spitting in the wind.

Revisions/extensions – I don’t know what came over me when I adopted the Beltway definition of “cuts”.

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“No, Mr. Chairman. We don’t estimate speeches.


so dear leader will continue blaming the gop…


cmsinaz on June 23, 2011 at 1:07 PM

If we make it to 2012 and I still get to vote maybe we can restore our great nation. Until then I am supporting people that want sanity again. Orwells 1984 haunts me daily, Ayn Rand seems to be a physic.

IowaWoman on June 23, 2011 at 4:06 PM

The idiots on the left consider this exchange to be a put-down of Ryan.

In the 5th-grade culture they live in, without the drive-bys pointing out the facts, they fail to hear that it’s the President who is floating unrealistic, hypothetical dishonest numbers.

In other words, he is lying.

rwenger43 on June 25, 2011 at 4:25 PM