CBO – “We don’t estimate speeches”
posted at 12:49 pm on June 23, 2011 by Steve Eggleston
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”.