Bruce Reed celebrates the Baucus bill for ushering in a new era of fiscal responsibility: “It’s time to live within our means again. On the eve of the Senate finance committee’s important step in that direction, we can all be grateful that for once our diet really does start tomorrow.”
Actually, it’s the continuation of an old era of gaming the CBO. Reed is surely aware that the CBO’s rosy estimate of the Baucus bill’s budget impact rests on assumptions that it suggests are unrealistic. He links to a Rich Lowry column that makes that point, although he does not mention the caveat himself. His fallback position: “The Baucus bill isn’t perfect,” but it’s “a serious bill with serious offsets.”
So it’s okay to add a few hundred billion dollars to the deficits of the next decade because the bill pays for a lot of its new spending. Some diet.