Thursday, January 29, 2009

The REAL CBO Report

Guest posted by Broadway Carl

According to Think Progress, this much ballyhooed Congressional Budget Office report that was used to criticize the Obama Recovery Bill by Republicans was cited 81 times in the last six days by the talking heads on television and in print; they criticized that spending was initally slow and that only 35% of the package would be spent by 2011.

There's just one problem with that: the CBO report they were citing doesn't exist. Rather, the media and Republican opposition to the bill were citing a partial report that didn't include the planned tax cuts, unemployment benefit extensions and numerous other factors. Even after Press Secretary Robert Gibbs explained that everyone was citing an incomplete report in his press conference on Friday, inaccurate reporting continued on the news.

New Meet The Press host David Gregory used the CBO report in criticism on Sunday morning and I personally witnessed Nora O'Donnell on MSNBC ask about the partial report when questioning Congressman Chris Van Hollen late Monday afternoon! But I suppose if it isn't scandalous it doesn't sell, so why bother with accuracy?

Well guess what? The CBO actually released a complete report Monday evening which shows that, just as the Obama administration has been saying, about ¾ of the stimulus package would be injected into the economy within the first 18 months.

From the CBO report (emphasis mine):

This is the first cost estimate that CBO has prepared for H.R. 1 in its entirety. A previous preliminary estimate that has been widely cited addressed only the budgetary impacts of an earlier version of the provisions contained in Division A, at the request of the House Committee on Appropriations.

CBO has since made small changes to our estimates of the portion of the bill that was included in that preliminary estimate, mostly to reflect amendments to the legislation since we prepared the last estimate. Based on information provided by the committee and discussions with numerous state officials, we also made small technical changes to that earlier estimate.
I wonder how quickly the very serious mainstream media will report on this, and if they'll mention it 81 times in six days? I'm also sure the GOP will ignore it while tending to their fudge, since it doesn't fit into their agenda.

I mean, think about it. All we've heard the latest cheap Republican talking point is the expenditure of $200 million for Medicaid to be used for contraception and all the hysteria from the right asking how something like that can stimulate the economy. They are completely ignoring the fact that education, prevention of STDs and unwanted pregnancies can help in reducing governmental financial responsibilities later on. But the word "contraception" is a touchstone for their religious right base, even though the money planned for this program is only 0.00024% of the total package.

What's the GOP solution? More tax cuts. You know, because it's worked so well before.

(H/T Bob Cesca)

Cross-posted at Broadway Carl's Blog-O-Mania!

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