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Happy Holidays to the CBO

PH2009122300201.jpgIf the role of the Federal Reserve is to take away the punchbowl just as the party is getting started, the role of the Congressional Budget Office is to walk around the party telling everyone exactly how drunk they're getting and reminding them that there will be consequences for their actions tomorrow. It's not a particularly fun job. But it is an important one. So I join with Megan McArdle in this:

I would like to point out that there is one group that is especially deserving of a holiday: the CBO analysts who have been scoring this bill. They've been working flat out literally all year, and by this point, they have long ago exhausted any reserves of energy they might once have had. They've been doing this because we wanted to have some sort of reasonable model of how much this was all going to cost, and what it was going to do--and whatever my arguments with the CBO model, they have fulfilled their mandate superbly. In return they get modest government salaries, and absolutely no recognition by anyone except the three people who might recognize a CBO analyst on the street.

So in the spirit of harmony with our fellow men that ought to fill this holiday season, let's offer a very special thank you, and a huge "Happy Holidays!" to the Doug Elmendorf and team at the CBO. I don't know what superhuman powers have allowed them to survive the last six months, but they richly deserve the praise of a grateful nation.

Photo credit: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg.

By Ezra Klein  |  December 29, 2009; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  Budget  
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Next: Climate change is bad, but the Senate is tired


I feel duty-bound to remind you that whenever you quote The McMegan you invite skepticism of your thesis. My rule for her is the inverse of Brad Delong's for Paul Krugman: 1, remember that Megan McArdle is wrong; 2, if your analysis leads you to conclude that Megan McArdle is right, refer to rule #1.

That said, it is early here in Pacific time, so I am having a tough time. Aside from some bad verbiage and a gratuitous slight to models she almost certainly isn't qualified to critique, what has the McMegan done wrong here?

Posted by: wcwhiner | December 29, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Elmendorf? This is the same hack "accountant" who said that requiring that health insurance companies spend 90% of their revenue on healthcare was akin to nationalization? The guy who apparently never heard of public utilities?

Remind me what we're supposed to say to him again?

Posted by: GeorgeTaylor1 | December 29, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Question to Elmendorf: Which of the Pete Peterson institutes dedicated to the destruction of social insurance in the US will be paying you in two years? You are already working *for* them now.

2nd question: What is a public utility?

3rd question: What is the role of profit in health care services?

Posted by: grooft | December 29, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

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