Republican Daddy Will Not Save You: The CBO Edition

One reason professional Democrats suck at their jobs is they don’t replace right-wing ideologues with Democrats (boldface mine):

Early in his administration, amid backlash to the Affordable Care Act and the rise of the tea party movement, President Barack Obama pivoted toward austerity… pushing for a sweeping proposal to slash trillions of dollars from the federal deficit over the following 10 years.

The proposal, which included hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, federal pensions, and a host of other components of the social safety net, called for gutting federal spending by $2 to $3 for every $1 raised by tax increases on wealthy Americans and large corporations.

For many right-wing economists, Obama’s vision of austerity was not enough. One economist in particular, Phillip Swagel of the American Enterprise Institute, panned Obama’s plan. Swagel dismissed the lopsided mix of spending cuts and tax increases — a mix that would likely be seen as draconian by today’s standards — as “politics, not economics” and argued that the tax provisions in the president’s plan were a ploy to enable more federal spending in the future.

Asked by Gwen Ifill on PBS NewsHour in September 2011 if the proposal amounted to “class warfare” against wealthy Americans, Swagel responded simply: “Yeah.”

Naturally, he became the head of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) which assesses the costs of congressional budget plans. What could possibly go wrong?

…budget scoring is a highly subjective practice that, in the past, has tended to produce estimates that vary wildly from the actual budgetary effects of a policy once enacted. And Swagel, whose history indicates a deep antipathy for investments in social programs and climate resilience, has the power to help steel the spine of conservative Democrats looking to weaken the boldest climate action and largest expansion of the social safety net in a generation.

As that article notes, Swagel already fucked Democrats over on the $15/hour minimum wage, so he’s doing great!

Seriously, one governance failure by professional Democrats stems from not placing Democrats in positions of authority. I’m not expecting a lefty, but someone who isn’t a right-wing Republican budget hawk would be nice.

This is yet another reason why we can’t have nice things.

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