The Congressional Budget Office has issued its numbers for the Republican substitute for Obamacare – and the numbers don’t look good. The Wall Street Journal editorial page has gone into some of the problems with the CBO’s numbers.1 A lot of the problems relate to the strictures within which the CBO has to operate. The CBO only looks at the next ten years.2 They have to assume programs will sort of actually work like they say they will work. They can’t ignore provisions that are obviously never going to come into effect because Congress will change them.3
All of which reminds me of an executive where I used to work. He would say to this one guy, “I need a number.” The employee would give all kinds of good reasons why he couldn’t give him a good number. He hadn’t inspected the property. He hadn’t looked at the local market. And so on and so on. But the executive, who was actually the Executive Vice President, would yell, “I don’t care. I need a number. Give me a number.” The employee would eventually give him a number. And the Executive Vice President, even though he knew that the number was not based on good information and that he only got the number by yelling at the employee, would use the number in making his decision.