Free-Marketers Want Dynamic Scoring From New CBO Chief • Washington Examiner

by Joseph Lawler

Almost four dozen prominent free-market political organizations are calling on congressional Republicans to appoint a new Congressional Budget Office director committed to using dynamic scoring and promoting transparency in the budget process.

In a letter sent to Republican leadership and budget committee heads Monday, representatives of 45 conservative libertarian groups wrote that the "CBO needs a new director who would use dynamic scoring more broadly, provide more transparency about models and assumptions, and constantly assess which models provided the most accurate assessments in the past so that methodologies can be refined for the future."

Douglas Elmendorf, a Democratic appointee, is the current director of the nonpartisan official budget scorekeeping agency. Republicans reportedly will not reappoint Elmendorf when his term expires in January and instead will install a budget expert more amenable to dynamic scoring, which takes into account the macroeconomic effects of tax and spending changes.

Republicans fault the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation for not incorporating the macroeconomic effects of changes in laws pertaining to spending or taxes. In the case of tax rate reductions, added economic growth would boost tax revenues, making cuts less costly to the Treasury.

Democratic critics have suggested that using dynamic scoring in the official budget estimates of some tax and spending changes would be fiscally irresponsible. The GOP has proposed to change House rules to make dynamic scoring the norm in the 114th Congress.

The authors of the letter addressed to GOP leaders Monday argued that by "disregarding how incentives change the way people behave, and disregarding the effect of high taxes and government spending in discouraging economic productivity and growth, the CBO has been inherently biased toward larger government and more public spending."

The letter was published on the site of Independent Women's Voice, a free-market women's nonprofit group. It was signed by leaders of conservative groups such as Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Patriots, and Michael Needham of Heritage Action, as well as by libertarians such as Lawson Bader of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Overhauling the CBO's analysis, the groups wrote, would "inevitably lead to the elimination" of the assumption that government spending can have a multiplier effect on economic growth.

Republicans have not said who they plan to choose as the CBO director in 2015. The decision will be made by incoming House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price of Georgia and his counterpart on the Senate Budget Committee, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, as well as by House Speaker John Boehner and president pro tempore of the Senate Orrin Hatch.

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