If you cannot trust government's numbers, you cannot trust government's words. This is the lesson of the House Democrats' desperate promotion of a phony-baloney Congressional Budget Office analysis of their latest health care takeover package.
Democratic leaders leaked a solid-seeming price tag -- $940 billion over 10 years -- before the CBO released any official comment or report. Liberal blogs and mainstream newswires started parroting Democrats' claims that their plan "would cut the deficit by $130 billion over the next decade, and $1.2 trillion in the second decade of the plan's implementation" -- again, before the CBO had released an iota of information, and hours before the House Rules Committee posted the long-awaited reconciliation bill.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn pronounced himself "giddy" over the supposed CBO scoring. Math lover and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi proclaimed: "I love numbers. They're so precise."
But "precise" does not mean "accurate." And the most "precise" numbers can be utterly worthless. That is basically what CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf pointed out in his summary of the unofficial preliminary analysis of Demcare:
"Although CBO completed a preliminary review of legislative language prior to its release, the agency has not thoroughly examined the reconciliation proposal to verify its consistency with the previous draft. This estimate is therefore preliminary, pending a review of the language of the reconciliation proposal, as well as further review and refinement of the budgetary projections."
Translation: Garbage in, garbage out. Elmendorf's weary number crunchers know they are just more stage props in the Oba-Kabuki health care theater. Like the president's partisan donor-doctors dressed up in their White House-supplied lab coats, the CBO's statistical authorities are being exploited to lend credibility and solidity to the Democrats' legislative vaporware.
The CBO didn't release its non-report because it was finished. The agency released it because Democrats needed cover for their bogus transparency pledge to post the bill 72 hours before voting on it (which they still didn't fulfill).
The good news is that the number crunchers say they may have a real, final, useful analysis done by Sunday. The bad news is that House Democrats -- moving forward with their "deem-and-pass" trickery -- are scheduled to ram this monstrosity through by Sunday.