NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Critics Disappointed At CBO Report

June 8, 1999

The Congressional Budget Office recently published a study purporting to identify 246 policy options for trimming government spending. But critics charge that it strays far from that goal and largely presents advice on how to raise taxes.

  • The compendium features 56 "revenue options" -- a code word for tax increases.
  • Many of the spending options are said to be unrealistic -- and would save no more than 4.7 percent of the $9.1 trillion the federal government expects to spend over the next five years.
  • CBO does not propose to eliminate a single Cabinet department, arguing that savings from doing so could not be estimated reliably.
  • CBO is criticized for offering the same spending options year after year, despite the fact that Congress has ignored those same options year after year.

For example, the option to eliminate Amtrak's federal subsidies first appeared in 1986. The option to cancel the International Space Station appeared a year later. This year's compendium repeats the same options.

Source: James Carter (U.S. Senate economist), "Throwing the Game," Investor's Business Daily, June 8, 1999.


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