Booyah! My Fictional Number Beats Your Fictional Number!


So now the Congressional Budget Office has evaluated both the Boehner and Reid debt ceiling plans. Here’s how they score the purported spending cuts over the next 10 years compared to what advocates for the respective plans said that the plans would cut:

Harry Reid’s plan as advertised: $2.7 trillion
CBO projection: $2.2 trillion

John Boehner’s plan as advertised: $1 trillion
CBO projection: $710 billion

Reid still wins, by a large margin. You can see why many Republicans aren’t smitten with Boehner’s plan.

But forget those figures for a moment. Here are the two numbers I’d really like to see: forecasted GDP under each plan and projected unemployment under each plan. That’s a much sounder basis on which to evaluate these plans — and the whole austerity craze — than just … whose is bigger.


David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.