Faced with medical evidence that our nation’s epidemic of gun violence is, in fact, preventable, conservative lawmakers passed laws barring the nation’s government from investigating such things. Faced with mounting scientific evidence of global climate change, conservatives in various states have proposed or passed numerous restrictions on state governments developing plans to prepare for those changes.
So it stands to reason that when faced with the seemingly self-evident news that slashing Medicaid and undoing restrictions on which patients can be unceremoniously dumped by their insurers would, in fact, have the predictable effect of uninsuring millions, conservative House Republicans are introducing legislation to defund the Congressional Budget Office’s analysts and bar the agency from reporting such things in the future.
An amendment filed Monday by Rep. H. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) would eliminate the agency’s Budget Analysis Division, cutting 89 jobs and $15 million of the CBO’s proposed $48.5 million budget. A separate amendment filed by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) would also eliminate the same division and specify that the CBO instead evaluate legislation “by facilitating and assimilating scoring data” compiled by four private think tanks — the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution, and the Urban Institute.
We are not entirely sure when the paramount concern of conservatism shifted from whatever it was before to the urgent demand that America be rid of all the book learners, but here we are and at this point, it is entirely predictable. Give a conservative a number they don’t like, and they will 1.) call it “fake news,” 2.) declare that the number is the result of a worldwide conspiracy against them, personally, and 3.) demand laws be passed to ban the distribution of such numbers to begin with.
For their part, all past directors of the Congressional Budget Office have signed a public letter kindly requesting the House Cro-Magnons shut their prehistoric yaps when it comes to degrading the efforts of a government agency that prides itself on offering their congressional charges the best possible estimates of what their various congressional fits and obsessions might actually result in, once translated into individual bits of actual legislation. The likely result of this letter will be a new bill from Griffith or Meadows barring the written word. There are simply too many people writing inconvenient things, these days.