The GOP is unwise to delegitimize the CBO even out of pure political self-interest. The agency frequently produces analysis that Democrats could live without. When President Barack Obama wanted to raise the minimum wage, CBO estimated that hundreds of thousands of jobs would be lost. CBO analysis finds that Obamacare reduces employment. It finds that reducing Social Security benefits is better for economic growth than raising Social Security taxes, and the agency frequently discusses the negative economic impact of higher marginal tax rates. CBO’s 1994 analysis of President Bill Clinton’s health-care proposal played a role in its ultimate failure.
Republicans are in power now, but they won’t be forever. When Democrats are back in charge, they are likely to exaggerate the benefits and understate the costs of policies they champion. Republicans will be grateful then for a fully intact CBO, producing analysis the rest of Washington believes to be credible.