A Modest Proposal to Improve Elections - CBO Scoring Resources for Candidates

At some point in the election, based on some criteria I do not understand, a Presidential candidate crosses some threshold of seriousness and they are given Secret Service protection.

I have a similar idea.  At some point in the election, candidates should have the ability to have a certain number of their proposals (spending, regulatory, tax plans) scored by the CBO, just as legislation is scored.  Use of such services would not be mandatory, but I would assume that there would be a certain pressure to get one's own plan scored if one's opponent is waving around a scored plan.

CBO scoring has all sorts of problems, not least of which is the common trick of spending like crazy for 9 years and then inserting some huge imaginary savings in year 10 that makes the whole thing score as budget neutral.  But folks will be able to see that (if they want to) and I think the advantage of being able to see actual costs and revenues of candidate plans in the same way they would be viewed as legislation  (which presumably is the goal of candidate proposals, to turn them into real legislation) would outweigh these shortcomings.

  • jdgalt

    That's much too modest for me.

    I propose a "Sarbanes-Oxley Act" for fiscal promises made by any politician. Let them be open to the same sort of lawsuit that CEOs are, for their over-optimistic statements about the effects of any proposal they make -- even if the statement is made on the floor of Congress.

    This would require constitutional change, but it would hold them personally accountable like nothing else can.

    Barney Frank says Fannie and Freddie are fundamentally sound? Boom! Nine-figure lawsuit! Take that, you fat liar!

  • Jay

    This happens in Australia. Shortly before an election the parties submit their policy plans to the Treasury Department, who issue an independent costing.

  • Joe

    paul krugman - the social security system is solvent - Boom! Nine-figure lawsuit! Take that, you fat liar!