Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Math is hard

It's like the White House and the CBO are using different calculators:
With all the talk about health-care and Gatesgate, not much attention is being paid to Obama's plan to make the federal government by far the biggest provider of student loans in the country. To sell this plan, its backers argue that the government can save $87 billion over ten years by cutting out the private sector.

As I pointed out in this piece, that savings estimate "hides the additional risk to the taxpayer that comes with putting all those loans on the government’s books. For government accounting purposes, that risk doesn’t exist, nor does the risk that Treasury’s borrowing costs might spike." Sen. Judd Gregg asked CBO to re-run the numbers after accounting for those risks. CBO did, and came back with a savings estimate of $47 billion — nearly half the amount Obama is touting.

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