It’s bad enough that Republicans have declared war on science, and war on facts: now they are declaring war on math. Newt Gingrich says that the Congressional Budget Office should be abolished, mainly it will tell him things that he doesn’t like. As Brian Beutler of TPM notes, any attempt to repeal health care reform will increase the deficit, and the Republicans don’t want to have that headline.
But this is more than short-term politics: it is long-term ideology, a reflection of the postmodernism that has taken over the Republican Party. Gingrich invented the Republican trend of institutional destruction: two of his first acts as Speaker were to abolish the Office of Technology Assessment, and then to zero out the Administrative Conference of the United States. Obviously, these sorts of institutions matter a lot to environmental lawyers.
Although Gingrich will never be President, his “thought” (if one can call it that) often presages Republican policies. My own sense is that a Republican Congress under a Romney Adminstration will not get rid of the CBO, but rather simply fire its personnel and replace them with ideological hacks from the Heritage Foundation who will say what they want them to say. This resembles Trent Lott’s modus operandi when he was Senate Majority Leader: when the Senate parliamentarian ruled in ways that Lott didn’t like, Lott fired him.
Then we will find lots of CBO “studies” arguing that environmental regulations have caused just about every economic and social problem in the United States. Environmental law scholars should be ready.