It still doesn’t exist

IT STILL DOESN’T EXIST…. In an apparent effort to appear even more foolish, the Wall Street Journal editorial board rails against a proposed economic stimulus package today, relying on support from the Congressional Budget Office.

The stimulus bill currently steaming through Congress looks like a legislative freight train, but given last week’s analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, it is more accurate to think of it as a time machine. That may be the only way to explain how spending on public works in 2011 and beyond will help the economy today.

According to Congressional Budget Office estimates, a mere $26 billion of the House stimulus bill’s $355 billion in new spending would actually be spent in the current fiscal year, and just $110 billion would be spent by the end of 2010. This is highly embarrassing given that Congress’s justification for passing this bill so urgently is to help the economy right now, if not sooner.

And the red Congressional faces must be very red indeed, because CBO’s analysis has since vanished into thin air after having been posted early last week on the Appropriations Committee Web site.

The Washington Times‘ Donald Lambro does the same, pointing to the CBO report as proof that the stimulus plan won’t improve the economy.

The problem, for those who were away from their computers over the weekend, is that the CBO report conservatives are relying on doesn’t exist. As both The American Prospect‘s Tim Fernholz and the Huffington Post‘s Ryan Grim reported, the CBO “ran a small portion of an earlier version of the stimulus plan” to see how quickly the proposal’s expenditures would be spent. It not only didn’t include large chunks of the stimulus plan, it also didn’t include more recent changes to the rescue package.

The WSJ editorial board describes the non-existent CBO report as “highly embarrassing” for Democrats. The irony is rich.