Dynamic Scoring Is a Bad Idea

Dynamic scoring is a poor tool for estimating the cost of proposed legislation.

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Dynamic scoring—an attempt to measure the macroeconomic effects of policy changes before they happen—continues to pop up everywhere, even in negotiations by the erstwhile Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, better known as the super committee. Long a favorite tool of antitax zealots, dynamic scoring poses a number of problems that make it a poor tool for estimating the cost of proposed legislation, and the agencies tasked with making these estimates have rightly rejected it for years.

Among those who advocate this method, it is confined to revenue estimates, but it could be applied to spending as well. Fans of dynamic scoring argue that tax cuts pay for themselves, generally by spurring so much economic growth that revenues will actually increase on net. In particular, the Bush administration lobbied for the use of dynamic scoring to estimate the cost of its tax cuts, asserting that tax cuts would increase revenue enough to pay for themselves. Of course the Bush tax cuts did no such thing, instead causing our national debt to explode.

Dynamic scoring was a bad idea then and it is still a bad idea today. In her latest column, "Five Problems with Dynamic Scoring," Sarah Ayres outlines five reasons why we shouldn’t use dynamic scoring.

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