Newt Gingrich: Congressional Budget Office Is 'A Reactionary Socialist Institution'

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich blasted the Congressional Budget Office on Monday in New Hampshire.

According to CNN Money, the Republican contender described the CBO as "a reactionary socialist institution which does not believe in economic growth, does not believe in innovation and does not believe in data that it has not internally generated."

The agency, which in its own words is "nonpartisan," is described on its own website as follows:

CBO's mandate is to provide the Congress with:

-Objective, nonpartisan, and timely analyses to aid in economic and budgetary decisions on the wide array of programs covered by the federal budget and
-The information and estimates required for the Congressional budget process.

Gingrich's comment drew criticism from various sources. Per CNN Money, "Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former CBO director and Republican, called the Gingrich allegation 'ludicrous.'" Stan Collender, whom CNN describes as "a former Capitol Hill aide who worked for the House and Senate Budget Committees," had some harsh words for Gingrich, saying that the candidate "should know better, and he should be ashamed of himself." Collender called the CBO "bipartisan" and said they are "the best group as analysts I've ever met."

The Wall Street Journal reports that Gingrich "called for dismantling" the CBO. Per ThinkProgress, Gingrich also blasted the CBO last week when he said the agency "actually constrains what people are allowed to think."

Political Correction's Jamison Foser explains that Gingrich has not always been so critical of the CBO. Foser cites, among other examples, a 1995 press conference during which Gingrich discussed working on a balanced budget. "We did it honestly, using the Congressional Budget Office which was tough," said Gingrich. Foser also points to a Los Angeles Times story from 1995, also involving budget talks, in which Gingrich, who was Speaker of the House at the time, "declared that the agreement on the use of CBO numbers was a significant step." He is reported to have said, "There is absolute agreement that everything that will be discussed starting tomorrow will have been scored by CBO."

Gingrich did not reserve the "socialist" label for the CBO. As HuffPost's Jon Ward reports, the GOP candidate also took a jab at his rival Mitt Romney by arguing in a proposal released on Monday that health care mandates at the state or federal level lead to "socialized medicine."

Gingrich's CBO criticism comes on the same day that he proposed his alternative plan to Social Security. AP reports:

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich on Monday proposed allowing younger workers still decades away from retirement to bypass Social Security and instead choose private investment accounts that would be subject to stock market gyrations.

The former House speaker, who has risen in the polls, would allow younger workers to take their share of the payroll tax that funds Social Security and put it in a private account.