Abstract: Research shows, for example, that federal spending on things like safe housing and nutrition assistance for babies makes people healthier and reduces total health costs. [...]because of the rules Congress set, cbo cost estimates for these programs cannot assume taxpayers would save any money on health insurance costs or that taxpayers would spend less on Medicaid. Reforming these economic models would not be easy. cbo cost estimates generally exclude the potential macroeconomic effects of a proposed policy precisely because, as they explain it, they have too few analysts to crunch the numbers. [...]policymakers need to remember that modeling the costs and benefits of major public policies isn't just about numbers-it's also about our values.