Democrats have become the epidome of fiscal conservatism: they are apparently crafting a health care bill that apparently costs less that $900 billion over 10 years and ultimately reduces the defict. How do you reduce the budget deficit by spending $900 billion more? By putting in a lot of new taxes and cost costing measures that will supposedly save more than all the new spending.
It’s absurd, of course, to think that Congress will actually allow those cost cutting provisions to move forward (see here for a discussion of all the ways CBO is being asked to assume that Congress will hold down spending–when history shows it is clear that they actually won’t). But let’s assume that we really can painlessly enact new taxes without any adverse consequences to economic growth and the new cost cutting measures without compromising the quality of care. Given the horrifying deficits that we already know are coming ($1.4 trllion this year, trillions more coming) why not just cut that spending and not add on all the new spending?
Of course, the Democrat leaders don’t actually care about making health care reform deficit neutral — that’s just their way of giving some moderates enough cover to vote for the thing and then they will start cooking up legislation to expand benefits and get rid of any provisions that saved money.
Yesterday, I wrote a piece for NRO’s blog Critical Condition reacting to some Democrat analysts suggestion that health care proponents should target their message to women. This cost issue could be the reason why women aren’t buying the push for a government take-over of health care. Women can tell when they are being manipulated: they know that you can’t expand covereage, reduce costs, and maintain quality of care all at the same time. Something is going to be sacrificied–and they know it will likely be both their families’ quality of health care and their wallets.