Suppose someone – say, the president of United States – proposed the following: We are drowning in debt. More than $14 trillion right now. I’ve got a great idea for deficit reduction. It will yield a savings of $230 billion over the next 10 years: We increase spending by $540 billion while we increase taxes by $770 billion.
That is how Charles Krauthammer begins his column this morning. And, yes, that in a nutshell is the Democrat argument for keeping Obamacare. I count on my fingers, but even I know that the claim by Obamacare supporters that repealing the monster health care reform will add $230 billion to the deficit is spurious. The Democrats are attributing this wisdom to the Congressional Budget Office. The folks there don’t have to count on their fingers, but they do have certain-ahem–parameters:
[T]he very numbers that yield this $230 billion “deficit reduction” are phony to begin with. The CBO is required to accept every assumption, promise (of future spending cuts, for example) and chronological gimmick that Congress gives it. All the CBO then does is perform the calculation and spit out the result.
In fact, the whole Obamacare bill was gamed to produce a favorable CBO number. Most glaringly, the entitlement it creates – government-subsidized health insurance for 32 million Americans – doesn’t kick in until 2014. That was deliberately designed so any projection for this decade would cover only six years of expenditures – while that same 10-year projection would capture 10 years of revenue. With 10 years of money inflow vs. six years of outflow, the result is a positive – i.e., deficit-reducing – number. Surprise.
The better way to cut the deficit is to cut spending. (Hmmmm, why didn’t we think of this berore?) Wow! That is what the Republican Study Committee is proposing: “Reductions would be deeper than GOP leaders have proposed,” says the subhead in today’s Washington Post. The cuts are going to have to be deep. The proposed Republican plan cuts $2.5 trillion over ten years. It’s a start. As the Post notes, cuts would target (are we still allowed to talk this way) the federal work force:
Democrats and public employee unions responded to Thursday’s proposals with frustration, warning of dramatic cuts in services and an erosion of their quality.
“Even if drastic reductions such as these are ultimately not enacted into law, proposals like these get in the way of vital agency recruitment and retention efforts,” Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a statement.
A plan that makes “vital agency recruitment and retention” for cushy jobs in the federal government difficult? Right there, you’ve got a plus. Krauthammer, by the way, says that repeal of Obamacare is the first step to financial reform (also a good step towards genuine health care reform that helps patients).