Jonathan Chait

Dept. Of Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

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Wall Street Journal editorial page columnist Kimberly Strassel lays out the next parts of the Affordable Care Act that Republicans will attack:

If the GOP is to dismember ObamaCare, it must pressure Democrats into helping. That's what Republicans did this week. Next up for debate will be other odious elements: the individual mandate, taxes on kids' braces, restrictions on health savings accounts, cuts to Medicare. The GOP will highlight each one and then ask 2012 Democrats what they are willing to defend.

What holds these elements together? They're all elements of the program that reduce deficits. The conservative attack of the PPACA has centered around the claim that the deficit-reducing elements aren't sustainable because Congress won't follow through with them. And now conservatives are trying to make that a reality by systematically proposing to reduce tax revenues and raise expenditures.

I don't think they'll succeed. But if they do, it won't prove their objections were correct. It will only prove that deficit reduction is very difficult in a political culture in which one party is totally unconcerned about the deficit.

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