JONATHAN COHN JANUARY 5, 2011
As readers know, the Republican effort to repeal health care reform runs smack into their promise to balance the budget, since the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has projected the Affordable Care Act will reduce the deficit by more than $100 billion in the first decade and by more than $1 trillion in the second. Eric Cantor, the new House Majority Leader and a champion of repeal, insists that there's no contradiction here because the CBO projections are incorrect.
Of course, he and other Republicans were more than happy to cite CBO projections back in 2009, when they were useful to the Republican cause. Then again, this is the same Republican Party and, in some cases, the same Republican Congressmen that happily dispensed with the conventions of government accounting in order to pass the Bush Medicare drug package. That initiative raised deficits by hundreds of billions of dollars because its sponsors, unlike the architects of the Affordable Care Act, didn't even try to find offsetting revenue or savings.
In any event, Ezra Klein has chapter-and-verse on why Cantor's argument about the CBO analysis is wrong. If you have a second, it's worth reading, as always. In the meantime, the office of Representative Pete Stark, Democrat from California, has also responded to Cantor. I'm not in the habit of reprinting press releases, but I rather liked this one:
Cantor seems to be completely divorced from reality – telling reporters that he doesn't believe that health reform actually cuts the deficit. To make it clear for Cantor, here are the quotes from the non-partisan, independent CBO:
"CBO and JCT estimate that enacting both pieces of legislation—H.R. 3590 and the reconciliation proposal—would produce a net reduction in federal deficits of $143 billion over the 2010–2019 period as result of changes in direct spending and revenues." (page 5)
"Reflecting the changes made by the reconciliation proposal, the combined effect of enacting H.R. 3590 and the reconciliation proposal would also be to reduce federal budget deficits over the ensuing decade relative to those projected under current law—with a total effect during that decade in a broad range around one-half percent of GDP." (page 12)*
*NOTE: 0.5 percent of GDP from 2020 to 2029 is projected to be $1.2 trillion
While many Republicans have argued with basic science in the climate change debate, Eric Cantor has become the first Republican to argue with basic arithmetic. As Cantor's office finds reality frustratingly outside its grasp, it's worth pointing out some other common misconceptions that they might need help with:
Toilets swirl a different direction in the Southern hemisphere - NOT TRUE: http://bit.ly/toilet000
Elvis is really alive - NOT TRUE: http://bit.ly/elvis000
Shania Twain is Mark Twain's great-granddaughter - NOT TRUE: http://bit.ly/shania000
French Fries originated in France - NOT TRUE: http://bit.ly/frenchfries000