On his first day as Speaker of the House, John Boehner received a letter from the CBO stating that "repealing health care reform will add $230 billion to the deficit over the next decade, leave 32 million fewer people with insurance and lead to higher costs for those who are covered." That was both a smart tactical ploy by the left and an utterly contemptible falsehood. 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. (H/T Prarie Pundit)
Responding to the left's disingenuous arguments, Charles Krauthammer weighs in today, explaining in a few short paragraphs the massive fraud of Obamacare:
He'd be laughed out of town. And yet, this is precisely what the Democrats are claiming as a virtue of Obamacare. During the debate over Republican attempts to repeal it, one of the Democrats' major talking points has been that Obamacare reduces the deficit - and therefore repeal raises it - by $230 billion. Why, the Congressional Budget Office says exactly that.
Very true. And very convincing. Until you realize where that number comes from. Explains CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf in his "preliminary analysis of H.R. 2" (the Republican health-care repeal): "CBO anticipates that enacting H.R. 2 would probably yield, for the 2012-2021 period, a reduction in revenues in the neighborhood of $770 billion and a reduction in outlays in the vicinity of $540 billion."
As National Affairs editor Yuval Levin pointed out when mining this remarkable nugget, this is a hell of a way to do deficit reduction: a radical increase in spending, topped by an even more radical increase in taxes.
Of course, the 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.
If you think that's audacious, consider this: Obamacare does not create just one new entitlement (health insurance for everyone); it actually creates a second - long-term care insurance. With an aging population, and with long-term care becoming extraordinarily expensive, this promises to be the biggest budget buster in the history of the welfare state.
And yet, in the CBO calculation, this new entitlement to long-term care reduces the deficit over the next 10 years. By $70 billion, no less. How is this possible? By collecting premiums now, and paying out no benefits for the first 10 years. Presto: a (temporary) surplus. As former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin and scholars Joseph Antos and James Capretta note, "Only in Washington could the creation of a reckless entitlement program be used as 'offset' to grease the way for another entitlement." I would note additionally that only in Washington could such a neat little swindle be titled the "CLASS Act" (for the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act).
That a health-care reform law of such enormous size and consequence, revolutionizing one-sixth of the U.S. economy, could be sold on such flimflammery is astonishing, even by Washington standards. . . .
And here was Paul Ryan making the same points on the House floor the other day, prior to the vote to repeal Obamacare:
(H/T Nice Deb)
At the WSJ several days ago, a former CBO Director and two former CBO Assistant Directors explained in some detail how and why the CBO came op with the numbers it did. The short version, false numbers in, false numbers out.
The left is now in an all-out push to protect Obamacare, willing to use the most ridiculous and scurrilous of lies to shape public opinion.
Rep. Steve Cohen equates Republicans with Nazis for their "lies" in support of repealing Obamacare. He gives no specifics, but then again, no specifics are required for left wing argument, just demonization.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee tells us that repealing Obamacare will "kill" people, and in particular, directs her arguments towards seniors, all of whom are actually covered by Medicare, the program raped to provide funding for Obamacare.
(/sarcasm on) Noted Constitutional scholars (/sarcasm off) Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and Rep. John Lewis, between only a few working brain cells, tell us that to repeal Obamacare would be unconstitutional.
The left, in passing the nightmare for our country that is Obamacare, made the wildly ridiculous argument that Obamacare would create jobs. Well, the massive regulations will create more government jobs, but the regulations themselves would inevitably cost exponentially far more jobs in the private sector as the costs of compliance take hold. Apparently some on the left don't quite understand economics or much about the private sector, so when Eugene Robinson, appearing on MSNBC, called on Obama to now defend Obamacare by explaining to America how it would be a boon to employment, Rachel Maddow quickly switched him off that line of argument.
At any rate, expect to be inundated with emotion-heavy, fact-lite arguments from the left on Obamacare for the next two years. The single most important thing that Republicans can do is call the CBO Director in for hearings, have him explain both how the books are cooked on Obamacare and how the numbers change when the smoke and mirrors are removed. Then at the end of the hearing, the Republicans need to package it into a neat little sound bite summary, appropriate for use in one or two minute ads ripping the left for being dishonest and wildly reckless with Obamacare and our economy.
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.
(H/T Prarie Pundit)