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The Affordable Care Act does not have 10 years of taxes for six years of spending

One of the odder arguments that Republicans made against the Affordable Care Act was what David Brooks termed "the 10-6 dodge." As he put it, "one of the reasons the bill appears deficit-neutral in the first decade is that it begins collecting revenue right away but doesn't have to pay for most benefits until 2014. That's 10 years of revenues to pay for 6 years of benefits."

That's a very weird way to use the word "appears." Republicans now believe that saving money in order to offset the cost of purchasing something is some sort of trick, where it used to just be responsible budgeting. But in any case, it's not true, as you can see in this graph that CBO just released:

CBO10yeargraph.jpg

In years one, two and three, the bill doesn't spend, save, or raise much money. In fact, in the first year, the bill spends more than it saves, though both sums are tiny. So start by throwing out three of the four years that Republicans are upset about. The only year the bill raises a substantial amount without offering much in the way of benefits is 2013, and even then, it's not raising nearly as much money as it will a year or two later.

Democrats did engage in budget gimmickry by pushing the beginning of the bill back to 2014. But the gimmick wasn't that they were raising lots of money in the early years in order to offset the cost of the later years. It was that they wanted to keep the bill's 10-year price tag under $1 trillion, and by starting the bill in 2014 -- which is only six years away from the end of the 10-year budget window -- that gave them room for higher annual spending than if they'd started the bill in 2011 and had to spread the spending across nine years.

That was a trick, and one I opposed. But there's no "10-6 dodge." Indeed, the bill saves much more money in the second decade than in the first. The cuts and revenue, in other words, aren't front-loaded. If anything, they're back-loaded.

By Ezra Klein  |  April 12, 2010; 12:04 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Comments

Anyone good at calculus? What's the area under (above) the black line?

Posted by: DDAWD | April 12, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

check out Sec. 1404 (drugs) and Sec. 4191 (devices) of the reconiliation bill and try again. also the changes to HSAs and FSAs. and that's just off the top of my head.

and don't forget out the 10% tax on indoor tanning that starts July 1 this year.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | April 12, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

"What's the area under (above) the black line?"

That's all the debt Reagan and the two Bushes created.

Posted by: Lomillialor | April 12, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I applaud your effort Ezra, but it's hopeless. Conservatives have already convinced themselves that the CBO is actually a group of covert Obamabot radical socialist operatives. So you aren't going to make a dent here, I'm afraid...

Posted by: vvf2 | April 12, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Conservatives care only about power and winning elections.

They don't care about facts.

They change their facts and stances as often as the winds change.

What amazes me is that independents can't seem to figure this out. The GOP has made enough significant blunders in the last 30 years that they should be punished electorally for the next 30. Examples include the impeachment of Clinton, the Iraq War, creating 82% of all the debt, and playing politics with climate change and energy issues. That's why I am no longer a Republican.

Posted by: Lomillialor | April 12, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Can we start calling out the 10/6 as what it is? ANOTHER Republican LIE about healthcare?

This is like saying "one of the reasons David Brooks appears straight is that he's been married for the better part of three decades. But more people in Washington know he let a male Republican Senator lay his hand on his inner thigh for an entire dinner party than know his wife."

What I'm implying there? That's a lie.

Just like Brooks is lying when he implies the savings in this law are due to an accounting fiction. They're not. This law decreases the deficit more in the second decade than in the first.

This isn't healthy cynicism. It's destructive, lying nihilism.

Although I suppose it should come as no surprise that a guy stupid enough to believe Republicans when they said: "there's Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq! Ignore those so-called independent expert bureaucrats at the UN! We have proof! " is also enough to believe them _again_ when they say: "There's weapons of mass deficit in the Affordable Care Act! Ignore those so-called independent expert bureaucrats at the CBO! We have proof!"

Posted by: theorajones1 | April 12, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

NOVaHockey,

you forgot the tax on insurance companies too that will be passed onto policyholders but that was pushed back to 2014 thankfully.

The below doesn't even touch on that but just gives another example as to the "retroactive" power of government to tax.

http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/hcra/letters/notice_of_statutory_changes_as_part_of_enacted_2009-2010_state_fiscal_year_budget.htm


I'm sure once HCR covers almost everyone all these taxes will just go away right? RIGHT?

Here's another good link for the taxes in the ACA.

http://www.boston.com/business/personalfinance/managingyourmoney/archives/2010/03/tax_implication.html

Posted by: visionbrkr | April 12, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

vision

This thread is a about the 10/6 lie from Brooks. It's not about other aspects of HCR related taxes. Do you understand that it is lies like the 10/6 lie that keep Americans from learning the full truth about HCR? Youo can beetch and moan all you want to about taxes, but the fact is Brooks is an idiot and a liar on this specific issue.

A certain amount of taxes are a way of life in a westernized society. If you absolutely hate taxes of any kind, them move to Somalia. US taxes are fairly low for western countries. And yes they are going to go higher even if HCR never happened. Why? Because idiots like Reagan and the two Bushed created $10s trillions in debt instead of seeing to a sound budget.

The new HCR law has the potential (if all parties tried to make it work) to actually take a step in the right direction regarding health care access for all Americans and reducing deficits. Yes, there are winners and losers, but most Americans will be winners. So be a winner and not a whiner. It is very tiring.

Posted by: Lomillialor | April 12, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"and don't forget out the 10% tax on indoor tanning that starts July 1 this year."


That tax should be much higher, considering the number of teenage girls and young women that are cultivating future skin cancers thanks to the tanning industry. The tanning parlors profit from inducing cancer, and the rest of us will pay the bills for the skin cancer treatments in the form of higher insurance premiums down the road.

This business, like big tobacco, deserves anything and everything the government can throw at it in increased taxes and regulation.

Posted by: Patrick_M | April 12, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

David Brooks is an interesting case-study. He is intelligent, likes Obama, wants him to succeed, doesn't like the drift of the Republican party, but his general affection is still for Republicans. So he gives them the benefit of the doubt in ways he would never do for Democrats. So Paul Ryan's numbers are demonstrably dishonest, but because he's not a complete moron, Brooks reveres him. The difference between Ryan and Brooks is that Ryan will make false claims whereas Brooks will merely repeat them. Brooks has a choice: he can either become George Will (i.e., doubling down when he's wrong) or someone who will strenuously resist the impulse to believe those claims that mirror and reinforce his reflexive skepticism.

Posted by: ryan24 | April 12, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Lomillalor,

I've never said taxes aren't required have I? I certainly pay my fair share, do you?

As I've said all along and you don't pay much attention to I guess that if there were more cost controls on the systems then we wouldn't need as much of the cuts and taxes.

And AGAIN the ACA is better than the status quo but that doesn't mean that its as good as it can be or should be. I can differentiate those facts, can you?

Are you becoming the "post police" around here? If so you may want to put in an application at WAPO.


Patrick,

I agree with you 100% about the taxes in indoor tanning. Similar for taxes in tobacco use.

I do think though people should see those taxes for their value and taxes on health insurers, medical devices as just revenue generators as opposed to attempts to inhibit behaviors. Sometimes I think people forget that aspect of it.

Posted by: visionbrkr | April 12, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

They've been tossing this lie around casually since at least January. What's the point in debunking it now that it's been accepted into Conventional Beltway Wisdom? I even looked around the web in vain for a sufficient response back then. There should have been an effort to push back from the instant this appeared on the scene.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | April 12, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

vision

Looking at your posts here it just seems to me you are mostly whining about taxes instead of the right-wing lie machine, which this thread is mainly about.

Waaaahhh! Waaahhhh!

So, tell me, is it possible to discuss ANY issue without you whining about taxes in some way or another?

Posted by: Lomillialor | April 12, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"David Brooks is an interesting case-study. He is intelligent, likes Obama, wants him to succeed, doesn't like the drift of the Republican party, but his general affection is still for Republicans. So he gives them the benefit of the doubt in ways he would never do for Democrats."


ryan24,

Observation of the experiences of ostracized persons who have drifted away from this course (David Frum, Christopher Buckley, Andrew Sullivan, Bruce Bartlett, et al) provides a powerful disincentive for intellectually honest commentary within conservative ranks.

visionbrkr,

I look at collecting higher taxes on things like tobacco, alcohol, and tanning parlors not so much as a way of inhibiting individual behaviors, but more as a way of obtaining revenues directly from industries and consumers that we know generate higher usage and costs for the health care system.

I would have no problem seeing more taxes to support health care placed on fast food, salty and sugary snack foods, and anything else being sold in our society that promotes poor health outcomes.

Posted by: Patrick_M | April 12, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Lomillalor,

I guess that's a big fat NO to my first question and I won't bother to respond back to you from here on out.


Maybe if you paid 40-45% of your income in taxes and people wanted MORE then you'd have a different take. It must be so nice to be so callous with OPM.

When your high risk pool doesn't get set up immediately (like you previously expected) will that be the "right wing lie machine"'s fault too or just Bush and Reagan?

Posted by: visionbrkr | April 12, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Patrick,

I agree. I believe though that there is a hope that if we tax tobacco for example enough that it will make smoking prohibitive for some but sadly my experience of those that I know that can't afford cigarettes is that they sadly still find a way.

I agree likewise with the sugary snack/ beverages etc. That's why i LOVE (snark) the American Beverage Association's commerical lately that is playing in the NY Metro Area. It basically has a mother in her kitchen putting groceries away saying that she can't afford the tax anymore, blah blah blah. Talk about your deceptive advertising.

Posted by: visionbrkr | April 12, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

What amazes me is that independents can't seem to figure this out. We have, the problem is liberals are worse!

Posted by: obrier2 | April 12, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

The chart is not very clear, and this is a somewhat misleading post. The CBO projections say this bill reduces the deficit by $119M over 10 years. About half of that deficit reduction ($54M) happens in the first four years before any of the real spending kicks in. In those first four years the revenue portions of the bill raise $85M, but there is only $31M in spending. Those totals for the entire 10 years are $911M and $795M respectively. So the first 4 years of the bill have 9.3% of the revenue, but only 3.9% of the spending, and that gap explains why you get half of your overall deficit reduction in the first 4 years before you've started spending any money.

This is of course ignores the biggest faulty assumption, which is that all of the spending cuts needed to keep this bill deficit neutral actually take place.

A big one that has very little chance of happening is the Medicaid doc fix that this bill has created. We all know about the Medicare doc fix and how Congress has prevented the cuts from happening every year, as they will gain this year. Well this bill creates an almost identical problem, by increasing Medicaid primary care reimbursements up to Medicare levels (which are 28% higher) for only two years (2013-14), and reverting back to old levels after that. Does anyone really believe that after two years Congress will cut Medicaid reimbursements by 28%, especially since they've never allowed it to happen in Medicare? This is an important one since Medicaid expansion is a central tent of the bill, and this piece would result in another $29B in spending, or a quarter of the so-called deficit reduction.

Posted by: ab13 | April 12, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Apparently Mr. Klein doesn't know how to read a graph!

Posted by: EdG3 | April 12, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"I believe though that there is a hope that if we tax tobacco for example enough that it will make smoking prohibitive for some but sadly my experience of those that I know that can't afford cigarettes is that they sadly still find a way."

visionbrkr,

That is my experience too, and I suspect that just as many people will go get their fake tans after the new taxes take effect.

However, I do think that increasing the cost of unhealthy behaviors provides a secondary incentive to people who decide to give them up for other reasons.

In my observation, people who have the determination to quit smoking are usually motivated by a combination of factors, primarily relating to health and to the socially negative side of smoking. But the personal savings is something that everyone who suceessfully quits thinks about as being an added bonus to becoming smoke-free. So I think it does play some role in encouraging smoking cessation, albeit a rather minor role, and one which would not drive the decision to quit all by itself.

Agree wholeheartedly that the beverage industry ad with the overtaxed suburban mother, worrying about about paying a few pennies more for pumping her family full of empty calories via soda pop, should receive an award for unmitigated chutzpah.

Posted by: Patrick_M | April 12, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,

"That was a trick, and one I opposed."

Please remember your position. You just write about what other people. do. You had no standing to support or oppose anything.

Posted by: jsummers616 | April 12, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,

I agree with BigTuna.

Could you maybe do a column (under your other hat) debunking some of the Republican lies and misinformation? Perhaps a segment (or series of segments) on TRMS doing just that?? I know you'd be preaching to the choir there, but I've noticed some of her reporting does manage to drift outside the echo chamber.

Posted by: onewing1 | April 12, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

The other comment I will make it that no one is talking about the 51 million uninsured, the 32 million that have towait, and the 6 million that have joined the uninsured roles over the past two years. Anyone interested in starting a pool on the number of uninsured in 2019 after the plan is in place. My guess is about 35 million.

Posted by: EdG3 | April 12, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

The other comment I will make it that no one is talking about the 51 million uninsured, the 32 million that have towait, and the 6 million that have joined the uninsured roles over the past two years. Anyone interested in starting a pool on the number of uninsured in 2019 after the plan is in place. My guess is about 35 million.

Posted by: EdG3 | April 12, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I don't like the "saving before a purchase" argument. Even if it's right, it doesn't sound good in the context of government. I think the real argument is the one you get to as the piece goes on. The Dems definitely pulled some budgetary trickery, but it's nothing terribly novel or terrifyingly unfair. The benefits could have started earlier, but then Republicans would be decrying whatever the new, higher cost of the bill was, even if it was deficit neutral.

This issue, like the bill as a whole, just isn't nearly as big of a deal as conservative commentaters like to believe.

Posted by: MosBen | April 12, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, you have mastered double-speak. On one hand you say there's no 10-6 dodge yet on the other hand you say they did start taxing now and the coverage doesn't kick in until 2014--WTF?

Posted by: edmondsonpr1 | April 12, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

edmondsonpr1,

Were you able to comprehend this sentence? Or not? ...

"The only year the bill raises a substantial amount without offering much in the way of benefits is 2013, and even then, it's not raising nearly as much money as it will a year or two later."

Posted by: Patrick_M | April 12, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Ezra! Quit being a shill for Nancy Pelosi and the rest of that mathematically-challenged crowd!

The REAL question is, how do you know when a Democrat is lying about the effects of the Health Care "Reform" on a person's financial well-being? It's when his lips are moving...

Posted by: Greg_12 | April 12, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Greg_12: What I liked most about your comment is that you responded point by point to Ezra, laying out in extensive detail where he is in error and why the data he cited is unreliable or improperly interpreted. Furthermore, you never resorted to name calling or ad hominem attacks that are unrelated to the serious substance of the matter at hand. Well done!

Posted by: vvf2 | April 12, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Lomillialor wrote:

"What's the area under (above) the black line?"

That's all the debt Reagan and the two Bushes created.
---------------------------------------------------
That's got to be the most ignorant comment in recent memory. Trolls are the bane of all internet forums; ignorant trolls seem to be the hallmark of the WaPo.

Posted by: jpost1 | April 12, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, the TITLE of the column IS a lie - didn't take Ezra long - the bill DOES have ten years of taxes and six years of spending. To say otherwise is "SPIN" - which is all the Dems have been doing furiously since The One took office.

It's good to go into details to show that the picture (assuming that for the first time in its history, the CBO will be correct on something) may not be as bad as claimed by the GOP - but the GOP claim IS true.

And if neither the taxes nor benefits have any substantial impact until 2014, WHY the constant "must-pass-this-right-now" doomsday scenario from the Democrats? Could it be that they KNEW how unpopular this would be with the public?

Ezra, I invite you to come back here five years from today and show how on-track the CBO figures were - and to tout this as a success. Even you know you won't be able to do that.

Posted by: awolfson | April 12, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"Even you know you won't be able to do that."

No, he likely does think he'll be able to do that. I worked in DC at 24 (and of course, knew everything) and was idealistic once too. Now I'm 31 and know better.

See: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0410/35564.html


Posted by: NoVAHockey | April 12, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

@Greg_12: how do you know when a Democrat is lying about the effects of the Health Care "Reform" on a person's financial well-being?

Feel free to tell that to the people that now qualify for medicaid, that have or will have a community health center in their neighborhood, or to the parents of a child with a pre-existing condition...

Posted by: srw3 | April 12, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post has a great report today at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/12/AR2010041202190.html -- it concludes as follows:

"The federal government will pump money into the high-risk pools, bringing down premiums so more people can sign up. Government economic experts estimate that 375,000 uninsured people with health problems would gain coverage this year through the program.

But the same experts - analysts for Medicare - also question whether the $5 billion allocated is enough to fund the program until 2014. The projected the funds will run out by 2012, leaving beneficiaries - and lawmakers - in a quandary. Administration officials have said they will seek more money from Congress if necessary."

I'm hanging onto all of the CBO estimates... they will be useful reminders a year or so from now.

Posted by: rmgregory | April 12, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Democrats and Budget TRICKERY... NAHHHH Not these impeccable transparent prewtenders to Human Intelligence,Ethics and accountability... What will they do next??? Appoint Halcee Hastings to SCOTUS in the DARK of Night????

Posted by: redhawk2 | April 12, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

To the one Progressive that claims that CBO figure give Obama a scintilla of Credibility about DEBT reduction... READ ON:

Yesterday, the head of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO),
Douglas Elmendorf, said our nation's budget deficits are
"unsustainable' and "can't be solved through minor changes."

Here's the full quote:

"U.S. fiscal policy is unsustainable, and
unsustainable to an extent that it can't be
solved through minor changes".
"It's a matter of arithmetic."

The situation is so bad that Elmendorf also admitted that
the CBO is beginning to study the impact of adding an
entirely new tax to the federal taxing scheme: the value
added tax (VAT). The VAT is expected to be the favored
new tax of Obama's so-called Deficit Commission.


In Addition

Also, recent numbers from the Treasury on the fiscal year
2010 federal budget deficit are staggering:

--A record $220.9 billion deficit in February alone

--For every dollar in taxes and other revenues
the federal government took in, the government
SPENT $3.05.

--Five-month deficit total: $651.6 billion, more
than 10 percent higher than last year's record.

--The five-month total is larger than any YEAR in
American history prior to 2009.

--The FY2010 budget deficit is now projected to
be $1.56 trillion AFTER stealing from the Social
Security Trust fund.

--The CBO projects that interest payments on the
debt will total $916 BILLION annually by the
end of the decade.

and Today Peter Orzag came out that the PICTURE is actually even Worse than what CBO ( contricted to report on what Majik wanted to come out via incomplete info) figure are acrually Much Worse in REALITY... Peter works for the Majik Man BTW

Posted by: redhawk2 | April 12, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Lomillialor wrote:

"What's the area under (above) the black line?"

That's all the debt Reagan and the two Bushes created.
---------------------------------------------------
That's got to be the most ignorant comment in recent memory. Trolls are the bane of all internet forums; ignorant trolls seem to be the hallmark of the Wa
NOW that is a typical Deranged Statement by a LOON TROLLSTER...proof that when faced with FACTS the Progressively " ILL' tend to go overboard like Lemmings facing a cliff....

Posted by: redhawk2 | April 12, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I'll check back here in another 5 years and see how EK is explaining the spiraling cost of health care then. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that this bill is going to cost at least 5 times more than the CBO predicted. You can't collect taxes from people who aren't working, and the problem with socialism is that sooner or later, you run out of other people's money.

Posted by: L80bug | April 12, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

redhawk2,

Since you are citing Elmendorf as a credible figure on the big picture of the long term federal deficit, then logic dictates that you also must acccept the CBO's calculations on the more narrow budget impact of the ACA, which is positive.

If you are unaware of the fact that Obama and the Democrats are concerned about the long term deficit, you are not paying attention. This is why Obama angered many progressives by introducing the budget freeze and Pay-Go proposals, while many on the left believe that further stimulus spending is still needed.

This is also why the President insisted that HCR be deficit neutral, while staying flexible about virtually everything else about the legislation.

But your juvenile rhetoric about "Lemmings" and "the Majik Man" do indeed support your contention that "Trolls are the bane of all internet forums."

Posted by: Patrick_M | April 12, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

"If you are unaware of the fact that Obama and the Democrats are concerned about the long term deficit, you are not paying attention. This is why Obama angered many progressives by introducing the budget freeze and Pay-Go proposals, while many on the left believe that further stimulus spending is still needed."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Pay-Go doesn't make a scintilla of difference when the Progressives waive the Pay-Go requirement every time they pass another spending bill.

And the so-called budget "freeze," which doesn't kick in until after the November elections, has so many exceptions, it doesn't amount to a hill of peas.

We have the Progressives to thank for sinking a ship that had developed a leak under Bush and the Progressive-controlled Congress. They also have no interest at all in making the deep spending cuts that will be necessary to get this country back on track and prevent hyperinflation.

Posted by: L80bug | April 12, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

"Pay-Go doesn't make a scintilla of difference when the Progressives waive the Pay-Go requirement every time they pass another spending bill."

The only time that we have had a balanced budget in the past 3 decades was under a Democratic President who had Pay-Go rules in place. The fact that you are opposed to a rule that prohibits creating new programs that are not funded at the time of their creation shows how un-serious you are about deficit spending....your post is just a partisan rant.


"And the so-called budget "freeze," which doesn't kick in until after the November elections, has so many exceptions, it doesn't amount to a hill of peas."

If someone you know is deeply in debt and has no savings, do you suggest that they make what modest efforts are possible to reduce his or her debt, or should that person not even make a beginning because it "doesn't amount to a hill of peas." The fact that you are opposed to a rule that prohibits growth of the budget in non-defense agencies shows how unserious you are about deficit spending...your post is just a partisan rant.


"We have the Progressives to thank for sinking a ship that had developed a leak under Bush and the Progressive-controlled Congress."

Congress was not controlled by Progressives under Bush. And if you think that what happened to the federal deficit (and the economy at large) under Bush's 8 year watch was merely "a leak," you truly reside in an alternate reality.... and your post is just a partisan rant.

Posted by: Patrick_M | April 12, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Ezro - it's obvious you haven't read the Healthcare Reform Bill. Please quit making off the wall comments until you sit down and read it from cover to cover.

I have read every word - look at the ambiguous manner this bill is worded. Literally everything will sooner or later be under government control.


Posted by: tboca | April 12, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

tboca,

Ok, congratulations on reading every word of the law. But..

Since you offer not even one single specific example to support your theory that ambiguities will mean that sooner "Literally everything will sooner or later be under government control" surely you will understand why your statement will be given no weight by anyone.

Posted by: Patrick_M | April 12, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Patrick,

you're right. Clinton balanced the budget WITH a Republican congress. Hopefully we can get there in 2010.

As far as this congress goes they have far too easily been led astry of the PAYGO rules. I don't profess to have numbers but since that was instituted I've seen about a half dozen times that its been bypassed although admittedly several times on the same ideals (extension of unemployment benefits and ARRA provisions).

While the numbers the others arguing with you are correct you are also correct when you say the overall slant of HCR is deficit reducing. Now that is in fact if all things go as they are projected. That we have to wait 10-20 years to see so no one can say with any certainty. The only certainty is that we have almost 10% unemployment and the deficit this year will be 1.5 trillion.

Posted by: visionbrkr | April 12, 2010 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for proving that good things happen to those who wait. Like anything you buy, first you spend all of your money on interest, but, eventually you start to pay on the principle, and then you own it!

Posted by: krissylynny | April 12, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr,

Your post is somewhat confusing to me.

The PAYGO rules were allowed to expire by the Republican Congress under George W Bush in 2002. The House re-established the rule in 2007 under new Speaker Pelosi, but the Republican Senate did not follow suit, and since then in the House the rule has been occasionally suspended for certain legislation in the wake of the economic meltdown in 2008 and the stimulus measures that followed.

In the State of the Union speech this year, Obama urged a return to PAYGO and specifically asked that the Senate also again adopt the rule. The Senate followed through (the next day, if I remember correctly), but the Senate Republicans opposed the Rule on a strictly party line vote of 60-40.

One can certainly argue that PAYGO is not a magic bullet to end unfunded federal spending. But, if one is truly a deficit hawk, why would one oppose PAYGO? At the very least, the rule puts an added spotlight on decisions to circumvent the rule, so it does impose an added political pressure against creating new unfunded programs.

Like the spending freeze, and the deficit commission, none of these ideas on their own will solve the problem of deficits, especially in a time where we have high unemployment and persisting credible arguments that some deficit spending is essential to economic recovery. But the fact that these gestures are constantly opposed by Republicans (who frequently were previously supporters and even co-sponsors of precisely the same proposals) is baffling.

Or at least these positions would be baffling to anyone that still hopes for coherent and consistent substantive positions coming from the Republican side of the aisle.

Posted by: Patrick_M | April 13, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

vision

Clinton balanced the budget with the 93 tax hikes and the equivalent of the modern day land rush (commercialization of the Internet), neither of which had anything to do with the GOP Congress.

Additional factors include, BushSr's tax raises and some modest savings because of welfare reform that the post-94 GOP Congress supported.

Over 33 million hi-tech, high-paying jobs were created in the 90s due to the Internet Revolution, and that is the primary reason for the increased revenues that helped balanced budget. The GOP had nothing to do with that.

Posted by: Lomillialor | April 13, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

So despite earlier projections, now they are projecting the deficit will be 8% lower than last year.

Seems like all these little savings efforts that Republicans hate do make a difference.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36452286/ns/politics-washington_post/

Posted by: Lomillialor | April 13, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

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