Conservatives and the deficit

Anybody who actually thinks conservatives are serious about reducing the deficit (other than just using the idea as political posturing) is as delusional as Christine O’Donnell.  As if their insistence upon cutting taxes for America’s richest above all other priorities isn’t enough, Yglesias makes the nice point that pretty much all the havoc they want to wreak on health care reform would increase the deficit:

Neil King and Janet Adamy offer us the Republican plan of attack on the Affordable Care Act:

Republican congressional aides and advisers say their focus would including blocking funding to hire new Internal Revenue Service agents, who are needed to enforce the law’s tax increases. They also would consider barring spending for a new board that approves Medicare payment cuts as well as on research that compares the effectiveness of medical procedures.

Other potential targets include funds to pay for a long-term care insurance program and money to help states set up insurance exchanges where consumers will be able to use tax credits beginning in 2014.

There are a bunch of different ideas here. And since they’re all framed as reductions in spending, it’s easy to overlook the fact that virtually all of these measures would increase the budget deficit. Failure to hire new IRS agents would increase the deficit by reducing revenue. Failure to finance IMAC would increase the deficit by increasing overall spending. Failing to take in CLASS Act revenue would increase the deficit by reducing revenue.

And there’s more!

Republicans would also bring to a vote measures that attack the law’s least popular parts, including the requirement that most Americans carry health insurance and cuts to payments for privately run Medicare plans.

Eliminating the individual mandate will increase the deficit by increasing outlays on exchange subsidies. Eliminating the “Medicare Advantage” cuts will increase the deficit by increasing spending on Medicare advantage.

I’ll believe that Republicans want to reduce the deficit when they actually take actions to reduce the deficit.  Last time that happened, George H.W. Bush was drummed out of the conservative movement for breaking his “no new taxes” pledge.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to Conservatives and the deficit

  1. Harry Finork says:

    A sure thing is that “Liberals” are comfortable with encumbering the largest deficit
    of all time and providing a future tax rate that will break the backs of our children and grand children! What else do you expect from the “Food Stamp Party”

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