Today In Things That Are Working The Way They’re Supposed To
Blah blah blah IRS blah blah blah Benghazi, etc. Howevs:
The federal deficit is shrinking more quickly than expected, and the government’s long-term debt has largely stabilized for the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday in a report that could strengthen the Obama administration’s hand in the budget battles with congressional Republicans.
[snip] The deficit projection for this year — $642 billion — is almost 25% less than the deficit the budget office had forecast as recently as February. At the new level, the annual deficit would be back to where it was before President Obama took office. It would continue to fall for the rest of Obama’s tenure, the budget office now projects.
[snip] Three major factors account for most of the long-term improvement: a better economy, a continued slowdown in the rate of medical inflation — which reduces the cost of Medicare and Medicaid — and higher taxes that Congress approved as part of the “fiscal cliff” deal in January, the budget office said.
Kevin Drum has a good exegesis on that slowdown: namely, it’s been happening for a while, based on numerous factors, some of which may be temporary, or not.
Drum notes it’s far too early to claim that
Obamacare the Affordable Care Act is responsible. To which I say: good! One of the primary arguments behind the ACA was that it would drive down health costs by keeping people healthier earlier, thus avoiding more costly illnesses and preventing expensive ER visits and such down the line. If this is true—still an if—and costs are already decreasing, then the ACA should accelerate that decrease—which was stated aim of the legislation.
Here’s the requisite reminder that the House just voted to repeal the bill, again. It’s been repealed by the House so many times that nobody can even agree on a number—somewhere between 33 and 37, depending on whom you ask.
So yeah, IRS Benghazi etc. But one party’s decreasing both the deficit and health care costs, and the other is still throwing a tantrum.