A Flea in the Fur of the Beast

“Death, fire, and burglary make all men equals.” —Dickens

Tag: deficit

The CBO Has A Nifty New Estimate For Deficit Scolds To Ignore

by evanmcmurry

You already knew this, but now you know know it:

The immigration bill under consideration in the Senate would reduce federal deficits by nearly $200 billion over the next decade, and continue generating savings in the years beyond, even after millions of new citizens became eligible for health-care and welfare benefits, congressional budget analysts said Tuesday.

[snip] Those changes would boost spending on federal programs, including tax credits for low-income families, health-care benefits and law enforcement, the agency found. But those costs would be more than offset by an increase in tax revenue from a larger workforce, it said. In its second decade, when people currently living here illegally would become eligible for federal benefits, the legislation would reduce deficits by as much as $1 trillion, the CBO said.

Now’s when everyone who’s spent the past three years screaming about the deficit as if the building were on fire magically decides that deficit concerns are subservient to demagoguing brown people principle.

For added irony, the response to this is “how will immigrants pay taxes if there are no jobs?!??1?!?!” Putting aside the gradually-improving job market, there are no jobs thanks to our glorious 2010-2013 run of austerity, which artificially restrained job growth, all in the name of lowering—wait for it—the deficit.

Today In Things That Are Working The Way They’re Supposed To

by evanmcmurry

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.