If you don’t like it, just make it up!

I’ll preface this by saying that the budget deficit literally terrifies me. If the ultimate conclusion of running such a deficit is realized, the “crash” of 2008 will seem like mere child’s play compared to what we’ll be facing then, and I’m not entirely opposed to leaving and living somewhere else if that happens (and I’ve been thinking when that happens more and more). To indulge in euphemisms for a bit (since that is all politics seem to be these days…), both the party of “yes we can” and the “party of no” seemingly couldn’t care less, and that’s really been making me pull my hair out lately.

So imagine how close I came to throwing my coffee mug out the window this morning (but I didn’t, it’s good coffee after all) when I read these two statements made by our brand new Speaker of the House John Boehner:

C.B.O. [Congressional Budget Office] is entitled to their opinion (said in reference to his decision to shrug off the $230 billion price tag that C.B.O. put on the GOP’s plan to repeal the health care legislation enacted last year).

And:

I do not believe that repealing the job-killing health care legislation will increase the deficit.

Forget the politics and ethical dilemmas of uninsured people vs. insured people, capitalism vs. socialism, etc. If it saves money that’s what our budget desperately needs! Even putting aside the whole “job-killing” thing that’s been lobbed around but hasn’t actually been substantiated, what I’m really wondering is this: how can one say they are going to take an action that will cost $230 billion, not devise any way to pay for that action, and then claim they are not going to add to the mounting deficit. Anyone?

*crickets*

No one?

One thing that I’ll give to the Speaker is this: he’s upfront about the fact that he will just pick and choose what evidence he accepts and what evidence he does not. C.B.O. is a nonpartisan Congressional agency charged with providing Congress the price estimates and/or savings it needs to determine whether proposed legislation is cost-effective or not. You didn’t see the GOP attacking it and deeming it irrelevant during any of the tax cut bills. Never mind the fact that the C.B.O. estimates costs and savings for every piece of legislation that is debated and passed through Congress and has done so since its inception…in this case, according to Mr. Boehner, the C.B.O.’s report is irrelevant. He doesn’t need to pay attention to it because he’s the Speaker! He can do what he wants! In the meantime, our budget deficit will continue to swell with neither Party seeming to care enough to try and stop it, and I will be looking at relocation costs to Tuscany, Italy, or Sydney, Australia. I certainly won’t be investing in stocks or 401K’s anytime soon (if ever with the way things are going). :-/

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3 responses to “If you don’t like it, just make it up!

  1. Much of your post is well-taken. But there’s really no credible evidence that deficit spending is the bad, apocalypse-inducing disaster so many people assume it is. Credible, often very credible economists like James Galbraith & Paul Krugman say the harms of deficit spending are overblown. This is not the worst deficit cycle the U.S. has been in, we’ve run a deficit nearly every year since the founding of the republic, and those times when we haven’t deficit-spent have often been accompanied by economic malaise. The Big Scary Deficit is more a rhetorical tool to justify austerity measures towards the least fortunate than it is reflective of any objective economic facts. There may be short-term, modest reasons to want to balance a budget, but there are tons of things more important than a balanced budget, both in terms of magnitude and morality. At any rate–great blog and great post.

  2. Shea- I would first say that Boehner has a huge gavel, and so has decided to do whatever he wants.

    Matt- While you make a good point, I would submit that this speaker and the majority he currently represents was voted into office, in large part, to reduce the national debt. They promptly decided to issue a statement saying that in order to pass a bill for a program that would spend money, supporters of the bill would also have to find a program to cut that would supply that money. Difficult in practice to do, but decent logic. The hiccup? Their exceptions to that rule, namely retaining Bush-era tax cuts, repealing the health care bill, and several other major programs. So the party that was voted into office to “save money” and decrease the debt plans to do just that, except when they don’t want to. It seems incredibly hypocritical to impose restrictions on the other party’s legislation while neglecting those restrictions themselves and increasing the debt by over 200 billion dollars.

  3. In my observations, it seems the newly elected Republican members of congress are most concerned with maintaining their conservative symbolism, bloated rhetoric, and frankly anti-factual approach to lawmaking. One new member of the house has stated that President Obama is the “most corrupt president in American history”…. never mind the guy who SHOT someone, among others. In that environment, logic and consistency, let alone fairness, is probably too much to expect.

    I vote Sydney!

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