House Republicans’ budget to nowhere

In highly publicized action Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution on the federal budget that sets up a likely government shutdown and accomplishes — what, exactly?

✔ It supposedly defunds Obamacare, but nearly everyone involved agrees that won’t occur.

✔ It attempts to send a message to Democrats that Republicans really hate Obamacare by potentially punishing millions of Americans who depend on government services, along with military personnel and others who rely on federal paychecks.

✔ It adds uncertainty to an already fidgety economy, making it more difficult than ever for businesses to make decisions about hiring, production, plant expansion and more.

✔ It allows the Republican Party to take careful aim and shoot itself directly in the foot.

✔  It may be a forerunner of another debt-default fight next month that could further harm the economy and risk another credit downgrade for our country.

The first issue is the latest symbolic effort by House Republicans to end the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. The continuing resolution passed Friday to keep government running beyond Sept. 30, would pay for government operations until December, but only if funding for Obamacare is eliminated.

Problem is, Senate Democrats have already said that plan is going nowhere. Even if it did, President Barack Obama has pledged to veto it. Democrats aren’t about to abandon Obamacare because the GOP is threatening a government shutdown.

On top of that, even if the budget measure somehow got past the Senate and the president, it really wouldn’t defund Obamacare. Congressman Scott Tipton, touting his support of the House budget vote, said as much in a press release Friday.

“Because the vast majority of the law is funded through mandatory spending and much of those funds have already been spent, ‘substantial’ Obamacare implementation would continue even without funding,” the Tipton release said.

The shutdown threat reminds us of the infamous National Lampoon magazine cover showing a cute dog with a gun to its head. “If you don’t buy this magazine, we’ll kill this dog,” the headline read. House Republicans have the gun pointed at the U.S. economy, the business community and millions of individual Americans, while their threat is directed at Democrats. But Democrats won’t be blamed for the government shutdown. Republicans will. Don’t take our word for it. Karl Rove, the GOP strategist and no fan of Obamacare, said exactly that in a column in The Wall Street Journal Thursday.

This newspaper didn’t support Obamacare when it was passed. And while we think there are some good aspects to it, we, like millions of Americans, worry about what it will do to businesses, individuals and the U.S. economy.

But the way to change that is by electing more people to Congress and the White House who will attack the law. It is not by adopting symbolic budget measures that have no chance of passing but stand a great chance of doing significant short-term harm to the United States and its people.


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If 3d C.D. Congressman Scott Tipton was quoted correctly in Saturday’s Sentinel (“GOP:  Keep government open, hit ‘Obamacare’”), then he’s a bald-faced liar – as well as voting 43 wasted times to repeal it (see: “House Republicans’ budget to nowhere”).

Tipton reportedly asserts that “ever-increasing government spending, not lack of revenue, is growing our national debt, and Obamacare continues to play a major role in adding to that spending”.  Every element of Tipton’s assertion is demonstrably false.

First, government spending continues to increase as a result of both population growth and the near-depression inherited by President Obama.

Second, whether or not government spending is “ever-increasing”, only deficit spending actually contributes to the national debt.  As the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (“CBO”) reported last Tuesday, the current federal budget deficit has shrunk to its lowest level since 2008 – and will soon be only 2% of GDP.

Third, since 1980, federal deficit spending has consistently been much more profligate under Republican administrations than Democratic presidents – despite Republicans’ disingenuous claim of being “fiscal conservatives”.

Fourth, every nonpartisan analysis concludes that “lack of revenue” – not Tipton’s “ever-increasing government spending”—is the primary driver of our “growing national debt”.  Indeed,, had the Bush Tax Cuts not been enacted, the entire national debt could have been paid off by 2011.

Fifth, the CBO also calculates that 72% of the $11.7 trillion increase in the end-of-2011 national debt over what it had projected in 2001 resulted from legislated tax cuts and spending increases – 37% of which was attributable to the recession, 33% to the Bush tax cuts and war-spending, 20% to Bush policies reluctantly extended by President Obama, and only 10% to policies initiated since 2009.

Sixth, every nonpartisan report concludes that ObamaCare will decrease deficits, restrain future Medicare costs, and create millions of new jobs – yet Tipton wants to repeal it.

Thus, “Tea Partier” Tipton is deliberately and dishonestly misleading his constituency.

Kudo’s to the Daily Sentinel for its continuing efforts to provide “fair and balanced” chronicling of the ongoing debate over the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) by printing competing editorials, articles, columns, and letters relating to “ObamaCare”.

Three items in Sunday’s edition merit particular attention:  the timely editorial, “House Republicans’ budget to nowhere”; Gail Collins’ column, “Contradictory arguments drive the GOP’s fight against Obamacare”, and Dr. Larry D. Tice’s letter, “Repeal Obamacare, pass affordable plan”.

The Sentinel’s editors correctly chastise Republicans (impliedly including our own 3rd C.D. Congressman Scott Tipton) for wasting three years of purely symbolic votes and admittedly false promises—and now threatening to “shut down the government” and/or wreck the world economy – instead of working to improve what was originally their own idea.

Given the mountains of false propaganda dispensed by ObamaCare’s partisan detractors – cynically intended to obfuscate its “good aspects” (acknowledged by the Sentinel)—it is entirely understandable that “millions of Americans” (including Dr. Tice) “worry about what it will do to businesses, individuals and the U.S. economy”, not to mention our oxymoronic health care “system”.

However, contrary to the Sentinel’s conclusion, the way to alleviate those concerns “is by electing more people to Congress and the White House who will [improve] the law” (not mindlessly “attack” it) and fewer people (like Scott Tipton) who knowingly lie about it and deliberately mislead their constituencies as to viable “replacement” alternatives.

Moreover, as Collins suggests, Republican extremists are not crusading against the ACA because they honestly believe it will fail (the “train wreck” they are actively seeking to cause), but because they fear it will succeed and – like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – rather than “wreaking havoc on American families” and “ruining their lives”, will be appreciated so much that American voters will reject its Republican saboteurs.

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