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Fun with Honest Budgeting

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post is funny, in his rendition of Majority Leader Reid and his quest to put $250 billion in ObamaCare off-budget, adding it to the deficit. It really is worth the read, here are his first paragraphs:

“I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits, either now or in the future — period,” President Obama told Congress in a health-care address last month.

Well, that depends on what the meaning of “plan” is….So Democrats hatched a novel scheme: They would pass the legislation separately, so the $250 billion cost wouldn’t be part of the main reform “plan,” thereby allowing the president to claim that that bill wouldn’t increase the deficit.

Or this: “Finally we’re coming to the first vote on health-care reform, and what do the Democrats propose to do?” Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) asked at the microphones. “They propose to raise the national debt by . . . a quarter of a trillion dollars, plus $50 billion interest.”

There is plenty of good stuff in the piece, especially the quote by Senator Reid who essentially said — I did it because the White House told me to do it (he lost the cloture vote on the motion to proceed 47 to 53, Reid needs 60 votes to shut down a filibuster.)

OK, I cannot resist to quote Milbank’s Senator Stabenow stuff:

“The sponsor of the doc fix, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), seemed unconcerned that the fix had put the party in one. “It really is about honest budgeting,” she said at a news conference Tuesday morning. On one side of her stood the AMA president. On the other side was a poster framed by a flag. One of its bullet points: “Honest budgeting.”

Honestly? A decade ago, Congress passed legislation designed to limit health-care costs by slowing the growth of Medicare payments to doctors. Each year, Congress passes a “patch” to prevent the cuts from taking effect. Stabenow proposed to make this system “honest” by eliminating the cuts permanently.

Medicare is hurtling toward insolvency, but Stabenow would essentially repeal past cost-cutting efforts. And even granting that it’s a good idea not to cut Medicare payments to doctors, it’s a strange interpretation of honesty to separate this $250 billion cost from the health-care bill and then claim that the other bill doesn’t raise the deficit.”

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