Republicans have been trying very hard to blame President Obama for the nation’s deficit (which he largely inherited from his predecessor), but former Gov. George Pataki (R-NY) today may have gone to the most absurd lengths yet. On MSNBC, Pataki said that the health care reform bill that became law this year is “one of the reasons we have this deficit”:
You just said that Boehner indicated Obamacare as one of the reasons we have this deficit, one of the reasons we have failed to create private sector jobs and he’s absolutely right.
Pataki made no attempt to explain how a law that was passed this year and has yet to be implemented could have possibly caused this year’s deficit. Here’s a handy chart from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explaining where the deficit actually comes from:
See health care on there anywhere? No. The deficit was caused by the economic downturn (and the drop in tax revenue that came along with it), the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Bush-era tax cuts that turned a record surplus into a deficit.
The Affordable Care Act not only adds nothing to the deficit this year, but is entirely deficit neutral. As Igor Volsky pointed out earlier, the Congressional Budget Office released a letter this week stating that the Affordable Care Act “will produce $143 billion in net budgetary savings over the 2010–2019 period.” Repealing the parts of the law that Republicans love to gripe about would cause an increase in deficits of $455 billion. Let’s repeat: repealing health care reform would increase, not decrease, the deficit.
Throughout the health care reform debate, Obama was very clear that he wasn’t interested in a bill that added to the deficit, and Democrats went to great lengths — having the CBO score and then re-score the legislation over and over — until they were certain that it had no deficit impact. In fact, it had to be deficit neutral to pass via reconciliation. Pataki’s claim is simply absurd and has no basis in reality (which hasn’t stopped other Republicans from making it as well).
Of course, Pataki seems to believe that Americans don’t actually deserve to hear policy details at all, at least from any Republicans. “Do the Republicans need to be more specific? Do the American people need to hear the ABC’s, how and then why [the Republican agenda] will work?” MSNBC’s Chris Jansing asked him. “No, I don’t think so,” Pataki replied.