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Half Of The Spending Cuts In Blunt’s Jobs Plan Aren’t Actually Spending Cuts

Last week, I pointed out that the “jobs plan” proposed by Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), who is running for his state’s open Senate seat, includes a provision permanently guaranteeing taxpayer giveaways to the real estate industry, which calls into question Blunt’s commitment to deficit reduction. But that’s not the only part of his plan that proves Blunt is fundamentally disinterested in addressing government spending.

Blunt included in the plan what he has claimed is $2 trillion in spending cuts, which would presumably be used to either reduce the deficit or to fund some of the massive tax cuts that he’s embraced. “In this plan, Roy identified over two trillion dollars in cuts right off the bat that can be taken out of government,” said former Missouri treasurer Sarah Steelman, who has endorsed Blunt’s campaign.

But in what he charitably calls an “accounting error,” the Kansas City Star’s Dave Helling notes that fully one half of Blunt’s spending cuts aren’t actually spending cuts at all:

A look at that plan shows half of those savings — $1 trillion — would come from Blunt’s proposal to repeal the health care reform package…Repealing health care reform would eliminate $1 trillion in spending, but it would also eliminate the $1 trillion in tax and fee increases and Medicare reductions that are in the law as well. The net effect of health care repeal on the federal deficit is, roughly, zero.

Actually, contrary to Helling’s assertion, repealing the Affordable Care Act wouldn’t have zero effect on the deficit: it would actively increase it. According to the Congressional Budget Office, repealing the bill would increase the deficit by $143 billion over the next ten years.

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But the point remains that the only way Blunt’s push for repeal works as a deficit reduction measure is if he plans to keep all of the tax increases and Medicare savings, without actually giving anyone any additional health care.

Plenty of other spending cuts that Blunt suggests are equally ill-informed. He proposes repealing the remaining stimulus funds, including those dedicated to middle class tax cuts. He also says he’d cut an unidentified “wasteful welfare program,” which is presumably the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Emergency Fund that House Republicans like to cite all the time. But it’s actually a successful work program that is supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country, including 4,600 in Blunt’s own state.

Of course, Blunt is far from the only one who thinks that repealing the Affordable Care Act is a legitimate deficit reduction strategy. For instance, New Hampshire’s Republican Senate candidate, Kelly Ayotte, has made it the centerpiece of her deficit reduction plan.