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Apr 14, 2010
The Affordable Care Act does not have 10 years of taxes for six years of spending

One of the odder arguments that Republicans made against the Affordable Care Act was what David Brooks termed "the 10-6 dodge." As he put it, "one of the reasons the bill appears deficit-neutral in the first decade is that it begins collecting revenue right away but doesn't have to pay for most benefits until 2014. That's 10 years of revenues to pay for 6 years of benefits."

That's a very weird way to use the word "appears." Republicans now believe that saving money in order to offset the cost of purchasing something is some sort of trick, where it used to just be responsible budgeting. But in any case, it's not true, as you can see in this graph that CBO just released:

CBO10yeargraph.jpg

In years one, two and three, the bill doesn't spend, save, or raise much money. In fact, in the first year, the bill spends more than it saves, though both sums are tiny. So start by throwing out three of the four years that Republicans are upset about. The only year the bill raises a substantial amount without offering much in the way of benefits is 2013, and even then, it's not raising nearly as much money as it will a year or two later.

Democrats did engage in budget gimmickry by pushing the beginning of the bill back to 2014. But the gimmick wasn't that they were raising lots of money in the early years in order to offset the cost of the later years. It was that they wanted to keep the bill's 10-year price tag under $1 trillion, and by starting the bill in 2014 -- which is only six years away from the end of the 10-year budget window -- that gave them room for higher annual spending than if they'd started the bill in 2011 and had to spread the spending across nine years.

That was a trick, and one I opposed. But there's no "10-6 dodge." Indeed, the bill saves much more money in the second decade than in the first. The cuts and revenue, in other words, aren't front-loaded. If anything, they're back-loaded.

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Posted: Apr 14, 2010 1:55pm
Apr 14, 2010

New Rule: You Can't Use "There Will Be No Cooperation for the Rest of the Year" as a Threat If There Was No Cooperation in the First Half of the Year

New Rule: You can't use the statement "there will be no cooperation for the rest of the year" as a threat if there was no cooperation in the first half of the year. Here's a word the president should take out of his teleprompter: bipartisanship. People only care about that in theory, not in practice. The best thing that's happened this year is when President Obama finally realized this and said, "Kiss my black ass, we're going it alone, George W. Bush style."

Two months ago, conservative Fred Barnes wrote, "The health care bill is dead with not the slightest prospect of resurrection." Well, if it's dead, you just got your ass kicked by a zombie named Nancy Pelosi. Seriously, the last time a Democrat showed balls like that John Edwards' girlfriend was filming it. Make all the botox jokes and she-shops-too-much jokes you want, but this is the biggest political victory a woman has ever achieved in America. Yes, Nancy Pelosi likes nice clothes. So does Sarah Palin. The difference is Nancy Pelosi pays for hers.

But even before the Democrats got to take a single victory lap they were already being warned not to get used to the feeling, and not to get drunk with power. I disagree. All you Democrats: do a shot, and then do another. Get drunk on this feeling of not backing down and doing what you came to Washington to do.

Democrats should not listen to the people who are now saying they shouldn't attempt anything else big for a while because health care was such a bruising battle. Wrong -- because I learned something watching the lying bullies of the Right lose this one: when they're losing, they squeal like a pig. They kept saying things like, the bill was being "shoved down our throats" or the Democrats were "ramming it through." The bill was so big they couldn't take it all at once!

And I realized listening to this rhetoric that it reminded me of something: Tiger Woods' text messages to his mistress that were made public last week, where he said, and I quote, "I want to treat you rough, throw you around, spank and slap you and make you sore. I want to hold you down and choke you while I fuck that ass that I own. Then I'm going to tell you to shut the fuck up while I slap your face and pull your hair for making noise." Unquote.

And this, I believe, perfectly represents the attitude Democrats should now have in their dealings with the Republican Party: "Shut the fuck up while I slap your face for making noise -- now pass a cap-and-trade law, you stupid bitch, and repeat after me: 'global warming is real!'"

The Democrats need to push the rest of their agenda while their boot is on the neck of the greedy, poisonous old reptile. Who cares if a cap-and-trade bill isn't popular, neither was health care. Your poll numbers may have descended a bit, but so did your testicles.

So don't stop: we need to regulate the banks, we need to overhaul immigration, we need to end corporate welfare including at the Pentagon, we need to bring troops home from... everywhere, we need to end the drug war, and we need to put terrorists and other human rights violators on trial in civilian courts, starting with Dick Cheney.

Democrats in America were put on earth to do one thing: drag the ignorant hillbilly half of this country into the next century, which in their case is the 19th -- and by passing health care, the Democrats saved their brand. A few months ago, Sarah Palin mockingly asked them, "How's that hopey-changey thing working out for ya?" Great, actually. Thanks for asking. And how's that whole Hooked on Phonics thing working out for you?

 

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Posted: Apr 14, 2010 11:41am

 

 
 
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Marion Y.
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