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Critical Condition

NRO’s health-care blog.

The Deficit Party



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It’s no surprise that every single congressional Republican is opposed to President Obama’s budget-busting health-care overhaul, while the vast majority of Democrats support it. Despite the Democrats’ success at rhetorically blurring distinctions between the two parties on deficit spending, this split is actually par for the course.   As I note in today’s Investor’s Business Daily:

During the most recent seven years that the Democrats have controlled Congress [four when paired with a Republican President, three with a Democratic President], their deficits have averaged $619 billion a year, or 5.3% of the gross domestic product (GDP). During the most recent seven years that the Republicans have controlled Congress [also four of them with a Republican President, three with a Democratic one], their deficits have averaged $93 billion a year, or 0.6% of GDP. . . .   [Over these same spans] the four highest deficits as a percentage of GDP have all occurred when the Democrats have controlled Congress. The five lowest have all occurred when the Republicans have controlled Congress.
In fact, the Republicans’ highest deficit (3.6 percent of GDP) has been much lower than the Democrats’ average deficit (5.3 percent), while the Democrats’ lowest deficit (2.2 percent of GDP) has more than tripled the Republicans’ average deficit (0.6 percent).

One wonders whether the so-called “Blue Dog” House Democrats will reflect on these numbers before casting a final vote on Obamacare. Instead of voting to spend $2.5 trillion to bend the cost-curve the wrong direction, they could instead support using that same collection of tax-increases and Medicare cuts to pay off one-fifth of our current $12 trillion national debt — making life a lot easier for future generations. Or they could support not siphoning money out of Medicare, thereby preventing that program from becoming even more fiscally insolvent than it already is.

The House Blue Dogs’ final votes on Obamacare will define their level of fiscal seriousness for years to come.



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