Monday, September 23, 2013

Blame To Go Around

Trouble, albeit with obvious solutions, coming soon. It's always been clear that budgetary sanity requires spending control in "entitlements" as well as tax increases. Will we ever elect enough people to act on it? People who aren't as dishonest or dumb or both as Paul Ryan? And if so (unlikely), will it already be too late?
WASHINGTON — As the White House and Congress careen toward another fiscal showdown, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office warned on Tuesday that President Obama and lawmakers have been cutting the wrong kind of federal spending as they try to avoid unsustainable levels of debt in coming decades... 
... The accumulated federal debt ... would reach 100 percent of the G.D.P. in 2038. But that probably understates the potential crisis, the budget office said, because it does not account for “the harmful effects that growing debt would have on the economy.”... 
... Republicans have supported keeping the sequestration cuts in place rather than accepting Mr. Obama’s proposal for a mix of higher taxes on wealthy people and some corporations and cuts in future entitlement spending. And he will not accept their alternative for deeper reductions in Medicare and Medicaid without new taxes... 
... Budgets proposed by House Republicans would replace Medicare with federal subsidies to buy private insurance, although at limited amounts, and would transform Medicaid into much-reduced block grants to states.
...  Mr. Obama refuses to consider those far-reaching changes and has proposed savings for the existing Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs. But Republicans refuse to accept the higher taxes he also demands. 
In the current budget debate, Republicans propose to repeal or delay Mr. Obama’s health insurance program. Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, a Republican who leads the House Budget Committee, responded to the budget office’s report with a statement suggesting that eliminating or delaying the program, called the Affordable Care Act, would address the nation’s fiscal woes. 
But the Congressional Budget Office has reported that the Affordable Care Act would reduce deficits and that repealing it would increase them, largely because its costs would be offset by taxes and savings from care providers who benefit from an increase in insured patients.
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