Thursday, February 16, 2017

Obamacare repeal no cure for U.S. deficit ills

On Spending, Is Rand Paul the Last Man Standing? - Barry W. Poulson, American Thinker:

February 15, 2017 - "Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was the only legislator to vote against Senate Concurrent Resolution 3, which sets the framework for budget negotiations in the 115th Congress. His vote was dismissed as an alleged example of libertarian extremism, but I suggest this vote is a measure of the extent to which legislators have lost touch with their constituents.

"Senate Concurrent Resolution 3 proposes to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without changes to other parts of the budget. The truly surprising (and disappointing) part of the legislation is it exempts future health care legislation replacing the ACA from current budget rules meant to impose fiscal discipline.... Because we can expect health care spending to grow at even higher rates than those projected by the Congressional Budget Office, this legislation is particularly problematic.

"Even more shocking is Senate Concurrent Resolution 3 assumes business as usual in future budget negotiations. Total spending is projected to grow from $3.2 trillion to $4.9 trillion over the next decade. Annual deficits will roughly double to more than $1 trillion; and total debt will increase from $20 trillion to $29 trillion....

"The universal support of Senate Concurrent Resolution 3, with Paul the lone dissenter, suggests legislators are not willing to enact the fundamental reforms in Medicare and Medicaid required to balance the budget. Nor should we look to Trump for leadership on this issue. He has made it clear entitlement reform is not on his agenda, stating, 'A balanced budget is fine, but sometimes you have to fuel the well in order to really get the economy going'....

"In 2016 alone, legislators proposed 192 bills to address budget deficits and the national debt. Paul’s bill, the Cut Cap and Balance Act of 2015, was one of only a dozen of these bills to be reported out of committee, and like other similar measures, it was rejected by his fellow members of Congress on both sides of the aisle....

"Despite his failures to get significant reforms passed in Congress, it is Paul, not his colleagues, who is in touch with his constituents. Nationwide polls conducted on behalf of the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force ... reveal 83 percent of citizens support a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

"If Paul is the only legislator in the Senate willing to stand up for a balanced budget when the chips are down, perhaps it is time for citizens to look for an alternative solution to the federal fiscal crisis. Twenty-eight state legislatures have now passed resolutions proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Only 34 states are needed to call an Article V convention, which, given the current restraints in Washington, D.C., may be a better option than waiting for Congress or the president to act.

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