More B.S. from the Goldwater Institute and Tea-Publicans on Gov. Brewer’s Medicaid (AHCCCS) restoration plan

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

You can file this one under stupid shit the Goldwater Institute says and that reporters unquestionly repeat as mere stenographers. You can cross-file it under stupid shit that Tea-Publicans believe but which has no basis in the reality based world (they believe in confidence fairies and unicorns, i.e., the entirely disproved and discredited faith based supply-side "trickle down" GOP economic theory).

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports Medicaid expansion critics question viability of hospital tax:

Opponents of Gov. Jan Brewer’s Medicaid
expansion plan are concerned the proposed hospital tax that would pay
for Arizona’s share of the new AHCCCS coverage may not last long,
leaving the state on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars a
year.

Christina Corieri, a health care policy analyst at the conservative
Goldwater Institute, said the National Commission on Fiscal
Responsibility and Reform, often referred to as the Simpson-Bowles
commission, has proposed eliminating states’ ability to use hospital
taxes to pay for their share of Medicaid costs. Even President Obama and
leading congressional Democrats have floated the idea of scaling back
provider taxes, she said, which are currently capped at 5.5 percent of a
hospital’s revenue.

Simpsoneatscatfood-188x300I don't know what cave Ms. Corieri has been living in for the past two and one-half years, but the National Commission on Fiscal
Responsibility and Reform, i.e., the "Catfood Commission," was an unmitigated failure. It never produced any recommendations to Congress, and none were adopted by Congress (in fact, the Tea-Publican controled Congress overwhelmingly rejected a budget proposal based upon the Chairmens' Mark report by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles).

Attempts by the "Austerity Twins," Simpson and Bowles, on behalf of the benefactor of their Fix The Debt corporate front group, the Pete Peterson Foundation, to advance their Chairmens' Mark report as legislation in Congress has gone nowhere. The most recent attempts by the "Austerity Twins," Simpson and Bowles, to revive their plan has been rebuffed by Congress. Their "Catfood Commission" efforts are deader than dead, and Ms. Corieri is conjuring up phantoms to argue against the provider tax. It ain't gonna happen, lady.

Moreover, Governor Brewer's spokeman, Matthew Benson, correctly stated, "it’s unlikely that the feds
would eliminate Arizona’s ability to draw down federal funds with a
hospital tax. Every state except Alaska uses provider taxes, he said,
and it would be politically problematic for Congress to make those kinds
of cuts."

And then there are the "geniuses" in the Arizona legislature who couldn't pass a macro-economics 101 class if their life depended on it:

Rep. John Kavanagh, who chairs the House
Appropriations Committee, said the viability of the hospital tax is one
of his biggest concerns with Brewer’s plan. Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills,
is a staunch critic of Brewer’s expansion plan and opposes it on
numerous grounds.

“At some point they’re going to have to stop the spending,” Kavanagh
said. “And my guess is one of the first things Washington will do to
stop the spending is to make cuts that won’t directly affect their own
programs. And getting rid of the provider tax creates the problem at the
state level, not the federal level. I think it’s low-hanging fruit and
they have the cover of the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.”

This is the standard talking point from Tea-Publicans who oppose the AHCCCS restoration plan: the federal government has $17 trillion in debt, and Arizona should not participate because it only adds to the federal debt, and the federal government simply can't afford to keep spending.

These "geniuses" apparently do not know the difference between accumulated debt, and annual budget deficits, and frequently conflate the two and use them interchangeably because the general public understands macro-economics even less than they do. It is a deliberate attempt to mislead the public.

There has been substantial progress in reducing the annual federal budget deficit. Steve Benen reported, A deficit shift the GOP may struggle to explain:

DeficitsFor deficit hawks, all of the news is good news.

The Congressional Budget Office reported Tuesday that the federal budget deficit is declining this year compared to fiscal 2012.

For the first seven months of 2013, the deficit was $489 billion.
That is $231 billion less than the budget shortfall for the comparable
period last year.

The decrease is almost entirely due to revenue increases.

Not only is this year's deficit on track to be significantly smaller than last year's, to the tune of about $200 billion, it's also on pace to be even better than optimistic projections from February. Hell, we even ran a surplus in April.

All
told, the U.S. federal deficit will be about $600 billion smaller than
it was in President Obama's first year in office, making this the
fastest deficit reduction Americans have seen since World War II
.

But wait! It gets better. Jamelle Bouie reported, The deficit is shrinking. Can we talk about unemployment now?:

Is the United States close to running a budget surplus? So suggests the American Enterprise Institute’s James Pethokoukis, who highlights an analysis from Potomac Research, which notes two things.

First, the United States government ran a surplus of $112 billion in
April
, partly because of income tax payments, and partly because revenue
is up from the previous fiscal year. Potomac then predicts that the
deficit will fall below 5 percent of GDP for this fiscal year (to around
$700 billion), further in 2014 (to $500 billion, close to 3 percent of
GDP), and even further in 2015, to below 2 percent of GDP (around $300
billion). As the group notes at the end of its analysis, if the
sequester holds and economic growth continues, it’s “not totally out of
the question” for the United States to reach a balanced budget, or even a
surplus, by the end of fiscal year 2015
.

Not only would this fulfill President Obama’s election year promise
to reduce the deficit — itself a carryover from his 2008 campaign — but
it would hit the targets established by the Simpson-Bowles debt
reduction blueprint
[without having enacted a single recommendation of the Chairmens' Mark report by Simpson and Bowles], and potentially rob Republicans of one of their
most important talking points against Obama and Democrats.

The GOP talking point about federal deficits as a reason to oppose the governor's AHCCCS restoration plan is not based upon reality. By the time the plan fully kicks in during FY 2015, it’s “not totally out of
the question” for the United States to reach a balanced budget, or even a
surplus." Doh!

Of course, this "Austerity" defict reduction is a wrong-headed economic policy for economic growth and job creation, as Bouie explains in The deficit is shrinking. Can we talk about unemployment now?, but that is a separate subject.

Comments are closed.