In a recent edition of The Forecaster, congressional candidate Dean Scontras cited the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office in addressing the national debt. However, Scontras disregarded the CBO’s estimate that President Obama’s stimulus plan created and saved between 1.4 and 3.3 million jobs. CBO Director Elmendorf recently observed: “There is no intrinsic contradiction between providing additional fiscal stimulus today, while the unemployment rate is high … and imposing fiscal restraint in the future …” when the economy recovers. Indeed, the deficit spending of World War II brought us out of the Great Depression.
The CBO also concluded that the health-care reform law will reduce the deficit by $170 billion between now and 2020, while its repeal could add $455 billion to the deficit. In fact, this law was designed to reduce the rate of increase in future health-care costs (not by “cuts” to Medicare, as alleged by Scontras). Since Scontras considers the CBO a useful source of information on the debt, his inaccurate and irresponsible claims about health-care reform are disingenuous.
Scontras claims he is “sworn to fiscal responsibility.” This is not credible. After all, his party squandered the budget surpluses of the Clinton years by starting two wars without paying for them, and by giving tax cuts to the very rich. The 2010 Republican “Pledge to America” not only does little for job creation, but also would increase the deficit by $700 billion by extending tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of the population. This is fiscal folly, not responsibility.
Thomas H. Kelley