Math Problems: 61 percent of Obama’s deficit reductions purely hypothetical

by Jon Ward
The Daily Caller
2/2/2010

White House Budget Director Peter Orszag didn’t exactly sound bullish about the prospects for health care reform when asked Monday how its passage, or non passage, would factor into the federal budget deficit.

“It’s a very small share of the more than $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction [over 10 years] that’s contained in the budget,” Orszag said, noting that he had factored in about $100 billion over the next 10 years as savings from a health care bill.

Orszag appeared to be downplaying the impact on the deficit – projected to be $1.6 trillion this year and about $9 trillion over the next decade – if health care does not pass. White House staff pushed back hard Monday against such a characterization, and pointed to numerous statements by Orszag saying that he thinks health care will pass the Congress.

But that looks increasingly unlikely. In any event, the $100 billion toward deficit reduction is only one of several items in President Obama’s budget that the White House says will cut down the nation’s budget imbalance, but which very likely might not happen.

There is another $630 billion in additional deficit-cutting measures that is by no means a certainty, depending on whether Congress passes Obama’s proposals into law.

The reduction of itemized deductions for charitable giving, for those making $250,000 or more, would bring in $291 billion over the next decade. But Obama proposed that a year ago and the idea went nowhere, because of opposition in the Congress.

A tax on banks that received money from the $700 billion TARP bailout would bring in $90 billion. But that idea also faces a fight in Congress. And even then, the Obama administration has already extended TARP beyond its original expiration date at the end of 2009 and could do so again in October, when most of the $700 billion is scheduled to go toward debt reduction…

…Even if Obama were to pass all of the deficit reduction measures included in his budget, however, it would still be only a little more than 10 percent of the deficit over the next decade. And the long-term fiscal picture is even more grim, with entitlement costs for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security projected to swamp the nation’s ability to pay for them…

The article continues at The Daily Caller.

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