Paul Ryan has actually revived one of the stupidest talking points of the health care debate: the 10/6 myth. From his press release:
The law was written to measure 10 years of tax increases to offset 6 years of new spending.Now, this isn't a real tricky one. It's false. Here's an Ezra Klein post from April giving the numbers; I wrote about where this myth originated shortly thereafter, and I ended:
I'd also like to see how long the GOP intends to continue using this one, given that it depends on a tax that supposedly is already being collected. Will it really be part of their anti-reform rhetoric this fall? Will the non-existence of these taxes, on behalf of which the non-existent new IRS agents are presumably busily engaged in draconian enforcement measures, slow them up at all? I'm looking forward to finding out.And we have our answer: no!
In fact, Ryan's Budget Committee document is still talking about those fictional IRS agents. Who are, presumably, about to be hired any second now to collect the fictional taxes that went into place last year.
Now, where they really give away the game is in this Budget Committee release. Here, Ryan does a Q&A about the challenging facts of the CBO estimate:
Claim: But now CBO says that the Democrats’ new law will reduce deficits by even more than before -- $230 billion as opposed to $145 billion.Stop and think. In his press release, which the Budget Committee Q&A refers you to, he's complaining about the 10/6 thing -- that is, that the ten year estimate is misleading because taxes begin...er, began immediately, while benefits were delayed four years. And yet, here, he's acknowledging that years 3-12 of the ACA are projected to be better for the budget than years 1-10 of the ACA. How could that be possible, if the law was set up to take in revenues immediately but then run ever-worsening deficits?
Response: The original score was based on a 2010-2019 estimate. The repeal is based on a 2012-2021 estimate. Thus, the scoring window has been moved two years forward. CBO’s estimates for the years beyond 2019 are based on the same smoke-and-mirrors budgetary gimmicks that produced the initial estimate. Again, nothing has changed about the underlying flawed assumptions. Only the dates have changed.
While the out years contain more fake deficit reduction, they also contain very real spending increases as the bill’s new subsidies and its expansion of Medicaid to childless adults continue to generate enormous costs. Moving past 2019 begins to give us a clearer picture of the total 10-year price tag of the bill – it will almost certainly be larger than $1 trillion, and will likely be closer to $2.6 trillion once a full 10 years of new costs are taken into account.
(He's correct, by the way, that the fully-operational program will cost more than $1T; the Democrats did, in fact, stay under $1T in the initial bill by implementing it very slowly. What's wrong here is that the revenues also phase in slowly, which is why the rest of CBO's deficit figures come out as they do).
Ryan completely ignores the CBO's projection that the second decade, now years 13-22, still shows even larger deficit reduction. In fact, there's no mention at all of CBO's post-2021 estimates in any of the Budget Committee material I could find. Not here. Not here. Not here. Maybe it's somewhere, but near as I can tell they're just ignoring it. That's dishonest in any respect, but it's especially dishonest when the committee is relying on the 10/6 claim. If 10/6 was true, the second decade would be a disaster for the deficit, not (as CBO says) a major deficit reduction.
Paul Ryan seems to want people to take him seriously, but this is incredibly shoddy work. The 10/6 thing is fictional, and at this point is beyond nonsense. The IRS agents are fictional. Counting the doc fix as if the costs would magically disappear if ACA was repealed is a lie. And see Ezra Klein's post yesterday (here, I'll link again) about double counting and the rest of it. Just awful.