The Easiest Substitute for Defense Cuts: Obamacare
Patrick Louis Knudsen /
In case no one connected the dots, a report this week from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) held the solution to a serious problem plaguing Congress: How to replace the devastating spending cuts scheduled to carve up the Pentagon starting in January.
Answer: Repeal Obamacare.
If that sounds too simple, here’s the arithmetic.
The gross spending for Obamacare’s insurance expansions, as shown in Table 4 of CBO’s updated estimate of the program, totals $1.4 trillion for the 2013–2021 period—the same stretch in which $1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts known as “sequestration” would apply. That spending is already baked into CBO’s budget projections—the same baseline against which sequestration would be calculated.
CBO’s Table 4 also shows $400 billion in net 2013–2021 tax hikes, part of the onerous “Taxmageddon” also slated to start in January. Thus, the net cost of Obamacare would be about $1 trillion for 2013–2021. That’s how much could be saved by cancelling the planned spending and taxes in the President’s government takeover of health care.
Sequestration would slash $984 billion from federal spending through 2021, with half that amount gouged out of national defense—an unconscionable depletion of military resources that follows two rounds of previous reductions. (Another $169 billion of sequestration would come from debt service savings.)
The cuts would shrink defense spending by about 10 percent through a crude, indiscriminate, and irresponsible mechanism. They must be replaced. What better substitute than two huge new entitlements that have not yet been implemented, that half the public doesn’t want, and that the government cannot afford? Take away Obamacare, and the entire sequestration is replaced almost dollar for dollar—without tax hikes.
To those who would dismiss the idea as frivolous, consider: Is it any less serious than a commander in chief who to date has done nothing to prevent these reckless defense cuts? An Administration that has done little to prepare for the impact? A Senate leadership that would risk a recession to wring out an additional $1.4 trillion tax increase starting in 2013?
The Heritage Foundation previously listed the top five reasons for repealing Obamacare: (1) to stop adding deficits and debt, (2) to help prevent Taxmageddon, (3) to protect religious freedom, (4) to keep health care decisions with doctors and patients, and (5) to clear the way for patient-centered reform. Now make it an even half-dozen: (6) repeal Obamacare, and prevent an indefensible sequestration.