“My proposal would bring down the cost of health care for millions – families, businesses, and the federal government,” President Obama said in early March 2010 before Obamacare became law. Controlling health care spending was supposed to be one of the major benefits of Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment. Hard-core liberals like University of California at Berkeley professor Brad DeLong still claim to this day that Obamacare is a deficit reduction plan. But if the debt limit fight we just had proves anything, it is that the right, center, and all but the far-left, all agree that Obamacare will not drive health care costs down, but will in fact make them increase.
One expects House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to write, as he does in today’s Wall Street Journal, “We are already seeing evidence that its maze of mandates, dictates, controls and tax hikes will actually push costs even further in the wrong direction.” And it is not that surprising to read National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson write, “If we can’t find a way to slow the rapid rise of health care costs, they will drive this country to bankruptcy.” But what is noteworthy is to see The New York Times admit, “Indeed, both the government and its debts will continue to grow faster than the American economy, primarily because the new [debt limt] law does not address federal spending on health care.”
Obamacare has completely trapped the Democrats on fiscal policy. In order to pay for Obamacare’s trillions of dollars in new spending, they had to raise taxes by $500 and raid Medicare by another $500 billion. As a result, all the low-hanging revenue and spending fruit are already gone. As even The Washington Post Ezra Klein admits, the Democrats must now argue for higher taxes, and not just on the wealthy. In order to pay for all their entitlement programs, the middle class is going to have to pay more, too. But Ezra can admit this because he doesn’t have to win elections; Democrats in public offices do. That is the reason you haven’t seen a Democratic budget since Obamacare became law and it is the reason you will not see another one till at least 2013.