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Hillary Clinton will run on repealing Obamacare


Welcome and thank you for stopping by. Please be aware and advised, this is a CONSERVATIVE BLOG.

 

Here is some information and my rules:

1) I do not like Liberal Ideology;

 

2) Conservatives have the voice of reason on my blog;

 

3) I will delete any comments that are abusive, non-related to the “blog theme” and not debated in a civil manner;

 

4) I welcome input from all walks of life.

 

However, this is my blog and I will make the “ultimate” decision on any/all comments.

I encourage “civil” discussion. We may not agree on “ideology”.

 

However, we can agree on “respect” and at least listening to different perspectives.

 

Thank you for visiting!

 

Reblogged from:http://canadafreepress.com

 

Posted by:Alan Joel

Author

 

 

 

With all the talk abuzz about an inevitable Hillary Clinton candidacy, I wager that her platform will include repealing ObamaCare. Hillary will declare late in the spring so that she can positively impact the midterm elections to benefit the Democrats.

 

What would Hillary gain from a repeal-ObamaCare platform?

First, such a position would effectively neuter the Republican position of anyone running in 2014 (and beyond). All the hand-wringing and fundraising, all the sob-stories and alarm bells about ObamaCare would be utterly weakened if Hillary was out there saying the exact same thing. Any Republican candidate on the same policy page as Hillary Clinton would be disastrous for them. The Republicans are hoping for strong gains in 2014 — possibly even taking the Senate — and are banking on a fledgling ObamaCare to do it. This objective could not be achieved with Hillary added to the mix.

Second, a repeal-ObamaCare position from Hillary would give vulnerable Democrats a free pass to sever close ties and loyalty to Obama. Obama is toxic right now; his popularity is in the mid 30’s and his signature legislation is overwhelmingly disliked across the country. With Hillary jumping in, Democrats would be able to rally around a more popular and likeable Democrat (what Democrat doesn’t like the Clintons?) and distance themselves from Obama and ObamaCare without hurting the Democrat brand. In fact, she enhances it right now.

Finally, Hillary herself was intimately involved in health care reform after Clinton’s election in 1992. The legislation she helped champion via the Taskforce For Health Care Reform was aptly dubbed “Hillarycare”. Twenty years later, in comparison to ObamaCare, it doesn’t look so bad, does it? Perhaps not anymore. Hillarycare had its own, but different, mandate: for all employers to provide healthcare for their workers. Is this the alternative solution and finally Hillary’s day in the sun? Or is it possible that Hillary would take healthcare reform even further than ObamaCare? Knowing the growing disdain for mandates perhaps Hillary would instead lobby for a single-payer system — which is a dream of many progressives.

Whatever the case, running on repealing ObamaCare is a win-win for Hillary. She gets to directly impact and help the midterm elections for the Democrats. Six years after her primary defeat against Obama, Hillary will emerge as the better, wiser, and more likeable Democrat (revenge is a dish best served cold?). And finally, Hillary will have the unprecedented opportunity to finish the healthcare reform she started two decades ago, since practically anything will be seen as better than ObamaCare now.

Ten Broken Obamacare Promises


Welcome and thank you for stopping by. Please be aware and advised, this is a CONSERVATIVE BLOG.

 

Here is some information and my rules:

1) I do not like Liberal Ideology;

 

2) Conservatives have the voice of reason on my blog;

 

3) I will delete any comments that are abusive, non-related to the “blog theme” and not debated in a civil manner;

 

4) I welcome input from all walks of life.

 

However, this is my blog and I will make the “ultimate” decision on any/all comments.

I encourage “civil” discussion. We may not agree on “ideology”.

 

However, we can agree on “respect” and at least listening to different perspectives.

 

Thank you for visiting!

 

Reblogged from:http://www.heritage.org

 

Posted by:Alyene Senger

Since the passage of Obamacare in 2010, many of the President’s famous promises have been routinely broken. As he so ironically threatened in 2009, “If you misrepresent what’s in this plan, we will call you out.”[1] To that end, here are 10 promises of Obamacare that have already proved to be broken.

Promise #1: “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.”[2]

Reality: Millions of Americans have lost and will lose their coverage due to Obamacare.

Obamacare has significantly disrupted the market for those who buy coverage on their own by imposing new coverage and benefit mandates, causing a reported 4.7 million health insurance cancelations of an existing policy in 32 states.[3]

For those with employer-sponsored insurance in the group market, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that 7 million fewer people will have employment-based insurance by 2018.[4]

Moreover, the Administration itself has admitted that employers would not keep their existing health plans. Federal regulations written in 2010 estimated that 51 percent of small and large employers would lose their “grandfathered status” by 2013—meaning a majority of employers would not keep their existing health plans.[5]

Promise #2: “[T]hat means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period.”[6]

Reality: Many Americans might not be able to keep their current doctor without paying extra.

Many plans offered on Obamacare’s exchanges have very limited provider networks, decreasing the chances consumers will be able to keep their current doctor without paying more money.[7] Furthermore, many Americans who purchase coverage on their own have had their existing health plans changed or canceled due to Obamacare, resulting in some people being unable to keep their current doctors without paying additional money to do so.

Due to the significant payment reductions included in Obamacare, seniors with Medicare Advantage plans may be forced to find new doctors. The largest provider of these plans, UnitedHealth, has recently reduced its provider networks in several states.[8]

Promise #3: “In an Obama administration, we’ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year.”[9]

Reality: Premiums for people purchasing coverage in the individual market have significantly increased in a majority of states.

A Heritage analysis shows that, on average, consumers in 42 states will see their premiums in the exchanges increase, many by over 100 percent.[10]

For people with employer-sponsored coverage, costs also continue to increase. For families, premiums from 2009 to 2013 have increased by an average of $2,976.[11]

Promise #4: “[F]or the 85 and 90 percent of Americans who already have health insurance, this thing’s already happened. And their only impact is that their insurance is stronger, better and more secure than it was before. Full stop. That’s it. They don’t have to worry about anything else.”[12]

Reality: Obamacare imposes certain new benefit mandates on those with employer-sponsored coverage—a majority of Americans.

These mandates increase the cost of coverage. In fact, federal regulations written in 2010 assumed “that the increases in insurance benefits will be directly passed on to the consumer in the form of higher premiums. These assumptions bias the estimates of premium changes upward.”[13]

But higher premiums not only cost people more money; they have other impacts on coverage as well. For instance, as a response to the direct cost increases associated with Obamacare, UPS dropped coverage for spouses of employees if they are offered coverage through their own employers.[14]

Promise #5: “Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.”[15]

Reality: Obamacare contains 18 separate tax hikes, fees, and penalties, many of which heavily impact the middle class.

Altogether, Obamacare’s taxes and penalties will accumulate over $770 billion in new revenue over a 10-year period.[16] Among the taxes that will hit the middle class are the individual mandate tax, the medical device tax, and new penalties and limits on health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts.[17]

Promise #6: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits—either now or in the future.”[18]

Reality: Obamacare’s new spending is unsustainable.

Obamacare was passed into law relying on a wide variety of unrealistic budget projections. A more realistic assessment reveals that it will be a multi-trillion-dollar budget buster. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimated the cost of Obamacare over the long term if certain cost-containment measures were overridden. Under that alternative scenario, which assumes that “historical trends and policy preferences continue,” the GAO found that Obamacare would increase the primary deficit by 0.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).[19]

Senator Jeff Sessions (R–AL) and the Senate Budget Committee staff, who commissioned the GAO report, translated the 75-year percentage estimate into today’s dollar amount, which would be $6.2 trillion over the next 75 years.[20]

Promise #7: “[W]hatever ideas exist in terms of bending the cost curve and starting to reduce costs for families, businesses, and government, those elements are in this bill.”[21]

Reality: Health spending is still rising and is projected to grow at an average rate of 5.8 percent from 2012 to 2022.[22]

While growth in health spending has been slower recently compared to the past, that is largely due to the sluggish economic recovery. Indeed, Obamacare’s new entitlements will help drive greater health spending in 2014 and beyond.[23]

Promise #8: “I will protect Medicare.”[24]

Reality: Obamacare cuts Medicare spending.

Obamacare makes unprecedented and unrealistic payment reductions to Medicare providers and Medicare Advantage plans in order to finance the new spending in the law. The cuts amount to over $700 billion from 2013 to 2022.[25] If Congress allows these draconian reductions to take place, it will significantly impact seniors’ ability to access care.[26]

Promise #9: “I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American.”[27]

Reality: Millions of Americans will remain uninsured.

Despite spending nearly $1.8 trillion in new spending from 2014 to 2023, the law falls far short of universal coverage. Indeed, Obamacare is projected by the CBO to leave 31 million uninsured after a decade of full implementation.[28]

Promise #10: “So this law means more choice, more competition, lower costs for millions of Americans.”[29]

Reality: Obamacare has not increased insurer competition or consumer choice.

In the vast majority of states, the number of insurers competing in the state’s exchange is actually less than the number of carriers that previously sold individual market policies in the state.[30] And at the local level, for 35 percent of the nation’s counties, exchange enrollees will have a choice of plans from only two insurers—a duopoly. In 17 percent of counties, consumers will have no choice—a monopoly—as only one carrier is offering coverage in the exchange.[31]

—Alyene Senger is a Research Associate in the Center for Health Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

 

Just 51,000 people completed Obamacare applications during the website’s first week, out of tens of millions of Americans in 36 states


EXCLUSIVE: Just 51,000 people completed Obamacare applications during the website’s first week, out of tens of millions of Americans in 36 states

  • Obamacare’s main signup engine attracted just 6,200 new customers on its launch day and 51,000 after the first week
  • At the same rate, the 6-month open enrollment period would sign up just 2 million Americans, including 14 states and D.C., which have their own insurance exchanges
  • The Congressional Budget Office says Obamacare needs at least 7 million customers to stay afloat financially
  • Numerous Obama administration officials have denied seeing any enrollment figures at all
  • MailOnline‘s sources are two Health and Human Services workers who have access to the data as it’s crunched
  • Texas congressman says anemic national enrollment numbers are ‘roughly the population of a small town in my district’

By DAVID MARTOSKO, U.S. POLITICAL EDITOR

Just 51,000 people completed Obamacare applications during the first week the Healthcare.gov website was online, according to two sources inside the Department of Health and Human Services who gave MailOnline an exclusive look at the earliest enrollment numbers.

The career civil servants, who process data inside the agency, confirmed independently that just 6,200 Americans applied for health insurance through the problem-plagued website on October 1, the day it first opened to the public.

Neither HHS nor the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would comment on the record about the numbers. Enroll America, the president’s organization of health care ‘navigators’ who are charged with helping Americans sign up, didn’t reply to a request for information about its level of success so far.

The White House also did not respond to emails seeking comment.

But several administration officials have claimed this month that they didn’t have access to the kinds of raw figures MailOnline obtained from the people who work for them. And the anemic totals suggest a far lower level of interest in coverage through the Affordable Care Act than the Obama administration has hoped to see.

SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEOS

More than a week into the glitch-littered launch of the Obamacare insurance exchanges, MailOnline has learned that just 51,000 Americans have used Healthcare.gov to enroll

Organizing For Action, the latest incarnation of President Obama's 2012 campaign organization, celebrated the Oct. 1 launch of the Obamacare exchanges in Lehigh, Pennsylvania

Organizing For Action, the latest incarnation of President Obama’s 2012 campaign organization, celebrated the Oct. 1 launch of the Obamacare exchanges in Lehigh, Pennsylvania, but the numbers so far have been nothing to celebrate

Texas Rep. Kevin Brady, a Republican who chairs the House Ways & Means Health Subcommittee, said that ‘if the numbers are accurate,’ they show ‘that relatively few people have navigated the challenges of the first step of the process – roughly the population of a small town in my district.’

‘The White House and HHS have continually claimed they did not have these figures,’ Brady told MailOnline. ‘If they do, they have misled the Congress and the American people.’

The low numbers also reflect a level of technological frustration on the part of Americans whose attempts to investigate their new health insurance options have been met with crashes, error messages and interminable delays.

More…

CNN host Wolf Blitzer agreed on Wednesday that the White House should consider granting Republicans’ demands for a one-year delay of the rule requiring individual taxpayers to buy insurance, given the failings of the glitch-prone enrollment website that has produced more headaches than new customers.

‘If they weren’t fully ready, they should accept the advice that a lot of Republicans are giving them,’ Blitzer said. ‘Delay it another year, get it ready, and make sure it works’

'I don't know': HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on The Daily Show that she hadn't seen Obamacare enrollment numbers

‘I don’t know’: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on The Daily Show that she hadn’t seen Obamacare enrollment numbers

Obama was passionate on launch day, saying in a Rose Garden ceremony that millions of Americans would benefit from the Affordable Care Act. But so far those numbers have seemed far out of reach

Obama was passionate on launch day, saying in a Rose Garden ceremony that millions of Americans would benefit from the Affordable Care Act. But so far those numbers have seemed far out of reach

White House unsure on Obamacare numbers

The open enrollment period for Obamacare coverage is slated to last for six months. If the first week’s total were an indication of how many Americans will sign up during that time through the Obama administration’s website, its final tally would reach a paltry 1.32 million.

Healthcare.gov provides enrollment services for Americans in 36 states; the remaining 14 states and the District of Columbia, which operate enrollment programs in their own exchanges, represent 33.7 per cent of the U.S. population, according to census projections.

If the state-run exchanges were to have a similar response rate for six months, the national enrollment total would be approximately 2 million.

That number is less than 29 per cent of the 7 million the Obama administration would need, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, in order to balance the new health insurance system’s books and keep it from financial collapse.

‘The administration’s goal is seven million people in the first year,’ Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist, a long-time Obamacare opponent, told MailOnline. ‘We are not on track for anything like seven million. New Coke was retired for being a smaller disappointment.’

‘There was no good reason to hide these number,’ he said. ‘This is not keeping a secret from the Russians or the Syrians. … Why lie about this, for crying out loud?’

‘These numbers reflect what we all know: Obamacare is a disaster,’ Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn told MailOnline. ‘It is time for the president to admit Obamacare is not working and that the American people deserve better.’

Spokespersons for five different Democratic senators declined to provide comment, with most saying they are paying greater attention to the debt-ceiling and government-shutdown standoffs that have gripped Washington, D.C. since before Oct. 1.

'These numbers reflect what we all know,' said Texas GOP Senator John Cornyn (C). 'Obamacare is a disaster.'

‘These numbers reflect what we all know,’ said Texas GOP Senator John Cornyn (C). ‘Obamacare is a disaster.’

Rep. Kevin Brady, an outspoken Texas Republcan, said everyone who has used the federal government's website to enroll in Obamacare would fit in a single small town in his legislative district

Rep. Kevin Brady, an outspoken Texas Republcan, said everyone who has used the federal government’s website to enroll in Obamacare would fit in a single small town in his legislative district

House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee chair Darrell Issa, a California Republican, said the small enrollment numbers are a symptom of a larger problem.

‘Far more people have been unable to complete their applications because of crashing websites or impossible wait times than have successfully enrolled,’ said Issa. ‘Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and the window for open enrollment gets smaller every day.’

CNN personality Wolf Blitzer, who seldom aligns himself with Republicans, said Wednesday that the White House should give Republicans the Obamacare delay they seek, if only to give tech issues time to sort themselves out

They’ve lost Wolf: CNN personality Wolf Blitzer, who seldom aligns himself with Republicans, said Wednesday that the White House should give Republicans the Obamacare delay they seek, if only to give tech issues time to sort themselves out

Issa said Wednesday during a committee hearing on Capitol Hill that ‘in just the past decade, the federal government cancelled at least fifteen major IT projects after wasting $10 billion on their development. But none of those costly mistakes were anywhere near as big or complex, as Obamacare.’

The White House aims to see the health care exchanges enroll at least 2.7 million young, healthy people between the ages of 18 and 35, whose monthly premiums are needed to offset the cost of health care for older, sicker Americans.

It’s unclear how many of the early enrollees fall in that age group.

A projected enrollment total of 2 million would also represent just 4 per cent of the overall number who could participate.

‘More than 50 million Americans qualify for the Obamacare exchanges,’ Americans for Limited Government vice president Rick Manning pointed out, claiming that ‘this paltry response is a clear rejection of the system.’

It remains possible, according to the sources who provided the enrollment data, that overall rates of enrollment will tick up after the much-maligned healthcare.gov website is retrofitted with technology fixes that allow more Americans to navigate it smoothly.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney drew criticism on Monday after he boasted that website response times were cut by one-third after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services implemented virtual ‘waiting rooms’ that allowed users to trickle in according to the load the government’s servers could handle.

Another flood of customers could hypothetically come in after Jan. 1, the sources said, if a significant number of private employers cancel their employee benefit plans and dump their workers into the Affordable Care Act’s health care exchanges.

Jon Stewart accuses Kathleen Sebelius of lying

'You should ask HHS. I don't have a number,' said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Oct. 4, when reporters quizzed him on Obamacare enrollment numbers

‘You should ask HHS. I don’t have a number,’ said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Oct. 4, when reporters quizzed him on Obamacare enrollment numbers

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Sunday on Fox News that 'it's obviously not my primary area of responsibility' to know how many Obamacare enrollees have clicked the error-prone 'submit' button

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Sunday on Fox News that ‘it’s obviously not my primary area of responsibility’ to know how many Obamacare enrollees have clicked the error-prone ‘submit’ button

The availability of raw Obamacare enrollment numbers will come as an embarrassment to the Obama administration, since its public faces have insisted that such figures are unknown or unknowable.

Carney reiterated on Monday that the administration would ‘release enrollment data on regularly, monthly intervals.’

‘I’m not sure when that begins,’ he told reporters, ‘but I’m sure we’ll let you know in plenty of time so you can plan and put it on your calendar.’

'The clock is ticking,' says Rep. Darrell Issa, 'and the window for open enrollment gets smaller every day'

‘The clock is ticking,’ says Rep. Darrell Issa, ‘and the window for open enrollment gets smaller every day’

That night, Comedy Central host Jon Stewart asked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on ‘The Daily Show’ how many Americans had enrolled in Obamacare.

‘I can’t tell you,’ the secretary answered, ‘because I don’t know.’

An unnamed senior White House official told CNN host Jake Tapper on Monday that the administration would start releasing numbers after November 1, and would combine data from healthcare.gov with those from more than a dozen states that run their own health insurance exchanges, in order ‘to have a good picture of what’s happening across the country.’

Sen. Ted Cruz, the feisty tea party standard-bearer who led a lengthy quasi-filibuster last month that raised the profile of what Republicans say are Obamacare’s legal and philosophical shortcomings, said Thursday that ‘every day our concerns are validated as we learn more about how the law can’t deliver on its promises.’

‘The law has failed on every single measure,’ Cruz told MailOnline. ‘It does not make healthcare more affordable or accessible. It does the opposite.’

Tea Party Patriots national coordinator Jenny Beth Martin said Thursday that the Obamacare enrollment numbers were unlikely to keep pace with the numbers of Americans who are losing their insurance as the program goes into effect.

‘Over 800,000 people in New Jersey alone have lost their current health insurance in the last month,’ Martin said, ‘yet nationwide only 51,000 people have received health insurance from Obamacare. The numbers just do not add up.’

Overlaid on top of Obamacare’s rocky launch has been a partial government shutdown whose broad personnel layoffs have compounded what was already a difficult rollout.

On Wednesday a press spokesperson who answered a Department of Health and Human Services press line told MailOnline to allow at least 24 hours for a comment – one which never came anyway.

‘We’re in furlough status right now, so we’re short-staffed,’ she said. ‘All our requests are going through email. Drop us a line, and if anyone’s available, they’ll get back to you.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2452537/Administration-sources-Obamacare-website-received-just-51-000-completed-insurance-applications.html#ixzz2hPIXX2O9
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

 

Congress reaches new lows in latest budget battle


Welcome and thank you for stopping by. Please be aware and advised, this is a CONSERVATIVE BLOG. Here is some information and my rules:

1) I do not like Liberal Ideology;

2) Conservatives have the voice of reason on my blog;

3) I will delete any comments that are abusive, non-related to the “blog theme” and not debated in a civil manner;

4) I welcome input from all walks of life. However, this is my blog and I will make the “ultimate” decision on any/all comments.

I encourage “civil” discussion. We may not agree on “ideology”. However, we can agree on “respect” and at least listening to different perspectives. Thank you for visiting!

This is a Reblogged from http://www.cnbc.com 

Posted by John W. Schoen

 

Getty Images

Even Dr. Seuss would have had a hard time imagining just how absurd the latest congressional budget debate has become.

With lawmakers on the verge of putting the U.S. government out of business for the third time in as many years, the latest budget battle has veered even further off course than past efforts to drive the government off a fiscal cliff.

Five days before the current $4 trillion funding law expires, the discussion this week devolved into a 21-hour diatribe by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz on the sweeping health-care law that begins providing coverage next month to millions of uninsured Americans.

“When Americans tried it, they discovered they did not like green eggs and ham and they did not like Obamacare either,” Cruz said Wednesday. “They did not like Obamacare in a box, with a fox, in a house or with a mouse. It is not working.”

Neither is the ongoing effort to bring the government’s revenues and spending back into balance. About the only remaining source of agreement is the grim outlook if Congress doesn’t fix the way the government spends the taxes it collects.

“The bottom line remains the same as it was last year,” Douglas Elmendorf, head of the Congressional Budget Office, told a news conference last week. “The federal budget is on a course that cannot be sustained indefinitely.”

(Read more: All eyes on House GOP as fiscal deadline nears)

The CBO offered a glimmer of hope in its latest budget assessment, showing a dramatic reduction in the federal budget gap. But the abrupt tax increases and spending cuts have come at the worst possible time as the economy is struggling to grow at 2 percent a year, he said.

The result, say independent budget watchdogs, is that Congress is getting it wrong on two counts.

“You’ve never come out of a recession with such dramatic deficit reductions,” said Josh Gordon, policy director at the Concord Coalition, an independent budget watchdog group. “But very little if any of the short-term deficit reduction is in any way related to preparing for the long-term challenges. It’s really bad fiscal policy. “

For the current fiscal year, which ends Oct. 1, the federal government’s spending gap shrank by more than a third, to a little over $600 billion from about $1 trillion a year ago. As the economy has grown, the deficit has also fallen in relation to gross domestic product—a widely used benchmark of spending policy.

Part of the improvement comes from this year’s compromise package of tax hikes and spending cuts, which slowed the growth of federal spending by $85 billion (and it is set to trim another $20 billion for the next fiscal year beginning in October).

The rest was a series of more or less of lucky breaks, including one-time windfalls that were hard to see coming. The Treasury, for example, saw a surge in taxes late last year as investors booked profits to duck this year’s increase in capital gains tax rate. Uncle Sam also got a surprise, a one-time dividend from mortgage giants Fannie Mae andFreddie Mac, which had been all but left for dead.

Democrats have proposed closing the budget gap with additional tax increases, which have been a major force driving this year’s deficit reduction. But the higher payroll taxes Congress approved at the start of the year have already proved to be a significant drag on consumer spending, which has held back a stronger economic recovery.

Congress is now left talking about deeper cuts in so-called discretionary spending, which accounts for about 38 cents of every tax dollar, while it is ignoring the most problematic portion of the budget—the other 62 cents of “mandatory” spending on programs like Social Security and Medicare. Those spending levels, of course, are also set by laws approved by Congress. But the programs are too politically popular for even the most ardent budget hawks to tamper with.

The result is that fresh cuts become harder to find and more painful to make; slashing operating budgets slows the economy but does little to defuse the long-term entitlement bomb.

(Read more: Here’s who might score if DC shuts down)

The debate on extending those cuts is playing out as fresh data show the U.S. economy still struggling to get back on its feet five years after one of the deepest recessions in a century. The CBO recently estimated that the current deficit-cutting plan, enacted in 2011, will shave another $104 billion over the next 12 months, clipping about 0.7 percent from annual GDP growth at a cost of about 900,000 new jobs. Those cuts will help shrink the deficit even further—from around 4 percent of GDP this year to 2 percent in 2015, the CBO estimates.

To fully balance the discretionary portion of the budget, Congress would have to slash roughly seven times the already painful “sequester” cuts or the equivalent or nearly 4 percent of GDP. Cuts that deep would quickly send the economy hard into reverse.

No matter how deep, those short-term spending cuts do nothing to bend the longer-term, rising deficit as the aging baby boom generation draws more heavily on Social Security and Medicare funds. CBO projects that with no changes in those programs, the deficit will reach almost 3.5 percent of GDP by 2023 and hit 6.4 percent by 2038.

House Republicans holding the budget debate hostage in a last-ditch effort to cut funding for the Obama administration’s health-care plan argue that it’s yet another budget-busting entitlement program. Ironically, the plan could eventually help curb the deficit by slowing the rise in future health-care spending.

(Read more: Gov’t shutdown playbook: Cramer’s top ‘tell’)

The law’s supporters argue that much of the cost of covering those who aren’t now insured will paid by employers or beneficiaries—not the government. They also note that—whether or not the new law is working—health-care spending has fallen sharply since the Great Recession.

In any case, the true impact of the law is all but impossible to predict—because much depends on how many people sign up, what kinds of coverage employers decide to offer and how much of the cost companies decide to shift to newly insured workers.

Republicans opponents will also have to weigh the political cost of trying to kill the new health-care law. Voters apparently like the program—at least before they’ve had a chance to see how the details unfold, according to a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. Fewer than 1 in 5 Americans said they think it’s worth shutting down the government to kill the plan.

But opinion polls don’t seem to be having the usual impact.

“For the Republicans who want to go over the cliff, there’s really no downside for them,” said David Blitzer, head of the S&P Index Committee. “They’re confident they’ll get re-elected no matter what happens. It’s a strange situation where the forces to pull people back together are not there.”

The last two budget standoffs have rattled financial markets and unsettled consumers. But so far, the latest fiscal theatrics seem to have had little impact. That may be because the country has become numb to the threat of a government shutdown, according to Nicholas Colas, of ConvergEx Group.

“We have seen many, many of these debates over many years, we’ve survived them all. It’s not very pretty while it happens but I think markets increasingly understand it’s the state of play in Washington, and it’s not going to change anytime soon.”

Or it may be that the latest fiscal follies are just too ridiculous to take seriously.

“It is a pretty infantile level of discussion,” said David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds.

 

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