Sizing Up the Bill
Deficit-neutrality is a very good thing, but it isn’t the only factor to consider when faced with a massive piece of legislation. For one thing, as Ryan suggests, there’s the drag on economic growth from the tax increases required to keep a $2.3 trillion bill safely in the black.
And the Obama administration, to its credit, has done what the Bush administration never did, and proposed ways to offset every dollar (and then some) of new spending. But even acknowledged and potentially offset, the cost matters. The health care bills would lock us into trillions in required spending (private as well as public), required taxes, and necessary spending cuts at a time when our economy is stagnant, our fiscal situation parlous, and our need for flexibility immense.