Jacob Sullum

Even if the health care law does leave deficits a bit lower than they were otherwise expected to be, that will be thanks to more than $800 billion in new taxes, fees and penalties it imposes during its first decade. Similarly, the White House claims "more than $4 trillion in balanced deficit reduction" from 2013 through 2022, but that includes nearly $2 trillion in tax hikes (which Obama prefers to call "tax reform"). The administration also counts $1 trillion in reductions from projected spending that were enacted last summer and $848 billion in fictitious savings from war spending that never would have happened.

At the same time, the administration's figure ignores the hundreds of billions of dollars that will be required to maintain Medicare patients' access to care by preventing doctors from exiting the program because of scheduled rate cuts. Once such "gimmicks" are taken into account, the Republican-controlled House Budget Committee calculates, the $2 trillion in spending reductions claimed by the president shrinks to $413 billion.

Even then, the president's "savings" do not amount to cuts in overall spending, which would continue to rise every year under his proposal. Although Obama calls his plan "balanced," following it would mean the budget never is.

Jacob Sullum

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine and a contributing columnist on Townhall.com.
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