You know how I've been complaining about the weird way in which the political discourse seems to assume the Affordable Care Act didn't happen? Here's another good example from Politico:
As a candidate, Obama promised to deal with the exploding deficit — so committed to tackling the underlying issue of entitlement reform that he told The Washington Post he’d make the “hard decisions … under my watch” shortly before his inauguration almost 27 months ago.
But as president, such high-minded goals have run headlong into a tanking economy and more mundane political imperatives, like positioning himself for his 2012 reelection campaign.
He set up a blue-ribbon deficit commission last year — even promised its report wouldn’t gather dust on the shelves — then promptly distanced himself from it. His State of the Union speech mentioned debt reduction, but focused on stimulating job growth and funneling new funding to education, infrastructure development and green energy projects. And he adopted a political strategy that seemed to be based on Republicans making the first move on presenting a plan for the deficit.
This is so bizarre. Obama spent most of his first two years muscling through a massive bill designed to slow down the single biggest driver of rising deficits. It would according to the Congressional Budget Office, reduce the deficit a lot:
Now, I realize that Republicans argue that the CBO scoring overestimates the savings. On the other hand, a lot of liberals think it underestimates the savings, by conservatively assuming the myriad delivery system reforms will have no impact. In any case, it's beyond dispute that the administration passed a major bill that it argued will reduce the deficit. Somehow this fact has disappeared from the historical memory, and everybody's acting like nobody proposed doing anything about the deficit until Paul Ryan came along to save us.