BREAKING: Health Care Reform Makes it Harder to Balance the Budget

More

Who could possibly have predicted this shocking and totally unexpected turn of events?



Senate Democrats released details Wednesday of a five-year budget plan that promises to narrow the deficit dramatically by 2015 but still accumulates almost $3.9 trillion more government debt over the same period.

Trying to survive the political storm around them, Democrats would postpone the toughest decisions until after November's elections, when a presidential fiscal commission is scheduled to make its report to Congress. But there is no escaping the political bind that grips the party, exhausted from the debate over health care reform and under political pressure to extend Bush-era tax cuts.

Health care ate up most of the available Medicare savings and popular tax offsets that might otherwise be tapped to narrow the deficit. And as a result, it's harder to dig out of the deficit hole, and little progress will be made in the short term absent a further surge in the economy.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Remote Warehouse Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where the Wild Things Go

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Adults Need Playtime Too

When was the last time you played your favorite childhood game?

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In