The confederation of hypocrites and liars in the United States Senate, aka the Republican caucus plus Ben Nelson, voted today for the third time to kill the “tax extenders” bill which would have extended unemployment benefits, several tax credits, and Medicare funding to states facing budget crises.
Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, George Voinovich of Ohio, John Kyl of Arizona, and Ben Nelson of Nebraska all cited the cost of the bill and what it would add to the deficit, about $33 billion, as the main reason for their “no” votes.
Nice to see this new-found consternation about deficits from these four hypocrites. All four voted for the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, which cost approximately $2.5 trillion, not one dime paid for, all deficit financed. All four voted for Medicare Part D, also in 2003, which cost another trillion dollars, not one cent paid for.
Since these 4 are so concerned about cost, let’s take a look at what the price of their action today will be. From Suzy Khimm at Mother Jones:
“In addition to the millions of Americans who stand to lose unemployment benefits, a huge number of private and public sector employees will lose their jobs due to state budget cuts. Without federal help, states will have to pour in more money to prop up Medicaid, forcing them to make cutbacks in other parts of the budget. As a result, Moody’s chief economist estimates that 200,000 jobs could be axed without federal Medicaid support, and the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities puts the number as high as 900,000—jobs belonging to teachers, firemen, police, and social workers, among others.”
The Wonk Room has more:
“[The Atlantic’s Derek] Thompson pointed to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report stating that “without the extended Medicaid funding, Pennsylvania plans to cut funding for domestic violence prevention in half, eliminate all state funds for addressing substance abuse and homelessness, cut funding for child welfare by one-quarter, and cut payments to private hospitals, nursing homes, and doctors across the state — among other steps.” But Pennsylvania is not the only state that will have to take dramatic steps if Congress doesn’t act.
Arizona would have to cut funding for its state court system, Colorado’s likely cuts “include eliminating state aid for full-day kindergarten for 35,000 children, eliminating preschool aid for 21,000 children, and increasing overcrowding in juvenile detention facilities,” while New Mexico “could eliminate a wide range of Medicaid services, including emergency hospital services, inpatient psychiatric care, personal care assistance for the disabled, prescribed medications, and hospice care.”
Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Economy.com, estimated that 200,000 jobs could be at stake in this debate over Medicaid funding. “If state governments don’t get additional help from the federal government in the coming fiscal year, then the job losses will be at least that large — in all likelihood, measurably larger than that,” Zandi said.”
Do the deficit hypocrites care? Hell no. A pox on all their houses.