Damn the Facts, Full Speed Ahead!

By Richard Thayer

Well, the 112th Congress got off to a rip-roaring start this past week with the swearing in of our nation’s lawmakers. There was the presentation of the speaker’s gavel to Republican head John Boehner, a solemn vow on behalf of the new House majority to carry out the will of the American people despite opposition from those heathen Democrats, and a pledge that it would no longer be “business as usual” in the nation’s capital.

Then soon after all the pomp and ceremony was completed, it was back to business as usual.

In an effort to show their sincerity in following the Constitution to the letter in the coming session of Congress, our lawmakers took turns reading it. It was all very impressive. Especially when one of the onlookers in the gallery yelled out that President Obama isn’t a native-born American and therefore is not really our president.

There was one other rather embarrassing glitch in all of this. It seems that two of the Republican congressmen were not present for the swearing in ceremony on the floor. They were watching it on TV. Afterwards, they conducted congressional business without being officially congressmen, thus violating the very document they were reading.  Oops!

How would you like that egg on your face, congressman, over-easy or scrambled?

Then, the Republicans, knowing full well what is uppermost in the hearts and minds of the American people, immediately launched into their campaign to right America’s number one problem: repealing the health care law, the one the 111th Congress passed.

Now you probably thought the number one problem was unemployment. So did I. That’s what you and I get for not watching Fox News. We’re out of touch.

However, there was a slight speed bump introduced into the equation this past week when the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released its report showing that repealing the health care law would actually increase the federal deficit by approximately (give or take a billion) $230 billion from 2012 to 2021.

In addition, the CBO also estimates that around 32 million fewer Americans would have health insurance in 2019 if the law is repealed.

When presented with this information Speaker Boehner was undeterred and said, “Well, I do not believe that repealing the job-killing health care law will increase the deficit. CBO is entitled to their opinion…”

And what about that claim that the health care law is a “job-killer”?

Here’s what another non-partisan organization – FactCheck.org – says about it:

“When it comes to truth in labeling, House Republicans are getting off to a poor start with their constantly repeated references to the new health care law as ‘job-killing.’

“Independent, non-partisan experts project only a ‘small’ or ‘minimal’ impact on jobs, even before taking likely job gains in the health care and insurance industries into account.

“The House Republican leadership, in a report issued January 6, badly misrepresents what the Congressional Budget Office has said about the law. In fact, CBO is among those saying the effect ‘will probably be small.’

“The GOP also cites a study projecting a 1.6 million job loss – but fails to mention that the study refers to a hypothetical employer mandate that is not part of the new law.

“The same study cited by the GOP also predicts an offsetting gain of 890,000 jobs in hospitals, doctors’ offices and insurance companies – a factor not mentioned by the House leadership.”

In other words, “Damn the facts, we’re going ahead with our plans anyway.”

And speaking of facts. It seems that in spite of all this hullabaloo over health care repeal, the bill will ultimately die in the Senate.

But I’m sure that fact later this month will not deter the Republican Party from further attempts at having it repealed.

After all, it is our country’s number one priority.



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