Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

The Deficit Pledge

Sep 9, 2009 | Health Care

"I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future. Period.”

That is a clear cut pledge, and a very good one. Yes, it would be better to promise only to sign a bill that reduces the deficit – a purported purpose of health care reform. But we will take this as a very encouraging pledge nonetheless. The President’s framing of the root of the budget problem was less compelling given his own budget.

"Part of the reason I faced a trillion dollar deficit when I walked in the door of the White House is because too many initiatives over the last decade were not paid for – from the Iraq War to tax breaks for the wealthy. I will not make that same mistake with health care."

Maybe not with health care, but with the rest of the budget – how does that make sense? The President’s own budget would increase the deficit by trillions by extending the Bush tax cuts, cutting the AMT, increasing Medicare doc payments, extending some of the tax cuts in the stimulus package, and increasing costs for Pell Grants. When it comes to deficit financing, there is plenty of blame to go around.