Scenario: Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins asks for a yellow piece of fruit. The grocer gives her a lemon. She throws it against a wall.
Jenkins pulled a similar stunt on Monday, when she released a statement praising Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback for opposing the health-care legislation creeping through the Senate. Jenkins' statement hit the Republican talking points (increase taxes, federal bureaucrats) and concluded with a call for Congress "to go back to the drawing board and pass reforms to bring down costs and ensure all Americans have access to health care."
Funny thing about the health-care reform bills Jenkins wants to see crash: They accomplish the very things she says she wants. The House and Senate bills expand coverage and are projected to reduce the deficit over 10 years.
So what gives?
Asked for clarification, Mary Geiger, Jenkins' spokeswoman, provided this statement:
"Over the 20 years that I practiced public accounting as a CPA, I never saw a more ridiculous accounting gimmick than collecting revenues for 10 years, providing services for six years, and pretending like that's not going to put your operation into massive debt when the program is fully instituted."Jenkins' reasoning is similar to a Wall Street Journal editorial, which complained in November that the House bill "'pays for' about six years of program with a decade of revenue."
It's true that the taxes kick in first, before many of the bill's biggest expenses get started. But the editorial doesn't mention that the CBO [Congressional Budget Office] projects the largest cost savings for the bill's final four years, and that the bill appears to be self-sustaining starting around 2017.Factcheck.org also looked into the supposed accounting tricks in the legislation. U.S. Budget Watch found some gimmicks, all right. But if Health-Care Reform '09 represents the height of ridiculous accounting, Jenkins has led a sheltered life.