Thursday, June 20, 2013

GOP Surprised By Nonpartisan CBO Report

(This caricature of a surprised GOP elephant is by DonkeyHotey.)

A few weeks ago, the ultra-right-wing Heritage Foundation said passing immigration reform would cost the government more money and increase the deficit. Teabagger congressional Republicans seized on this as though it was factual, and have been using it to oppose immigration reform. So you can imagine their surprise when the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their own study of the financial effects of immigration reform (specifically the current Senate version of immigration reform).

The CBO report exposed the Heritage Foundation's claim as just right-wing wishful thinking, with no basis in real world facts. The CBO study says the immigration reform being considered in the Senate would cost the government about $22 billion over the next 10 years (2014 through 2023), but would bring in $197 billion in additional revenues -- meaning it would reduce the budget deficit by about $175 billion. Then in the 10 years after that (2024 to 2033), it would reduce the budget deficit by another $700 billion. That's nearly a trillion dollars in budget reductions in the next 20 years just from passing immigration reform (with a path to citizenship).

Of course, the Republicans opposed to that reform are now busy trying to denigrate the CBO report. They claim the CBO has a history of being wrong (in spite of the fact that they love to tout the CBO when it agrees with them). But the truth is that the CBO is a nonpartisan organization that is not controlled by either party -- and while that report is just an educated guess by experts as to the effect of the bill, it is the best nonpartisan appraisal available (and probably much closer to the truth than any partisan appraisal by either side).

And the really crazy part of this is that it is the proposed Republican amendments to the bill that would increase the cost of immigration reform. One proposal would triple the number of border patrol officers, and others would send tons of high tech equipment to the border -- all of which would increase the cost of immigration reform and significantly cut the deficit savings. And it would do this in spite of the fact that we currently have negative immigration of undocumented workers (more are leaving than are entering), and Homeland Security already gives our border security its highest rating.

But then the Republicans have never been really interested in cutting the budget. Remember, they took a budget surplus left to them by President Clinton and turned it into a gigantic budget deficit. While they do propose cutting programs that help children, the poor, and the elderly, it is only so they can turn around and spend more for corporate subsidies, tax cuts for the rich, and the waging of unnecessary wars. They talk about budget-cutting to fool people into voting for them, but they are actually much bigger spenders than Democrats.

Once again, the Republican's right-wing lies have been exposed. When is the public going to figure out the nefarious and big-spending policies of the GOP?

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