Yesterday, on MSNBC, Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.) went on the air with Carlos Watson to discuss the House's health care reform bill. Pence used the occasion to do what he's done in the past: straight up make stuff up! On this occasion, Pence attempted to peddle some phony CBO figures:
PENCE: We don't need this administration and House Democrats, even with the changes that have been negotiated in their deal, are intent on doing, and that is launching a massive, new, government-run insurance plan that will [mean] literally nearly a trillion dollars in higher taxes at the outset...
Watson jumped on the remark rather quickly, saying, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa ... unless you're looking at different data than I'm looking at, I don't remember there being a trillion dollars in new taxes." Asked to clarify his statement, Pence averred, "Yeah, I'm rounding up," later offering a $800 billion price tag.
This is an awesome and magical job of rounding up he's doing! Via ThinkProgress:
In fact, the CBO's preliminary estimate of the House bill said that its entire cost would be just over $1 trillion over 10 years. $540 billion of that (i.e. not $800 billion or $1 trillion) would be paid for with new taxes on the rich affecting just 1.2 percent of U.S. households. The rest of the bill would be fully offset by savings in Medicare and other health systems.
So, Pence "rounds up" $540 billion to $1 trillion -- or maybe $800 billion? That's a wonderfully precise way of looking at the numbers! By that logic, the House need only find a way to drop that $540 billion line item by fifty billion or so ... Mike Pence would be forced to round the cost down to nothing!
Of course, the greater feat of magical mathematics is the way Pence takes the 1.2 percent of U.S. households that will be affected by the proposed surtax and, by implication, rounds it all the way up to "everybody."