Brian Beutler follows up on the idea of doing nothing in terms of the deficit right now, letting the Bush tax cuts expire without imposing an austerity agenda on the nation, drastically slashing domestic spending. Doing nothing now, letting the tax cuts expire, implementing the Affordable Care Act, makes the national debt "totally manageable," according to the CBO.
Beutler expands on it with what he terms the chart of the day, from the Congressional Budget Office.
[T]he [CBO] forecast also presents another opportunity to remind people that the medium-term budget outlook is perfectly fine if Congress adheres to the law as it's currently written. That means no repealing the health care law, for one, but more significantly it means allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, and (unfathomably) allowing Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors to fall to the levels prescribed by the formula Congress wrote almost 15 years ago. In other words, no more "doc fixes."
Helpfully, CBO juxtaposed these two alternative futures in a pair of graphs and, just as last time, it projects that deficits will disappear entirely by the end of President Obama's second term (if he gets a second term) if Congress were to just sit on its hands and do nothing.
The extended baseline scenario is the "do nothing" approach, adhering to current law. The alternative scenario is what happens if government were to "continue today’s underlying fiscal policy," e.g. repeal the ACA, extend the Bush tax cuts yet again.
Long-term, there could be some problems with doing nothing, and short-term it would mean not just reverting to the Clinton tax rates for the rich, but also the middle class, so there would be a tax hit for us, too. But weighing a bit of a tax hike against drastic cuts to domestic spending that could mean friends and family suffer even more economically, might make that sting a little less. Particularly in light of the fact that the sacrifice would finally actually be shared by everyone, not just the poor and middle class.