REPEAL THE ACA, INCREASE THE DEFICIT…. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), the ranking member of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Healthcare, recently wrote to the Congressional Budget Office with a question. With the midterm elections coming up, and the Republican desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act still simmering, the far-right Idahoan wanted the CBO to flesh out some details about health care reform and the budget.

I don’t imagine he was pleased with the response.

This week, the CBO explained to Crapo in some detail that scrapping the law would add nearly half a trillion dollars to deficits over the next decade.

“[Y]ou asked what the net deficit impact would be if certain provisions of PPACA and the Reconciliation Act that were estimated to generate net savings were eliminated — specifically, those which were originally estimated to generate a net reduction in mandatory outlays of $455 billion over the 2010-2019 period. The estimate of $455 billion mentioned in your letter represents the net effects of many provisions. Some of those provisions generated savings for Medicare, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and some generated costs.

“If those provisions were repealed, CBO estimates that there would be an increase in deficits similar to its original estimate of $455 billion in net savings over that period.”

This is significant, of course, to the extent that Republicans are making promises to voters that don’t make any sense. The GOP is allegedly committed to deficit reduction, and at the same time, is committing to scrapping the entire Affordable Care Act, which would in turn increase the deficit.

For some Republicans who really don’t know what they’re talking about, they’ll even combine these contradictory positions simultaneously. Kelly Ayotte, an often-confused Republican Senate candidate in New Hampshire, recently told local reporters that the federal budget deficit is “the biggest threat to our country” right now. Putting aside the fact that this position doesn’t make sense, she was then asked how she’d reduce it. Ayotte replied she’d repeal the Affordable Care Act.

In other words, she’d try to reduce the deficit by increasing the deficit.

In related news, Republicans believe accelerators make cars slow down, lighter fluid puts fires out, and light bulbs make rooms darker.

I realize when the GOP talks about deficit reduction, the party’s candidates don’t really mean it. But as they continue to hit the campaign trail, Republicans should probably at least pretend to explain how they’d go about addressing what they claim to be an important issue. If they say they can achieve deficit reduction through ACA repeal, someone ought to point out how backwards this is.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.