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Friday, February 26, 2010

Why the Democrats prefer anecdotes to the details of their bills

Just about every Democrat who spoke yesterday trotted out their heart-wrenching anecdotes about people without insurance. The Republicans could have answered with their own heart-wrenching anecdotes from countries where programs very similar to the Democrats' bill have been in place for years. Instead they blinded the Democrats with the details of their own bill and how they're double-counting money. As Stephen Spruiell points out, they had just no answer to the points that Paul Ryan was making.
We have some strong disagreements on the numbers,” President Obama said after Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) concluded his devastating critique of the Democrats’ budget claims, “but I don’t want to get too bogged down.” In the ensuing debate, what became clear is that the Democrats just don’t have an answer to Ryan’s arguments. They ducked, dodged, and changed the subject repeatedly, because Ryan’s numbers themselves are unimpeachable.

The Democrats are touting an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office that their health-care bill would reduce the deficit by around $130 billion over the next ten years. What Ryan pointed out — and what no Democrat even attempted to counter — is that this is because the legislation front-loads tax hikes and Medicare cuts and defers costs, forcing the CBO to score ten years of offsets with only six years of spending. Looked at on a level playing field, the true ten-year cost of the bill is $2.3 trillion rather than $950 billion, Ryan said.

Then he brought up another gimmick: The bill is full of double-counting. “Savings” are counted as offsets for new health-care spending and at the same time set aside to pay for future entitlements. For instance, the Democrats claim $52 billion in offsets as a result of increasing Social Security payroll-tax revenues. But these dollars are already claimed for future Social Security beneficiaries. They can’t pay for both. The Democrats take another $72 billion in premiums intended to fund a new long-term-care program and count them as offsets for other spending. Ryan pointed out that Senate Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad has called this “a Ponzi scheme of the first order, the kind of thing that Bernie Madoff would have been proud of.”

Perhaps most important, Ryan confronted the Democrats with the issue of the “Doc Fix” — a separate bill that would have added $371 billion to the Democrats’ legislation if it hadn’t been stripped out. The Doc Fix would have prevented Medicare reimbursements to doctors from plummeting by 21 percent, a drop that Congress put into the bill to improve its CBO score but never planned to allow, most political observers agree.

Obama responded to Ryan by saying he didn’t want to get “bogged down” in a debate over the numbers; instead, he dared Republicans to defend Medicare Advantage, the program Democrats are planning to cut in order to generate some legitimate savings to pay for their new programs. But the merits of Medicare Advantage are irrelevant to Ryan’s critique, which, put simply, is:

1. Obama said he wouldn’t sign a bill that adds to the deficit;
2. The bill he supports clearly would; even though
3. Democrats have rigged the legislation to produce a deficit-neutral CBO score.
Unfortunately, reality doesn't feature rigged results.

Another interesting wrinkle results from their using reconciliation to pass this thing. As I understand it, reconciliation bills have limits on them because they're passed as part of the budget. So if this health care bill gets passed through reconciliation, it would only be for five years. The Democrats have set up the first decade of the bill by having the tax increases and Medicare cuts start now, but the benefits would only kick in after four years in order to get a good rating from the CBO. So just as the benefits were beginning, we'll be bogged down in a massive debate over whether or not to extend this thing. And who knows what the composition of the Congress will be five years from now even if Obama is still in the White House. So if you're planning now to have Obamacare, remember that you have to wait four years and it might only be in place, in this form, for one year before we get the fun of enduring this debate one more year.

39 comments:

Tacitus Voltaire said...

Republican Midterm Gloat Fail

FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll. Feb. 23-24, 2010. N=900 registered voters nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"Who do you want to win this year's congressional elections: the Democrats or the Republicans?"

Then: 2/2-3/10
Democrats 36%
Republicans 41%

Now: 2/23-24/10
Democrats 36%
Republicans 35%


the details of their bills

as for the health care bills - try going to pollingreport.com and looking up the responses when americans are asked about the DETAILS of the bills - they support them overwhelmingly

Republican Chickens Not Yet Hatched

Tacitus Voltaire said...

details

12 bazillion venusian quatloos to anybody who can list the, say, five to ten major provisions of the house or senate bill

extra points for telling us why you are for or against the individual provisions

personally, my favorite provision is the one that will make it illegal, by 2013 at the latest, for insurance companies to 1) deny insurance (or charge more) because of pre-existing conditions, and 2) to kick people off of insurance because they have reached "lifetime limits" (of the amount the ins. co. is willing to pay)

it is worth noting that all other countries of the world already have such provisions in place

Pat Patterson said...

Yet the complete poll that TV refers to in his abridged version shows that only once in the last three polls have the Republicans been ahead and not once neither outside the margin of error. What is interesting is how often, even Huffingto Post, Obama is considered unfavorablly for a second term and that in general this congress is held in even lower regard than most.


FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll. Feb. 23-24, 2010. N=900 registered voters nationwide. MoE ± 3.

.

"Who do you want to win this year's congressional elections: the Democrats or the Republicans?" Options rotated

.

Democrats Republicans Neither (vol.) Unsure
% % % %
2/23-24/10
36 35 14 15
2/2-3/10
36 41 11 12
1/12-13/10
38 37 10 15

But since we don't select Congress or the president by polls we must rely on the elections which show that being a Democrat right now is not quite as unpopular as Typhus Mary but close enough.

tfhr said...

TV,

Ted Kennedy's seat.

Tacitus Voltaire said...

not once neither outside the margin of error

i'm responding to the many republican premature 2010 victory celebrations, some of which can even be found in betsy's posts

Obama is considered unfavorablly for a second term

at this point in his presidency obama gets a 50% average approval from gallup as opposed to a 47% average approval from gallup for ronald reagan at the same point in his presidency

But since we don't select Congress or the president by polls we must rely on the elections which show that being a Democrat right now is not quite as unpopular as Typhus Mary

democrats had very large majorities overall in the 2006 and 2008 elections. please reread this last sentence and untangle the two thoughts thank you

the elections will show what the elections will show when the elections take place. on general principles, i expect democrats to lose at least 25 seats in the house (see historical data for midterms). republicans need to pick up 40 to control the house - could happen! but it didn't happen yet...

for bonus points, can you tell me any of the the things that were in the Contract With America that was supposed to be the main accomplishment of the republican party the last time it took over congress? (clinton's gallup approval was about 42% in oct '94 IIRC)

Tacitus Voltaire said...

Ted Kennedy's seat

try taking to the bank in november

Locomotive Breath said...

obama gets a 50% average approval from gallup as opposed to a 47% average approval from gallup for ronald reagan at the same point in his presidency

The difference is that RR set a course of action certain to pull the economy out of a slump while BO is setting a course of action to prolong the slump.

can you tell me any of the the things that were in the Contract With America that was supposed to be the main accomplishment of the republican party

Before they lost their way and tried to stay in office by acting like Democrats, the Republican Congress balanced the budget. For which BC's supporters continue to try and take credit. One of the major cost savings was welfare reform which BC vetoed twice before he triangulated and decided to let it through. Many Democrats are still mad at him for doing that.

tfhr said...

TV,

Can I choose my own bank or do I have to use one that Obama has bought?

Tacitus Voltaire said...

what, you are all dead set against the health care bills, but you can't tell me what's in them? you can't remember anything about what was in the contract with america?

c'mon, guys, you all are capable of using 'teh google'!

Tacitus Voltaire said...

The difference is that RR set a course of action certain to pull the economy out of a slump while BO is setting a course of action to prolong the slump.

in your opinion. and if the economy is in good shape in 2012, nobody will care about this prediction of yours

i remember very clearly (i was working for the army at the time) how so many "conservatives" were absolutely dead certain that bill clinton's tax increases in 1993 would lead to a massive economic collapse "within six months"

perhaps you would like to make predictions too.

Tacitus Voltaire said...

since "end welfare as we know it" was a prominent slogan in bill clinton's presidential campaign of 1992, it's a little unfair of you to make it sound like the whole thing was forced on him

Tacitus Voltaire said...

or do I have to use one that Obama has bought?

which one is that?

Pat Patterson said...

Since Clinton vetoed the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, which was one of the items in the Contract for America, and he faced a schism in his own party, then, yes, it was forced upon him and then passed with some minor changes later that year. With also suitable howling from the left.

Tacitus Voltaire said...

pat, he campaigned on "ending welfare as we know it". he didn't like they way the bill was written the first two times

a little lesson in high school civics for you: if a president doesn't want to sign a bill, he doesn't have to! this is called a "veto". it is a powerful tool for opposing bills that congress is trying to, uh, "force" on them, since a presidential veto needs to be overturned by IIRC a two thirds majority in congress for the bill to finally pass

you can't really claim that a measure that a president campaigned on and a bill that he signed willingly were "forced" on him just because he wasn't satisfied with the first cut

President Clinton vetoed the previous welfare reform bill (H.R. 4) submitted by Congress because it did too little to move people into jobs and failed to provide the supports -- like child care and health care -- that families need to move from welfare to work. "The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996" includes several improvements over the vetoed bill

tfhr said...

TV,

I like this one: http://www.bankofobama.org/

You can use it to give me your "two cents worth", but you know I'd only remind you that you can't spare it.

Here's a short list:

Citi
BoA

Read this for more:

"...there was a shocking piece in the Washington Post about how America's "too-big-to-fail" banks have gotten even bigger since the meltdown. Four banks (Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citi) now issue 50 percent of America's mortgages and control two-thirds of the nation's credit cards. According to FDIC chair Sheila Blair, this kind of consolidation of power 'fed the crisis, and it has gotten worse because of the crisis.'"

And the consolidation isn't over. As WaPo's David Cho points out, these mega-banks now get even more favorable treatment from creditors because the creditors know the banks will be bailed out by taxpayers if they take on too much risk. This favorable treatment includes lower borrowing costs than other banks are able to get. This, in turn, will put even more of these smaller banks out of business, furthering the concentration of wealth and power. And Democrats are ceding the populist field of trust busting to Republicans.
"
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/has-obamas-handling-of-th_b_273341.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/27/AR2009082704193.html?nav=rss_email/components

Getting the government deeper into propping up banks and taking over health care is OK with you? Please don't rant here about threats to our freedom if you support greater government intrusion into these industries.

Tacitus Voltaire said...

Getting the government deeper into propping up banks and taking over health care is OK with you?

oh, "propping up" banks - i didn't think we'd actually bought any banks. hey, nobody liked it when the titans of industry went to the american government and told them that the entire world economy would collapse unless the government could lend them a trillion dollars. (no, that is not an exaggeration) this was not some idea that progressive activists came up with, you know. if you don't like the bank bailouts, take it up with the management of citi and bofa. but then, don't tell me anymore about how government should be run like a business by business people who know so much more about profitable and successful management of insurance companies, brokerage houses, banks, and automobile companies

as for "taking over health care", nothing like that is proposed. the bills restrict abuses by health insurance companies, require everybody to have health insurance, and provide federal money to help buy health insurance if they can't afford it. no hospitals, or, for that matter, insurance companies will be taken over by the government.

the reason i challanged you all to tell me what is in the health insurance reform bills that you object to so much is that i have an idea that you are ignorantly objecting to something you don't know anything about. it seems you are determined to prove me right about that

Tacitus Voltaire said...

Please don't rant here about threats to our freedom if you support greater government intrusion into these industries.

oh, is regulation of industry abuses a violation of constitutional guarantees in the bill of rights, now?

don't claim to be the party of smaller goverment if you support vastly increased government access to your private communications and business records

because you're gullible enough to believe politicians when they tell you less freedom is the only way to be more safe

and don't tell me that you're the party of people who are too smart to believe the lies of politicians

Tacitus Voltaire said...

And the consolidation isn't over. As WaPo's David Cho points out, these mega-banks now get even more favorable treatment from creditors because the creditors know the banks will be bailed out by taxpayers if they take on too much risk. This favorable treatment includes lower borrowing costs than other banks are able to get. This, in turn, will put even more of these smaller banks out of business, furthering the concentration of wealth and power

yeah, sounds like one of my hippie-dippie left wing schemes for getting the government to help poor people get more education and health care alright

tfhr said...

TV,

You're all over the place. Stay focused.

Let's talk about this gem:

"...require everybody to have health insurance...."

Now let's talk about freedom and liberty. The government is going to tell you that you must have health insurance. Failure to do so will incur fines and/or result in incarceration.

You're OK with that?

If a person does not want a health insurance policy for whatever reason, you still think they must be forced to have a policy.

If they want to see a doctor and are willing to pay cash on the spot instead of feeding a policy, that's wrong?

It's a good thing there are "Progressives" here to make the choices for us all!

How did you get to be so much smarter than everyone else so that you could make decisions for us all? Please share that with us!

Tacitus Voltaire said...

"...require everybody to have health insurance...."
Now let's talk about freedom and liberty. The government is going to tell you that you must have health insurance. Failure to do so will incur fines and/or result in incarceration.
You're OK with that?


what a relief to actually be dicussing facts.

a lot of people on the left object vehemently to this provision, particularly since under the current bills it would compel americans to buy rather expensive insurance from the existing private companies. the insurance companies, of course, think it's just jim dandy! progressives (it seems from what my buddies say) would vastly prefer that it be accompanied by the so-called 'public option' - that is, a really affordable not-for-profit (like Kaiser Permanente), administered by the government. however, the position of the "left blogosphere", by in large, is that a system where health insurance is socialized, like single payer in canada (which does have waiting line problems but supplies health care payments at one half of what it costs in america) would be ideal

but here's the thing:

1) the fact that so many americans don't have health insurance - overwhelmingly of course the poorest - and end up getting free care at hospitals when their conditions get really bad and expensive to treat - is one of the reasons why we pay twice as much for the same amount of health care as any other country in the world. in short, we all pay for americans who don't have health insurance. ONE OF THE MAJOR GOALS OF THESE BILLS IS TO GET PEOPLE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR SHARE AND GET THE FINANCIAL BURDEN OFF OF THE REST OF US

responsibility is good, remember?

2) every other country in the world requires that all of its citizens carry basic health insurance.

it could be that there is a reason for that, eh?

so, of course, requiring everybody to have health insurance on pain of prosecution is definitely government compulsion, and is the only ACTUAL major provision of the ACTUAL health insurance reform bills that consistently polls as more opposed than support

so, i don't like to be compelled to do things by the government. i don't like being compelled to carry auto insurance on pain of prosecution. i don't like being compelled to pay my rather painful property taxes. but, not being compelled to do anything at all, under any circumstances, by the government, you will find, is not actually a provision of the bill of rights

but i like the argument that making everybody carry insurance will free us of the burden of paying for people who don't have it, and will also bring health insurance, and therefore proper medical care, to millions of poor children. it might even bring down costs, although i'm not optimistic that anything like that will happen...

How did you get to be so much smarter than everyone else so that you could make decisions for us all? Please share that with us!

gee! and how did you get to be so much smarter than everybody else so that you could make the decision for us all that we needed to cut back on our constitutional rights to the privacy of our personal communications and business records? please share that with us! and imagine - you are so smart that you were able to decide that the "patriot" act was a wonderful thing without even bothering to find out what its provisions are!

now, that's smart!

equitus said...

yeah, sounds like one of my hippie-dippie left wing schemes for getting the government to help poor people get more education and health care alright

Yes. For some, good intentions trump all other concerns.

Tacitus Voltaire said...

Yes. For some, good intentions trump all other concerns

you know, the point at which a situation where the heads of insurance companies, major banks, and automobile manufacturers went to the government and told them that an unparalleled economic disaster would befall the united states unless they were lent trillions of dollar

the point at which, i say, that a situation where people can actually believe this was something that progressives and socialists (if they actually exist) were the originators of and are actually in favor of -

at this point your argument has left unreasonable, gone right through ridiculous, and has arrived at just plain surrealist

Tacitus Voltaire said...

Getting the government deeper into propping up banks and taking over health care is OK with you?

listen, let's get this point perfectly clear

the "progressive" view of the situation is this:

a bunch of titans of industry, masters of the universe, who had been touted to us as the people who really knew how things worked, and should be emulated by everybody else, especially in government

came hat in hand to the government of the united states predicting World Economic Fail unless they were lent, in total, i think ultimately several trillion dollars

to me this is like getting mugged: you believe the mugger when he says you will get hurt badly if you don't give him the money, but on the other hand

YOU'RE BEING MUGGED!

and that's the way we feel about it

tfhr said...

TV,

You found your shift key! Hurrah!

But then you used it to say this:

"...GET PEOPLE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR SHARE AND GET THE FINANCIAL BURDEN OFF OF THE REST OF US...."

So you're saying that the people that have the least money, the ones you say are treated exclusively at the emergency room will be made to "TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR SHARE AND GET THE FINANCIAL BURDEN OFF OF THE REST OF US...." And we're going to do this by forcing them to get health insurance that they will pay for...or we will pay for? How does that shift the financial burden? How are these people "responsible"?

As usual, your math does not add up. You're just passing that financial burden onto the tax payer wrapped up in a nice, neat, expensive government bureaucratic program. Well done.

And just who are you, or anyone else for that matter, to determine what someones' "SHARE" is when it comes to health care? I see, you prefer that the government makes that decision, as opposed to an insurance company, or God forbid, the patient and doctor working together, because if the consumer doesn't like that, the consumer can just go somewhere else, right? So when the government is competing with private health care, it can always operate at a loss to undercut the private concern. It can do that as long as it can print money, right? That would be good for competition and the economy, right? And when employers dump their current plans in favor of a "cheaper" government plan, the employees will get to keep their current health care providers even though those health care providers were getting paid more by the previous plan? That sounds GREAT! So those health care providers can just operate at a loss too! PRICE CONTROLS will take care of that, right?

You know, TV, if there were less government involvement in our health care system, it would be cheaper for everyone. I'm fine with regulations to insure quality, safety and performance, but when government subsidizes one treatment for one person and says that it will pay less than what it costs the doctor to perform that service, then the doctor passes the additional cost on to the rest of us. Welcome to MEDICARE, TV. Government dictates prices without regard to the real costs incurred by the health care provider and it drives up costs for everyone. Obamacare will be the same on a grander scale than Medicare.

Use some common sense. Medicare, Medicaid and the VA are all failing or in deep trouble. They are bloated, inefficient government programs, like Social Security, that get larger every year without any real means to spread the cost of their upkeep to new, healthy employees. Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and Medicare isn't much better. If Obama could fix any of those programs, I'd listen to his plans to expand government into the health care system even further but he has done nothing. He could work to ferret out fraud, waste and abuse in Medicare. He has not. There's no reason to believe that this program, all 2,500 pages, would be any better. Obama is talking about spending more than a trillion dollars over the next ten years - all based on a garbled stack of paper that couldn't make it through the Senate when the Dems had 60 seats.

Tacitus Voltaire said...

As usual, your math does not add up

if it wasn't significantly cheaper in the long run to pay for health insurance than to pay hospital bills directly, there wouldn't be much point to it, would there? by the way, insurance companies don't make their huge profits by winning the bet they make with you that you are going to pay them more than they pay out for you. when i worked in a reinsurance company i got a look at the system. i bet you can figure out where the big profits in insurance come from

and you overlooked an important point that i stated explicitly above, which is, again, that poor people without insurance are very prone to putting off treatment until the condition becomes acute, at which time the emergency care is considerably more expensive than if they had gotten it taken care of at an early stage. i have you at a bit of a disadvantage her, i suppose, since my wife works at a hospital where this particular issue is on their minds every day as they try to hold down costs by promoting more insurance, and thus earlier and better care, and thus less non funded expenses that need to be amortized by higher prices for the paying customers

but you raise a very significant and valid issue when you object to being forced, along with the rest of us, to have your (our) tax dollars used to subsidize health insurance for poor people

well, you see, one if the biggest attractions of the bill to me is that it would buy insurance, and therefore better medical care, for millions of poor children in this country. i don't know what to tell you if you don't agree with me that that would be one of the most wonderful things we could possibly do with our tax dollars. can you tell me what would possibly be a better use of our money than better medical care for millions of american children?

and finally, if for some reason which i can't fathom you disagree with that, we can go back to the self interest arguments. you ought to be able to see that you live and work in the same country as all these people who have difficulty paying for a doctor visit, and if they are walking around sick, and doing their job without being able to get treatment for, possibly, some serious illness, they might very well either get you sick directly, or do their job so poorly that it could lead to you getting hurt

but really, if you want to know what really drives my interest in public policy, it is the desire to see every child in this country get the best education and health care possible

any country that doesn't have that as a top priority is cutting its own throat

Tacitus Voltaire said...

Use some common sense. Medicare, Medicaid and the VA are all failing or in deep trouble. They are bloated, inefficient government programs, like Social Security, that get larger every year without any real means to spread the cost of their upkeep to new, healthy employees. Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and Medicare isn't much better

i invite you to try running for political office on that platform. i'd be surprised if you weren't lynched by a mob of WWII veterans and retired schoolmarms

seriously, you just named several of the most overwhelmingly popular programs ever instituted in this country. i always hear from certain people about how they can't continue and will certainly go broke soon, but i'm in my mid fifties now, i've been hearing about it for forty years, and it ain't happened yet

Tacitus Voltaire said...

You know, TV, if there were less government involvement in our health care system, it would be cheaper for everyone

and i invite you to substantiate this claim with a factual detail or two so that we can tell if it has any substance

Tacitus Voltaire said...

oh, wow, here is a very interesting article i just stumbled across. i would normally have very little respect for the rabidly, and often stupidly, right wing website, american thinker. but here they have a very reasonable article arguing that the predictions of the social security trustees are way optimistic. what struck me, though, were the conclusions of the trustee's report:

Following release of this report, many media outlets were quick to report (or should I say regurgitate) the findings sited in the trustee's executive summary -- notably that Social Security payroll tax collections would begin to exceed benefits paid in 2016, a year shorter than had been forecasted in 2008. ....... 

...For example, in their 2008 report, the Social Security trustees projected a cash surplus of $87 billion in 2009 -- a figure reduced to $19 billion this year.  However, even this sharp 78% reduction in the projected Social Security cash surplus failed to illuminate the nonsensical statistical assumptions used by the trustees in the prognostications -- assumptions so unfathomable they make the 2009 trustee report virtually useless.

sorry, not enough room in this editor for me to go back and put the italics tag on the last two paragraphs so you can tell they're quoted from this article:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/why_social_security_will_go_ba.html

Tacitus Voltaire said...

well darn these teeny smart phone editors. anyway, i think american thinker makes a peefectly reasonable argument that the conclusions are too optimistic. but re-read the conclusion!

that Social Security payroll tax collections would begin to exceed benefits paid in 2016, a year shorter than had been forecasted in 2008.

and the current state of the balance sheet:

For example, in their 2008 report, the Social Security trustees projected a cash surplus of $87 billion in 2009 -- a figure reduced to $19 billion this year.

SS, it turns out, is in much much better shape than i thought. now, i'm sure thar you agree with the website's opinion much more than the opinion of the SS trustees. but i would tend to think that perhaps the trustees would be better informed... maybe...

anyway, 2016 will actually be here in only a few years, so keep your eyes peeled to check their very optimistic predictions against the actual outcome!

Pat Patterson said...

Those retired vets from World War II are neither on SS or Medicare as their retirement check comes from DEFAS and the healthcare from Champus. That retired school teacher most likely is receiving checks from her state's retirement system, such as CALPers in CA, and her health care is probably via a private company from her retirement. In many cases the two cited examples are not even eligible for either SS or Medicare. Try again!

tfhr said...

TV,

You always seem to unravel your own arguments:

"but really, if you want to know what really drives my interest in public policy, it is the desire to see every child in this country get the best education and health care possible"

That's noble TV, but if you had a kid in the DC public schools, you might have a different opinion about government run education. I'm not against public schools but when you find one that runs like the DC system and has been this bad for generations, you might begin to respect the concerns the rest of us have about greater government mismanagement of health care.

You continue with Social Security and other "entitlement" programs:

"seriously, you just named several of the most overwhelmingly popular programs ever instituted in this country. i always hear from certain people about how they can't continue and will certainly go broke soon, but i'm in my mid fifties now, i've been hearing about it for forty years, and it ain't happened yet"

Why sure, the government will just keep printing money! Again, do the math. Baby boomers are just now starting to draw those benefits from Social Security and Medicare. Just wait until they hit these programs full tilt. We've already seen that the Social Security system will be paying out more than it brings in very soon. With a sustained economic down turn that will only accelerate. "The trust fund that pays for hospital care under Medicare is now predicted to run out of money in 2017, two years earlier than forecast a year ago."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/12/AR2009051200252.html

I see that you borrowed from Paul Matthews' American Thinker article. Perhaps you should have read the entire article. His observation is that the trustees behind the report in question based their 2016 figure on a median long-term unemployment rate of 5.5% and wage rate gains above the norm. If only we had such rosy numbers today! And that's the point: "The writing is on the wall--the Social Security system won't be able to sustain itself much longer."
http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/why_social_security_will_go_ba.html

TV, you confuse "popular" with "dependent" when it comes to these programs. Incredibly, you attempt to support your position by suggesting politicians are either afraid to challenge financially unsustainable programs or better served by playing off of their electorate's dependency. Very healthy. As for looking ahead to 2016, Matthews says to look ahead to this May's report! I wish you the very best when it comes to recovering some of your contributions to Social Security - I'm right behind you - but I hope you, like me, have not made it necessary to count on Social Security in your retirement.

equitus said...

>>Yes. For some, good intentions trump all other concerns

you know, the point at which a situation where the heads of insurance companies, major banks, and automobile manufacturers went to the government and told them that an unparalleled economic disaster would befall the united states unless they were lent trillions of dollar

the point at which, i say, that a situation where people can actually believe this was something that progressives and socialists (if they actually exist) were the originators of and are actually in favor of -

at this point your argument has left unreasonable, gone right through ridiculous, and has arrived at just plain surrealist


Wow! Does anyone have the slightest idea what TV is going on about here? I've read it a half-dozen times and still can't find my footing.

I made a simple observation - that to many people, having one's heart in the right place is the only thing that matters. TV thinks this is somehow an unreasonable argument.

And they call the Right reactionary. hmm

Tacitus Voltaire said...

Why sure, the government will just keep printing money! Again, do the math

how much money was added to the federal budget over the past eight years on an emergency basis to fund the iraq and afghan war? answer, 900 billion. where did they get the money from? they borrowed it. was this a giant economic crisis that will destroy the economy?

Medicare is now predicted to run out of money in 2017

the current projections are the medicare might begin to have trouble meeting all of its obligations around 2018. i know that there are a lot of people write things on the news site or other places on the internet, but sometimes they don't get all their facts right

as you pointed out:

His observation is that the trustees behind the report in question based their 2016 figure on a median long-term unemployment rate of 5.5% and wage rate gains above the norm. If only we had such rosy numbers today!

yes, i thought that was a perfectly good argument. and you should draw the lesson from it that predictions are not fact.

social security is currently predicted to possibly run into trouble around the year 2040

imagine what might happen when, if as predicted, medicare has trouble meeting some of its obligations in 2018. heaven forfend, we might have to do something desperate and horrible and borrow as much as 100 billion dollars a year to cover it! gasp! moan! how could we possibly afford to borrow an extra 100 billion dollars a year for such an emergency! surely doing something like that will put us all in the poorhouse forever!!! (tfhr faints from the effort of worrying)

oh, wait...

Tacitus Voltaire said...

a little quote slinging - an analysis from the 'center on budget and policy priorities'

* The trustees now estimate that the trust funds will be exhausted in 2037— four years earlier than last year’s report projected, but well within the range forecast over the last decade.
* Even after 2037, Social Security could still pay three-fourths of scheduled benefits. Alarmists who claim that Social Security won’t be around when today’s young workers retire misunderstand (or misrepresent) the trustees’ projections.
* The program’s shortfall is relatively modest, amounting to 0.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the next 75 years (and 1.5 percent of GDP in 2083). A mix of tax increases and benefit reductions — carefully crafted to shield the neediest recipients and to give ample notice to all participants — could put the program on a sound footing indefinitely.
* As policymakers debate Social Security’s future, they should remember that other factors — notably fast-growing health-care costs and recent tax cuts — are the principal sources of the government’s serious long-run fiscal woes.


http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=2819

(tfhr hyperventilates slightly less desperately)

gee, i suppose any predictions made in 2010 about what will happen in 2037 can be relied on the be %100 accurate. why, nothing much can change in 27 years...

i know! we'll declare that if we don't borrow 100 billion a year we will face "a smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud"

last time i heard that, 100 billion dollars was borrowed and spent on the full faith and credit of the american taxpayer, and nary a peep of protest about it from the "conservative" movement...

Tacitus Voltaire said...

anyway, since you don't seem to keep up with public policy, in regard to the health insurance reform bill (remember??? that what was we were talking about???), the 'public option' has been dead since christmas

so, what about the other provision? (see above)

what about the merits of buying health care for millions of american children born to poor families?

tell me again why you object so strongly to having our tax dollars used for that

tfhr said...

TV,

Define "poor". The problem is that government has a way of expanding a truly needy category into something else and when that means expansion of government into health care, abuse is not far behind.

Remember when the State Children’s Health Insurance Program was up for renewal? SCHIP was all about providing health insurance for poor children but thanks to Congress, families with incomes ranging from $60K - $80K were now included.
http://www.businessandmedia.org/articles/2007/20071003125240.aspx

Remember Hawaii's ill fated attempt at universal coverage for "poor" children that could not qualify for Medicaid? It sounded great but collapsed after seven months. Why? Because parents dropped the coverage they already had on their kids to get into the state's subsidized program. "'People who were already able to afford health care began to stop paying for it so they could get it for free,' said Dr. Kenny Fink, the administrator for Med-QUEST at the Department of Human Services. 'I don't believe that was the intent of the program.'" The single payer plan was overwhelmed at a time when Hawaii's economy was (and still is) struggling.
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/10/17/health/main4527996.shtml

Your news from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities about Social Security's rosy future was a delightful read. I was not familiar with them but was not surprised to learn that they are funded by the Center for American Progress(John Podesta), the Economic Policy Institute(Robert Reich and Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union) and the Democracy Alliance(George Soros, Norman Lear and more SEIU thugs), a veritable rogues gallery of left wing high rollers.

I guess to be fair I have to ask you what the CBPP has ever predicted correctly. So please do illuminate them for us but don't bother with their work on Global Warming, OK? In the meantime, I'm going with the CBO forecast from last summer that shows that Social Security will begin to operate at a deficit this year. I take a CBO warning seriously.
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/09/22/exclusive-cbo-predicts-social-security-cash-deficits-in-2010-11/

Tacitus Voltaire said...

from the cbo forecast:

As we can see, this trend reverses itself temporarily from 2012-15, but the surpluses are minimal. By 2016, the deficits return, and begin to accelerate again. By 2019, the primary surplus runs $63 billion in the red, almost triple the deficit in 2017, showing the rapid decline of the Social Security system.

so, by the figures you've supplied to me, in the middle of this decade, SS is predicted to actually be back in the black again, for a few years

and then the prediction is that nine years from now it will be running deficits that will amount, in inflation adjusted dollars, to about half of what we've been borrowing every year since 2003 to run the iraq and afghanistan war

so, no, i'm still not terribly impressed with your predictions of doom

tfhr said...

TV,

See my response in the other thread where you've repeated your comments made here.

BTW: You avoided "Define poor" and you've ignored the response made to your "save the children" meme.

Aren't you going to trot out a CBPP report?

tfhr said...

TV,

Still didn't see a response on the question about the failure of state health care in Hawaii or abuse of SCHIP.

Why?