Monday, March 22, 2010

New York Times Admission of the Day

UPDATE: below

Just as the horrifying Democrat healthcare reform became reality, truth emerged in American Action Forum's Douglas Holtz-Eakin's honest op-ed in Sunday's New York Times:
[I]f you strip out all the gimmicks and budgetary games and rework the calculus, a wholly different picture emerges: The health care reform legislation would raise, not lower, federal deficits, by $562 billion.

Gimmick No. 1 is the way the bill front-loads revenues and backloads spending. That is, the taxes and fees it calls for are set to begin immediately, but its new subsidies would be deferred so that the first 10 years of revenue would be used to pay for only 6 years of spending.

Even worse, some costs are left out entirely. To operate the new programs over the first 10 years, future Congresses would need to vote for $114 billion in additional annual spending. But this so-called discretionary spending is excluded from the Congressional Budget Office’s tabulation.

Consider, too, the fate of the $70 billion in premiums expected to be raised in the first 10 years for the legislation’s new long-term health care insurance program. This money is counted as deficit reduction, but the benefits it is intended to finance are assumed not to materialize in the first 10 years, so they appear nowhere in the cost of the legislation.

Another vivid example of how the legislation manipulates revenues is the provision to have corporations deposit $8 billion in higher estimated tax payments in 2014, thereby meeting fiscal targets for the first five years. But since the corporations’ actual taxes would be unchanged, the money would need to be refunded the next year. The net effect is simply to shift dollars from 2015 to 2014.

In addition to this accounting sleight of hand, the legislation would blithely rob Peter to pay Paul. For example, it would use $53 billion in anticipated higher Social Security taxes to offset health care spending. Social Security revenues are expected to rise as employers shift from paying for health insurance to paying higher wages. But if workers have higher wages, they will also qualify for increased Social Security benefits when they retire. So the extra money raised from payroll taxes is already spoken for. (Indeed, it is unlikely to be enough to keep Social Security solvent.) It cannot be used for lowering the deficit.

A government takeover of all federally financed student loans -- which obviously has nothing to do with health care -- is rolled into the bill because it is expected to generate $19 billion in deficit reduction.

Finally, in perhaps the most amazing bit of unrealistic accounting, the legislation proposes to trim $463 billion from Medicare spending and use it to finance insurance subsidies. But Medicare is already bleeding red ink, and the health care bill has no reforms that would enable the program to operate more cheaply in the future. Instead, Congress is likely to continue to regularly override scheduled cuts in payments to Medicare doctors and other providers.

Removing the unrealistic annual Medicare savings ($463 billion) and the stolen annual revenues from Social Security and long-term care insurance ($123 billion), and adding in the annual spending that so far is not accounted for ($114 billion) quickly generates additional deficits of $562 billion in the first 10 years. And the nation would be on the hook for two more entitlement programs rapidly expanding as far as the eye can see.
See also Tobin Harshaw's New York Times blog, Keith Hennessey's blog, the WaPo's Robert Samuelson, The Atlantic's Megan McArdle, and National Review's Larry Kudlow.

As MaxedOutMama says, "it's a very uncivilized piece of legislation. This is economic Jim Crow."


Nate Beeler's Tuesday cartoon:

source: March 23rd Washington Examiner


Marc said...

How many months do we have to wait for Mark Halperin to admit media bias the way he did here:

Halperin Decries 'Disgusting' Pro-Obama Media Bias in Election Coverage

Marc said...

Florida's attorney general will file a lawsuit with nine other state attorneys general opposing the healthcare legislation passed by Congress.

A_Nonny_Mouse said...

Holtz-Eakin ends his article with
"It is a clear indication that Congress does not realize the urgency of putting America’s fiscal house in order."

That's highly unlikely.

Citizens have been shouting at their Democratic Congressmen for over a year, saying how costly this abomination will be. I am SURE that at least a few of these lawmakers have indeed thought it out, and have noticed that (1) NO entitlement program has EVER cost less than double -or maybe triple!- its budgeted amount, and (2) there is no way to add 30 million people to a system with no additional costs.

The fact that the bill was written with 4 years of front-loaded revenue, while services (costs) are delayed for 4 years shows an INTENT to obfuscate. It also shows that Democrats' claimed "concern for people DYING because they lack health insurance" is bogus; if they'd had any REAL concern for dying people they would have written the bill so services begin NOW.

This damn bill was drafted coldly and purposefully by people who have NO CONCERN for the question of who will pay and how, or what will happen to the country they've sworn to "preserve, protect, and defend" when all the bills come due. And the Democrat lemmings who voted for this national-suicide bill chose Party and President over the good of the nation.

This is G_d-D_mn deliberate, and if it's not actual treason it's only two steps short. I will NEVER forgive the Democrats for this abomination. Perhaps I should call it an Obamanation.


And even if, as some claim, this monstrosity can be "rolled back", the damage has been done. The State has demonstrated that:





I believe that's pretty much the definition of slavery.

MaxedOutMama said...

Carl - did you see the post up on Volokh about Obama's email?

The, ah, somewhat extravagant claims are an eye-opener. I don't think the average person has any clue what this bill does, and I think the disappointment will be profound when the average person discovers it.

Carl said...

MaxedOutMama's link pretty much establishes that not even the President knows what's in the bill he signs today. Unfortunately, that's not enough to make the state suits Marc mentions winners--insurance is interstate commerce and can be preempted from state control. But I agree with A_N_M.

OBloodyHell said...

> Perhaps I should call it an Obamanation.

*I* said "Welcome to the ObamaNation" waaay back in Nov. 2008!

Welcome to the party, pal!


OBloodyHell said...

> insurance is interstate commerce and can be preempted from state control.

Carl, you are an attorney, I am not, but:

If I DON'T buy insurance, how is that an "act of commerce" that allows the Fed to regulate my non-purchase?

Not buying something is "commerce"?

Interstate commerce at that?

There's problems here that I believe one can argue against... or should be able to, if there is any rational sense remaining in the court system at all.

I also don't see how insurance NEEDs to be interstate. If a company is entirely operated within a single-state's boundaries, if all its customers are within a single state, how is it "interstate" commerce subject to Federal regulation?

I'm sure there is some blatantly bullsh** legal excuse for this, just one more sign of where The Law has gotten really really wrong in the last century or so thanks to Sherman, et al.

Carl said...


I don't know the answer--no one does. I've cited some of the better analysis here. But the argument for constitutionality goes like this:

Regulation goes to the terms and conditions under which the regulated product/service is offered. Regulation can prohibit certain sales; logically, therefore, it should be able to require sales. Look at payroll taxes, for example. We require employees to contribute to Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid. In effect, we require the purchase of services (pension and medical insurance). Yes, these are government services, but why should private services be different? Yes, payroll taxes are mostly accomplished under the taxing power, but why should the interstate commerce power be any more constrained? As for the interstate nature of insurance, as I've said, that was settled in 1944, and fully consistent with current precedent.

Though I think the law Constitutional, I admit it's on the very edge.

Marc said...

49% Support State Lawsuits Against Health Care Plan

Forty-nine percent (49%) of U.S. voters favor their state suing the federal government to fight the requirement in the new national health care plan that every American must obtain health insurance.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of likely voters finds that 37% disagree and oppose their state suing to challenge that requirement. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.

A number of states, including Texas, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, have already announced plans to sue the government over what they view as an unconstitutional requirement that every American buy or obtain health insurance. President Obama is expected to sign the health care plan into law today after the House on Sunday by a 219-212 vote approved the Senate version of the legislation.

Seventy-two percent (72%) of Republicans and 58% of voters not affiliated with either major party favor such lawsuits. Sixty-five percent (65%) of Democrats are opposed. This suggests that filing a suit would be popular in Republican leaning and toss-up states but not in strong Democratic states. Of course, as with all things in the world of politics, these realities could shift over time as both parties try to spin the recently-passed legislation.

Carl said...

OBH: Orin Kerr at Volokh Conspiracy concurs.

Carl said...

MaxedOutMama picks up the thread, and I comment here.