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Debates Forum

  1. 01 Jul '10 13:24 / 3 edits
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/21/opinion/21holtz-eakin.html?_r=1

    Of all news sources, the New York times is calling out the Obama administration for orchestrating a purposefully erroneous CBO report right before Obamacare was voted upon in order to pass the legislation.

    "On Thrusday, the CBO reported that, if inacted, the latest health care reform legislation would over the next 10 years, cost about $950 billion, but because it would raise some revenues and lower some costs, it would also lower federal deficits by $138 billion. In other words, a bill that would set up two new entitlement spending programs -- health insurance subsidies and long-term health care benefits -- would actually improve the nation's bottom line.

    Could this really be true? How can the budget office give a green light to a bill that commits the federal government to spending nearly $1 trillion more over the next 10 years?

    The answer, unfortunately, is that the budget office is required to take written legislation at face value and not second-guessed the plausibility of what is handed. So fantasy in, fantasy out.

    In reality, if you strip out all the gimmicks and budgetary games and rewark 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 defferred 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 spending. But this so-called discretionary spending is excluded from the CBO's tabulation.

    Consider too, the fate of the $70 billion in premiums expected to be raised in the first 10 years for the legislations 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 billiion 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.

    The bottom line is that Congress would spend a lot more; steal from funds from education, Social Security, and long term care to cover the gap; and promise that future Congresses will make up for it by taxing more and spending less.

    The stakes could not be higher. As documented in another recent budget office analysis, the federal deficit is already expected to exceed at least $700 billiion every year over the next decade, doubling the national debt to more than $20 trillion. By 2020, the federal deficit -- the amount the government must borrow to meet its expenses -- is projected to be $1.2 trillion, $900 billion of which represents interest on previous debt.

    The health care legislation would only increase this crushing debt. It is a clear indication that Congress does not realize the urgency of putting America's fiscal house in order."

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    I would have to take issue with the last quote. Congress knows full well what they are doing. After all, to be intelligent enough create such smoke and mirrors to pass this massive legislation, then they should know full well where it will take us. The most troubling question becomes, why must they lie to us to take us down the road we are on? My only conclusion is that if we knew the truth about where they will take us, we would refuse to walk down that road with them.
  2. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    01 Jul '10 13:30
    Originally posted by whodey
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/21/opinion/21holtz-eakin.html?_r=1

    Of all news sources, the New York times is calling out the Obama administration for orchestrating a purposefully erroneous CBO report right before Obamacare was voted upon in order to pass the legislation.

    "On Thrusday, the CBO reported that, if inacted, the latest health care reform legi ...[text shortened]... the truth about where they will take us, we would refuse to walk down that road with them.
    "Steal" and "stolen"?
  3. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    01 Jul '10 13:33
    Originally posted by whodey
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/21/opinion/21holtz-eakin.html?_r=1

    Of all news sources, the New York times is calling out the Obama administration for orchestrating a purposefully erroneous CBO report right before Obamacare was voted upon in order to pass the legislation.

    "On Thrusday, the CBO reported that, if inacted, the latest health care reform legi ...[text shortened]... the truth about where they will take us, we would refuse to walk down that road with them.
    A) This is not the opinion of the NY Times. It's a contribution for the Op-Ed page which anyone can make. In this case, the contributor is a prominent Republican who established a right wing "think tank" in February 2010 primarily to fight the healthcare bill. So the statement that the "the New York times is calling out the Obama administration for orchestrating a purposefully erroneous CBO report right before Obamacare was voted upon in order to pass the legislation." rates a "Pants on Fire".

    B) We've heard this all before; why we should accept the calculations of partisan opponents of health care reform over the non-partisan CBO is a bit hard to fathom.
  4. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    01 Jul '10 13:38
    Originally posted by whodey
    Of all news sources....
    ...the New York times is calling out the Obama administration for orchestrating a purposefully erroneous CBO report right before Obamacare was voted upon in order to pass the legislation.

    Did you write these words, whodey?
  5. 01 Jul '10 13:52
    Originally posted by FMF
    [b]...the New York times is calling out the Obama administration for orchestrating a purposefully erroneous CBO report right before Obamacare was voted upon in order to pass the legislation.

    Did you write these words, whodey?[/b]
    The article begins with the "On Thursday".
  6. 01 Jul '10 13:53
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    A) This is not the opinion of the NY Times. It's a contribution for the Op-Ed page which anyone can make. In this case, the contributor is a prominent Republican who established a right wing "think tank" in February 2010 primarily to fight the healthcare bill. So the statement that the "the New York times is calling out the Obama administration for orche ...[text shortened]... tisan opponents of health care reform over the non-partisan CBO is a bit hard to fathom.
    So it is your conention that the national debt will not be increased due to Obamacare?
  7. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    01 Jul '10 13:54 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by whodey
    The article begins with the "On Thursday".
    So the few words at the beginning of the OP that you wrote yourself were untrue.
  8. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    01 Jul '10 13:58
    Originally posted by whodey
    So it is your conention that the national debt will not be increased due to Obamacare?
    It's impossible to say at this point. It's worth noting that the article was written before the final passage of the health care reform so it's contentions may not even be relevant to what's in the final bill.
  9. 01 Jul '10 19:14
    Originally posted by FMF
    So the few words at the beginning of the OP that you wrote yourself were untrue.
    The quotation marks tend to indicate the beginning of a cited work FMF.
  10. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    01 Jul '10 19:52
    Originally posted by whodey
    The quotation marks tend to indicate the beginning of a cited work FMF.
    So you were falsely trying to pass off the "analysis" contained in the OP as that of the centrist/centre-left New York Times while, in fact, it was a polemical hit piece from a hard right Republican think tank? Shame on you. Yet again. Why, whodey?
  11. 01 Jul '10 20:14
    Originally posted by FMF
    So you were falsely trying to pass off the "analysis" contained in the OP as that of the centrist/centre-left New York Times while, in fact, it was a polemical hit piece from a hard right Republican think tank? Shame on you. Yet again. Why, whodey?
    I thought it to be from the New York Times. It was not purposeful. Setting that aside, I don't think very many people believe that Obamacare will reduce the national debt. Do you?
  12. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    01 Jul '10 20:22
    Originally posted by whodey
    I thought it to be from the New York Times. It was not purposeful. Setting that aside, I don't think very many people believe that Obamacare will reduce the national debt. Do you?
    You have Obama - and the majority that supported the reform bill - on one side, and you have Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the anti-health reform pressure group American Action Forum - the author of the hit piece quoted in the OP - on the other. The CBO is neutral and bi-partisan. What does the CBO have to say on the matter?
  13. 02 Jul '10 01:52
    Originally posted by FMF
    You have Obama - and the majority that supported the reform bill - on one side, and you have Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the anti-health reform pressure group American Action Forum - the author of the hit piece quoted in the OP - on the other. The CBO is neutral and bi-partisan. What does the CBO have to say on the matter?
    This is priceless. On the one hand, Douglas Holtz Eakin is a lying poltical hack, but on the other hand, the most ardent supporters of Obamacare like Maurauder will not put their necks on the choping block by saying that this all knowing and neutral and bi-partisan group is correct when they claim that Obamacare will not raise the national debt substantially.

    Then again, what sane person will declare that the US can cover 30 million more people at a lower cost and not reduce the quality of care.
  14. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    02 Jul '10 01:55
    Originally posted by whodey
    This is priceless. On the one hand, Douglas Holtz Eakin is a lying poltical hack, but on the other hand, the most ardent supporters of Obamacare like Maurauder will not put their necks on the choping block by saying that this all knowing and neutral and bi-partisan group is correct when they claim that Obamacare will not raise the national debt substantially.
    Is the CBO a partisan group like the Democratic Party or the American Action Forum?
  15. 02 Jul '10 02:28
    Originally posted by whodey
    I thought it to be from the New York Times. It was not purposeful. Setting that aside, I don't think very many people believe that Obamacare will reduce the national debt. Do you?
    Anyone who thinks the Obama care will decrease the national debt,, is a fool.
    A wishful thinker, out of touch with reality.