Like a used car salesman, giddy at the prospect of unloading an old Ford LTD, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is flaunting yesterday’s Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score as proof that Utopia costs nothing. The tragedy is that many will believe her – at least until the interest rate resets to 39%, the baling wire in the transmission gives way, and it’s too late to do anything about it.
Indeed, in their zeal to sell the Healthcare Takeover, Pelosi and Co. must have burnt through several calculators to manufacture that CBO score, feverishly double-counting fake savings from made-up cuts, manipulating dates, and shifting the rest into the Tax-the-Evil-Rich column.
They were rewarded, however, with the ammo they need to convince more skittish house members to take a small step toward involuntary retirement by forcing a giant leap toward socialism on all of us.
As Mark Twain prophetically said, “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress.”
• Exclusion of the doc fix. The “doc fix,” which repeals a $371 billion Medicare cut for physician fees, is rolled into a separate bill. Lawmakers must remember: just because it’s not included in the official health bill doesn’t mean it doesn’t count as real spending.
• Double-counted savings from the CLASS Act. The CLASS Act included in the bill creates a new entitlement for which beneficiaries would pay premiums upfront for benefits received further down the road. Marcus explains: “Of the $138 billion saved in the first 10 years, $70 billion represents premiums collected for a new long-term-care program, money the government will have to pay in benefits later.” The revenue from the CLASS Act thus represents a false offset to other new spending.
• Dubious savings from Medicare. The bill contains billions in cuts to Medicare to offset other costs. As Marcus points out, “The CBO is required to assume that Congress will do what it promises”, making the point that politically unpopular spending cuts are unlikely to ever come to fruitionc—as best evidenced by the “doc fix” that occurs every year, adding to the deficit.
• A false ten year cost window. CBO scored the first ten years of enactment of the bill, which includes several years of raising revenue and fewer years of expenses. According to budget expert James Capretta, “Over a full ten years of implementation, the cost of the new entitlement spending would reach $2.5 trillion, at least, not $1 trillion as advertised by the White House.
So the CBO ran those numbers yesterday, and soon the world witnessed a miracle: Healthcare for all costs less than nothing. Who would have thought?
If you believe it, email me. There’s a Ford LTD I want to show you.