September 15, 2009

Yet Another Washington Flop in the Making

Obamacare will be one of many federal failures.
By Deroy Murdock at NRO

As the health-care reform debate roars on, Uncle Sam resembles a restless college senior who is flunking economics, finance, and management. Despite a report card full of Fs, he suddenly announces: “I want to go to medical school!”

Similarly, Pres. Barack Obama stood before a joint session of Congress Wednesday night and re-embraced a government option for health insurance. As he explained, “Sometimes government has to step in to help deliver” on the promise that “hard work and responsibility should be rewarded by some measure of security and fair play.”

Alas, too often when Washington steps in, failing grades follow.

Medicare, the Great Society’s shining jewel, is a battered gem. Its hospitals program already bleeds ruby-red ink. “Medicare Part A again will spend more in benefits than it receives in revenues” this fiscal year, observes Heritage Foundation analyst Bob Moffitt. Its Trust Fund is an accounting fiction, but even that fantasy disappears in eight years, with depletion in 2017. Even worse, Heritage’s Brian Riedl calculates that between 2009 and 2083 Medicare’s budget will zoom from 3.1 percent to 14.8 percent of Gross Domestic Product. Its unfunded liabilities (promises backed by campaign balloons instead of cash) equal $36.3 trillion.

Social Security, the New Deal’s cornerstone, is as cutting edge as a 78 RPM record. In 2016, barely six years away, it will begin paying more in pension checks than it collects in payroll taxes. Congress then will be unable to use Social Security’s surplus like a ShamWow to absorb red ink. Social Security’s unfunded obligations equal $17.5 trillion — again not financed by anything but congressional speeches.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: These two government options in the home-mortgage arena are widely considered the twin jet engines that flew the economy into a hillside. These were supposed to be money-making, quasi-private companies, with no federal involvement beyond an implicit guarantee that government would cover their losses. Emboldened by this cozy federal safety net, these enterprises embarked upon financial acrobatics they otherwise might have avoided. Rather than generate profits between 2009 and 2019, the Congressional Budget Office estimates, Fannie and Freddie will cost taxpayers $389 billion.

The Hope for Homeowners program began last October 1. Congress gave it a hefty $300 billion to help some 400,000 homeowners avoid foreclosure. According to an August 10 Newsday editorial, “It has produced exactly one refinanced loan.” One down, 399,999 to go.

UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right?” Obama asked in August. “It’s the Post Office that’s always having problems.” Yes, indeed. Its two-year fiscal deficit approaches $8 billion. It has pried some 60,000 mailboxes off of America’s streets, the Lexington Institute reports. It also is weighing the cancellation of Saturday services. Even as e-mail, digitally attached documents, and online banking decrease demand for first-class snail mail, the Post Office keeps hiking the cost of stamps. What sort of business actually raises prices while customers walk away?



Opus #6 said...

The list of failures is large. Let it not include federal health care. I hope the govt takeover can be stopped

Mary said...

Through inaction, the American people lose. Time for a grass roots movement. It amazes me how many people now say "I didn't vote for Obama". If that were the case, we wouldn't be where we are now.

Mike said...

I´m with 6; let´s do what we can to not even give it a chance to succede, much less become a failure.

Anonymous said...

Ope, hoping, unfortunately, is all we can do. If the Democrats want it, they can vote it in.

Last November, John McCain gave away the nation. I'll never forgive him.

Anonymous said...

Pinky, I agree. But any grassroots movement may have to do more than just shout from the sidelines.

Anonymous said...

Mike, let's do all we can to stop them. I wish I were more confidant. I know how Chicago politics works. Any politician with a skeleton in his/her closet (and there are plenty) is now a sure vote for the Dems.

Stenio Guilherme Vernasque da Silva said...

Dear friend,
This link is a e-book about left organization at Latin America.
The name "The Foro de São Paulo".

If you interests, reed about it, and you will understand many things like Obama.
Alejandro Peña Esclusa is Venezuelan opositor (Chavez), and he does a study of this "Foro", and compare with FARC (Colombia).

"The Foro de São Paulo
A Threat to Freedom in Latin America" - Alejandro Peña Esclusa

American editoin (in English)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Stenio. Now I know what I will be doing this weekend.

Obrigado, Stenio. Agora eu sei o que vou fazer este fim de semana.

Snarky Basterd said...

It has to be stopped...we can't afford any more additions to this list.

CI-Roller Dude said...

I'm afraid the pretty much anything the feds touch will turn into a soup sandwich. I had a discussion today with a very liberal politician (I had to sort of baby sit) and she told me what a great job Medicare is doing.
Then I asked her about the VA...which she had no answer.
Then she asked me if I actually knew anybody who had gone to the VA hospitals for care....
Yep I did. Me. The VA folks try hard for the most part, but they don't have enough staff or organizational skills to handle it all.
Oh well.

Anonymous said...

Dave, you and I both know this is an abbreviated list.

Anonymous said...

Dude, at least you got to get your two cents in!