What Fresh Hell Is This?

October 25, 2009

Jack Kelly Sunday

Jack really shouldn't have begun his column this week with the lines from Marmion:
Oh what a tangled web we weave,
when first we practice to deceive.
Makes my job just too dang easy.

Here's what Jack wrote:
Democrats have been tying themselves into knots in their efforts to conceal from the public the true cost of Obamacare. Last Wednesday, their schemes came crashing down around Harry Reid's ears.

Democrats were heartened Oct. 7 when the Congressional Budget Office said the version of Obamacare drafted by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, would cost "only" $829 billion over 10 years. The CBO had scored versions proposed by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the leading House bill at more than $1 trillion.

Mr. Baucus achieved his apparent savings partly by omitting the "public option" dear to liberal hearts, partly by not covering all of the currently uninsured. But he achieved them mostly by front-loading tax increases and cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, but delaying most spending increases for two and a half years. Once the spending increases went into effect, they rapidly would overwhelm the "savings." By the 11th year, the Baucus bill would add massively to the deficit.
Now what do you think the CBO had to say about the deficit? In the letter to Senator Baucus dated October 7, 2009 the CBO writes:
According to CBO and JCT’s assessment, enacting the Chairman’s mark, as amended, would result in a net reduction in federal budget deficits of $81 billion over the 2010–2019 period. [emphasis added.]

The JCT is the "Joint Committee on Taxation" by the way.

But look closely at Jack's prose. He writes "by the 11th year" doesn't he? Why would he say that? Because CBO project is only for the next 10 years. How do I know that? It says so in the letter to Baucus. Here. Page 11:

Although CBO does not generally provide cost estimates beyond the 10-year budget projection period (2010 through 2019 currently), Senate rules require some information about the budgetary impact of legislation in subsequent decades, and many Members have requested CBO analyses of the long-term budgetary impact of broad changes in the nation’s health care and health insurance systems. However, a detailed year-by-year projection, like those that CBO prepares for the 10-year budget window, would not be meaningful because the uncertainties involved are simply too great. Among other factors, a wide range of changes could occur—in people’s health, in the sources and extent of their insurance coverage, and in the delivery of medical care (such as advances in medical research, technological developments, and changes in physicians’ practice patterns)—that are likely to be significant but are very difficult to predict, both under current law and under any proposal.
Having written that, the CBO does do some rough estimation:
All told, the proposal would reduce the federal deficit by $12 billion in 2019, CBO and JCT estimate. After that, the added revenues and cost savings are projected to grow more rapidly than the cost of the coverage expansion. Consequently, CBO expects that the proposal, if enacted, would reduce federal budget deficits over the ensuing decade relative to those projected under current law—with a total effect during that decade that is in a broad range between one-quarter percent and one-half percent of GDP. The imprecision of that calculation reflects the even greater degree of uncertainty that attends to it, compared with CBO’s 10-year budget estimates. [emphasis added.]
What did Jack say again? That the Baucus bill would "massively add to the deficit."

It's my understanding that the good folks running the show over there at the P-G are suddenly sensitive to the charge (my charge, actually) that they're not fact-checking Jack Kelly.

How did he get away with this one?

With such a huge tangle in Jack's web of deception, I think I'll stop there. No need to proceed, right? Anyway, there's a game on in a few minutes, doncha know.

1 comment:

EdHeath said...

Yeah, I am not too sure about costs versus revenues and all that, but I believe the reason it was important to keep costs at or below 1 trillion is that is the amount of revenue expected to be raised. Let’s see, …hmmm, … uhhh, did Mr. Kelly neglect to mention revenue?

You know, conservatives are still being transparent hypocrites on healthcare. Reagan wanted to eliminate Medicare because he thought it would lead to socialism (and I am still waiting for some conservative to raise that point now that liberals want to call the “public option” “Medicare for all”). Conservative complain that Medicare symbolizes out of control spending at its worst, although the leadership is careful not to back anything too radical since they know what senior citizens would do to them in the next election. In fact you could point to the incredible hypocrisy of George Bush pushing Medicare Part D, which simultaneously adds dramatically to our deficit (and debt) and yet pays for expensive drugs for part of the year until the donut hole is reached, an then senior citizens have to dip into their savings and transfer them to the pharmaceutical companies. This passed when the Republicans had a majority at least in the House. Yet Republicans want to claim they are the party of fiscal restraint, back then and even now, after all that happened in the Bush years.