Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Learning from history? Nope.

Yesterday, in what President Barack Obama described as a “watershed event”, the health care industry promised to cut $2 trillion in costs over 10 years by implementing such measures as the use of health information technology, care coordination, disease management, and “evidence based” medicine. If you feel as though you’ve seen this movie before, that is because you have: these are the exact same cost-cutting proposals that were in the Obama administration budget released earlier this year. So much for a watershed.

But Obama’s big announcement yesterday is actually a remake of an even older idea. Reacting to the Obama administration’s health care event, former-President Jimmy Carter aide and Brookings Institution health economist Henry Aaron told the New York Times: “I had a Rip van Winkle moment, as if I had fallen asleep in 1977 and woke up again this morning.” And just as with the Carter administration, don’t expect these health care savings to ever actually materialize. Former director of the Congressional Budget Office Robert Reischauer told the Washington Post: “It would be difficult to wring 1.5 percentage points out of this list of proposals.” Boston University health policy professor Alan Sager was even less kind, calling the Obama event, “An unrivaled set of abstractions and posturing.”

So why is an extremely popular new president barely 100 days into his administration recycling failed policy ideas from the ’70s? Math. Yesterday the White House released numbers showing the federal deficit will reach $1.84 trillion this year; $89 billion more than they forecast just this February. The day President Obama was inaugurated the deficit stood at $1.2 trillion; meaning $600 billion has already been added during his four-month presidency.

An AP poll last month shows that while Obama’s overall approval rating was 64 percent, just 49 percent approve of his handling of the deficit. And voters are not the only ones losing patience with Obama’s deficit spending. Last week investors around the world signaled Obama’s easy money days were soon coming to an end when they demanded significantly higher interest rates for 30-year Treasury bonds.

The Obama administration has emphasized repeatedly that health-care reform is the key to their deficit reductions goals. But as the Washington Post points out the White House “is backing a plan to expand coverage that would cost taxpayers between $1 trillion and $1.5 trillion over 10 years, while it has proposed health-care savings of only $309 billion.” And no one even believes those $309 billion in savings will ever materialize. So where will Obama find the money to pay for his lavish health care dreams? He doesn’t know either.

First he proposed cutting tax benefits for charities, but that suggestion has been soundly rejected on Capitol Hill. Next Obama’s budget proposed raising energy taxes on the American people by almost $80 billion a year, but the necessary Waxman-Markey legislation can’t even get out of an energy subcommittee. Obama then proposed raising taxes on U.S. corporations that compete overseas, but even his Silicon Valley business allies are calling that plan a jobs killer.

And the Obama administration’s desperate search for more money will only get worse. Nobody believes the rosy economic assumptions that are keeping the deficit projections at their current level. IHS Global Insight chief U.S. financial economist Brian Bethune told McClatchy: “If they keep playing this game, they’re going to have real credibility problems.” At least they haven’t proposed that time-traveling Romulans can rescue our financial situation. At least not yet.


Mike West said...

Consumer confidence (The American people) is what will turn this economy around, not government programs. Government programs do nothing but give false hope and thwart our efforts. We could use a good shot in the arm from a yet unnamed brand new industry like what Dot Com's did in the 90's. What will it be? I wish I knew.

Brodad Unkabuddy said...

And nothing boosts consumer confidence more than lower taxes. Duh.

vwatt said...

Cheney, Limbaugh, Cheney, Limbaugh,... all the TV air time they are getting is only having one result(besides keeping the blogmaster happy and supplied with material):

May 11, 2009
Obama Approval Picks Up in May
Still, only 25% say they would definitely vote to re-elect him in 2012
by Lydia Saad

PRINCETON, NJ -- President Barack Obama appears to be slightly MORE popular with Americans at the start of his second 100 days in office than he was, on average, during his first 100. Gallup Poll Daily tracking from May 7-9 finds 66% of Americans approving of how he is handling his job, compared with an average 63% from January through April.

vwatt said...

So there is an opening for the right in this poll-with only 25% definitely voting for Obama in 2012 he has to produce. The problem is convincing the other 75% that a billionaire Mormon who made his money raiding companies and/or a Governor who could supply Jerry Springer with material for a year's worth of shows are the answer.

Mike West said...

Not sure what you mean with the Limbaugh / Cheney comment. I as do most conservatives like them despite the demonizing from the left leaning press. 99% of Limbaugh's comments are taken out of content in the fact that he says a lot with tongue in check within a lot of content. If you just pull out 1 comment and put it into print, it can take on a totally different meaning. Thank God Cheney is fighting back the attempt to re-write history. I think the libs need to worry about the upcoming elections in 2010 before they think about 2012. There is a grass roots of God-fearing, America loving real Americans that still have the strength to rise up and they will. And...so what if Romney's a Mormon? So what if the next presidential candidate may be a woman? (Although I don't think so) I thought the left was accepting of all people regardless of race,religion or gender. One of things I have learned however with the recent so-called success of the left is just how racist they really are.

Brodad Unkabuddy said...

George Bush took the high road for 8 years despite all the vitriol spat his way by the poor losers. I really believe he kept Cheney on a short leash as far as responding to the lies the left was spewing. But now, Cheney is having NONE of it. He has nothing to gain by standing up to the lies and distortions. He's not running for office. He knows his legacy will be what it is. That's up to history. But THIS administration is SERIOUSLY putting our country into danger both fiscally and physically, and Cheney wants to hold them accountable. I'm proud of him. More power to him. This should have been done long ago. He, like Limbaugh, is dealing in the truth. Something the left doesn't understand. I know one thing. If Obama doesn't start delivering on his promises, the left's idol, the polls, will turn on him. Big time.

Speaking of Jerry Springer material, who was John Kerry's running mate for President? Wonder what the press would be talking about today if they had been elected . . .