Monday, July 20, 2009

In Sickness and in Health!

As the NY Times is reporting, there are growing concerns that the Charlie Rangel-sponsored House health care bill would not only fail to curb the growth of the sector's costs-it would likely increase them-but would also cripple the country's small business: "The director of the Congressional Budget Office warned Thursday that the legislative proposals so far would not slow the growth of health spending, a crucial goal for Mr. Obama as he also tries to extend insurance to more than 45 million Americans who lack it."

Of course, when this was breaking news on Friday, the Times-unlike the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal-buried the shocker, while the other papers headlined it on the front page: "It's says quite a bit that the editors at the two other largest and most influential papers in the country found the story to be front page news but the editors at the Times did not." And the Times elides the real bad news in their more accurate follow up analysis the next day, by simply saying that the CBO director pointed out that the health plans will not, "slow the growth," of health spending, when he really warned that they would increase it.

And the NY Post gets right to the essence of the tax payer rip off with all of this reform: "Because the long-term effects of what the president is trying to ram through Congress without adequate scrutiny will be disastrous. As CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf warned: "We do not see the sort of fundamental changes [to reduce spending] that would be necessary to offset the direct increase in health costs that would result. "On the contrary," he said, "the legislation significantly expands the federal [financial] responsibility for health-care costs."

But the Times does point out that the disastrous small business impact has a number of more moderate Democrats very worried: "Representative Jared Polis, a freshman Democrat from Colorado who voted against the bill approved Friday in the Education and Labor Committee, said he worried that the new taxes “could cost jobs in a recession.” To help finance coverage of the uninsured, the House bill would impose a surtax on high-income people and a payroll tax — as much as 8 percent of wages — on employers who do not provide health insurance to workers. Mr. Polis said these taxes, combined with the scheduled increase in tax rates resulting from the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts, would have a perverse effect. “Some successful family-owned businesses would be taxed at higher rates than multinational corporations,” he said."

Speaker Pelosi-always on the look out it appears for measures that will retard the economy-made the following observation in last week's NY Post: "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended the new taxes on the rich as Democrats' way of ensuring "that middle-income people in our country are not touched" by levies to finance health-care reform." As if hurting the job generators in the country wouldn't hurt these middle class folks that the Speaker claims to want to protect. There's simply no concept of economic cause and effect from those people who seem driven to grow the size of government at all cost.

But another major hurdle that the Times points out, is the lack of any bipartisan support for the health care overhaul; and while some feel that bipartisanship shouldn't override the search for a "good: bill, other Democrats in swing districts worry that a purely partisan measure that raises taxes will allow their Republican opponents to bell the Democratic cat as an irresponsible big spender:

"In a letter to the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, Mr. Polis and 20 other freshman Democrats said they were “extremely concerned that the proposed method of paying for health care reform will negatively impact small businesses, the backbone of the American economy.”
And in the latest sign of lawmakers’ chafing at Mr. Obama’s ambitious timetable, a bipartisan group of six senators, including two members of the Finance Committee, sent a letter to Senate leaders pleading with them to allow more time. “While we are committed to providing relief for American families as quickly as possible,” they wrote, “we believe taking additional time to achieve a bipartisan result is critical for legislation that affects 17 percent of our economy and every individual in the United States.”

The Times does manage to finally get to the most salient cost aspects of all of this-but once again at the tail end of the news analysis: "But the director of the Congressional Budget Office, Douglas W. Elmendorf, testified on Thursday that doing so would come at a steep cost and that the proposals would not curb the rise in health spending by the federal government, which he called “unsustainable.” A budget office analysis released Friday said the House bill would “result in a net increase in the federal budget deficit of $239 billion” over 10 years, partly because of an increase in Medicare spending to avert sharp cuts in payments to doctors."

A little bit more serious than simply, "slowing the growth," of health spending, no? So, with cap and trade liable to tax all Americans for simply turning on their light bulbs, and health care "reforms" being proposed that will give us tax rates that the Europeans are wisely shunning in their effort to return to economic competitiveness, the Obama administration is driving the US economy right off the rails-or, as Joe Biden hilariously told us : "Now, people when I say that look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’” Biden said. “The answer is yes, that's what I’m telling you.”

Where; Jay Leno, John Stewart and David Letterman when you really need them. Oh, right, they're busy mocking Sarah Palin for her stupidity-while the country spends itself into oblivion courtesy of all the best and brightest folks currently at the helm in the nation's capitol. Guess the real joke's on us.