Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Lie To Me..."

Yes, that could be the new anthem for the Democrats in this country. Now that the dust is settling a bit, we are finding out just how much they DID lie to us, and continue to lie to us, about what is in this bill, the timing of implementations, and the COST of it all. It is the latter that Amity Shlaes describes in thisarticle, Health-Care Cost Lies Make Us Sing the Blues. And how. We are just beginning to plumb the depths of how much this bill is really going to cost us. And we may as well have been singing this:
“So lie to me, lie to me, I’d rather have it that way.”

Every historic moment has its soundtrack, and passing U.S. health-care legislation is no exception. The song for this bill is “Lie to Me,” recorded by blues singer Brook Benton in 1962.

Benton’s song is a plea to the woman who cheated on him to lie to him about it and instead say everything’s fine. The tune came to mind while watching some voters applaud Democratic leaders as they promise that the new law will reduce budget deficits by $1 trillion.

“Just lie, lie, lie.”

Everyone knows the bill will widen deficits over time. Entitlement and mandate expansions always do. And everyone knows that health-care reform isn’t about fiscal rectitude. As Peter Orszag, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote last summer, the point of the proposal “was never to generate savings over the next decade.” It was to insure the uninsured. There’s a kind of masochistic consolation in the very improbability of the Democratic promise of savings.

“Because the truth would only hurt me

And that price is just too big to pay.”

The question is how can lawmakers get away with their misrepresentation? One answer lies in the structure of the Congressional Budget Office, the government’s official accountant. Its job is to establish an honest price: to tell legislators and voters what a policy will cost in the short, medium and long terms. That CBO work is important because Americans rightly sense that the politicians’ math is rigged.

“Nobody told me you were cheating.

Aww, it’s just a feeling I had.”

Many of us didn't just have a feeling, we could do the math ourselves and tell there were massive flaws in how the bill did its "fuzzy" math. We KNOW that you cannot use the same pot of money and claim it will pay for several different programs. Unfortunately, too many people utilized:
Flawed Assumptions

The CBO’s rules make it hard for the group to fulfill its own mandate. You’d think, for example, that the CBO would use its own parameters when it crunches numbers. Instead, the CBO must use the same mathematical assumptions supplied by the very lawmakers who wrote the bill the group is evaluating. No matter how improbable those formulas are.

Former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, writing in the New York Times, described the group’s process as “fantasy in, fantasy out.”

CBO rules often preclude common sense. Its forecasters can’t take into account any other legislation when studying the price tag of a proposed bill. That enabled the forecasters costing out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bill to overlook this fact: Medicare spending increases will force tax increases, which in turn will hurt growth.

Political Salesmen

This dynamic is permitted because the answers the CBO supplies make it easier for politicians to sell their bills. They’re happy. And so, for the moment, are voters who are painfully aware that the U.S. federal budget can’t cover new entitlements, yet accept such legislation as a balm for that pain.

“So if I’m right, you got to lie to me

Then I won’t feel so bad.”

The CBO’s structural failure benefits the Democrats this week. Indeed, Pelosi is teaching Republicans something: the bigger the misrepresentation, the greater the credibility with voters. Croon to them a tune about entitlement, and they forget that you’re clearing a path for a tripling of the tax on dividends.

And what the HELL does that say about Americans?? Are we really that gullible? Dare I say it, that DUMB?? Are we so taken that our politicians would throw a huge whopper of a lie at us that we are impressed by their hubris and give them a pass? What is wrong with us? Staggering.

I contend that we knew this, but our Representatives and Senators seemed to be taken in by it. What does that say about THEM? Yeah, we already know. Here's more:
The CBO’s rules are bipartisan -- they hold for whatever legislation lands in its in box. Congressman Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, recently put forward a new blueprint for the federal budget. Ryan’s plan is less questionable than Pelosi’s because it’s relatively honest about costs. Ryan points out that the current unfunded part of the Medicare liability is in the trillions.

No Traction

The tax cuts Ryan proposes allow for more possibility of growth than Pelosi’s health-care bill. When CBO studied Ryan’s plan using Ryan’s assumptions, however, it placed a question mark over the plan that wasn’t there before. Everyone knew the numbers came out the way Ryan wanted them to. His proposal, therefore, is having a hard time gaining traction.

How did the CBO get to play this role in the first place? Its start in the early 1970s was hopeful -- who can dislike a new bipartisan accountant?

Still, the group’s role in the budget process proved problematic early on. Democrats and Republicans spent the 1990s mired in a tedious quarrel about whether the office should use so-called static analysis -- the kind that assumes growth stays the same when you lower tax rates -- or dynamic analysis, which presumes that rate cuts generate extra growth. Time that could have been spent reforming Social Security or Medicare was instead spent fighting over who got confirmed as CBO director.

In terms of Paul Ryan's bill, perhaps Rep. Nancy Slaughter knew it was a far superior plan, hence why she was so rude to him when he tried to explain it (video below). In the process of this bill, there were so many:
Wrong Turns

Every adult concerned about the future has pinpointed that moment in the past, when, he believes, the country took its fatal wrong turn. Some blame the introduction of Windows 95 and the dawn of the Internet age. Others trace it all to the launch of Fox News. Still others pick CBO’s creation. That’s because the accountants at CBO, unintentionally to be sure, have made obscene budgets look decent by garbing them in the sober costume of fiscal responsibility.

Of course, the CBO laws or rules can be rewritten at any point. But they won’t be, even if voters tire of the “Lie to Me” dynamic. That’s because lawmakers won’t give up the game. They would rather have it that way.

(Amity Shlaes, senior fellow in economic history at the Council on Foreign Relations, is a Bloomberg News columnist. The opinions expressed are her own...To contact the writer of this column: Amity Shlaes at )

Isn't that the damn truth - they do not want to change the rules of the game as they stand now, because they can lie with impunity, and change the very face of how we operate in this country. That is a scary thought. No, that's an infuriating thought.

Here is Rep. Paul Ryan discussing the true costs of the Healthcare Bill:

And now we know he was accurate in his numbers, and in terms of the scope of this bill. His figures were shocking. And yet, the Democrats voted for it to "save Obama's Presidency." Wow. When did the Democrats become like this, or have they ALWAYS been like this, and I just did not want to believe it?

While Brooks Benton's song isn't available on video, this one by Johnny Lang is. Close enough. Maybe this should have been Obama's followers theme song during the campaign, because it sure as hell is during his presidency:


Anonymous said...

And what the HELL does that say about Americans?? Are we really that gullible? Dare I say it, that DUMB??

I don’t know if most people are gullible and dumb, or just so lazy that they’ve allowed themselves to be bought by the belief that yes, indeed, the government CAN take better care of them and yes, Obama WILL be paying their mortgage and buying their gas AND sending them a check that will come via UDS (Unicorn Delivery Services) any day now. And if you just sit back and remain silent, you’ll also get a FREE packet of Unicorn Kool-Aid! Whoo hoo!

And honestly, I don’t think our Representatives and Senators were taken in by any of the CBO’s numbers. They just don’t care. It’s all about them, and the power and control they get to yield over others. Minimize others, maximize themselves. Redistribute THE wealth? More like redistribute OUR wealth so more goes into THEIR pockets giving them even more power and control over the peons. Do you suppose Nancy Pelosi is distributing any of HER wealth? Nah, didn’t think so. Harry? Barry? Puhleeze. Nope, it’s just MY wealth and YOUR wealth they want to distribute. Only one tiny problem. I’m not wealthy. And getting less so by the moment.

If Jerry Brown wants even a chance in hell of becoming Governor he’s going to have to join the other Attorneys General in filing a lawsuit contesting the constitutionality of the health care bill. San Francisco may be filled with progressives anxiously watching and waiting for UDS to make their delivery, but the rest of the state is more conservative.

I can't help but believe that the Democrats were always like this but just never had the opportunity to show us before now. They were waiting for their leader, the ONE who could make their dreams come true. Big Dawg wasn’t it, which is why they all hated him and Hillary. The Pretender, now he fit their job description to a T, which is how a complete unknown with no experience, a shady past, and a socialist agenda now sits in the White House.

We’re living an episode right out of The Twilight Zone. Gotta find that remote and turn the tv off, this episode is way too scary!!

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Hey, SF -

Ohmygosh - the UDS?? That is freakin' hilarious!!! But it is telling that people believe such outlandish claims made, the more outlandish, the more believable! What is wrong with that picture??

Interesting that you bring up money. I just saw that Mayor Bloomberg is VERY upset abt this bil because it will cost the people who live in NYC $6.5 BILLION dollars a year. That means money not going into the economy of NYC, people not being able to spend as much on food, entertainment, goods, etc. That's a pretty good reason to be upset.

And as was pointed out, $200,000 for a family of 5 is NOTHING in NYC. It was expensive as hell when I lived there years ago - I cannot even imagine what its like now.

You're right, though, most of us don't have the kind of money our "leaders" have. Yet they EXEMPT themselves from the very bills they are passing. THAT says a lot, and what it says is bad indeed.

Interesting observation abt the Dems, Bill, and the Pretender, SF. I think you are on to something!

Mary Ellen said...

And what the HELL does that say about Americans?? Are we really that gullible? Dare I say it, that DUMB??

I don't think it's so much that Americans are dumb or gullible, many are lazy and it's easier for them to tune into one channel and get news that tells them what they want to hear than to go to all channels and hear both sides. It's easier to accept something that is said to them, than to question it and look for the truth.

Ha! I just got this far and glanced over at SFIndie's response and it was almost identical to mine! about being on the same wave-length!

Regarding our Representatives, I think the job description has changed for them in the last 10 or so years. They no longer "represent" us, they do what THEY think is "for our best interest" which usually ends up being what is for THEIR best interest...i.e. lining their pockets with lobbyist money.

SFIndie said it better than I can...excellent points on Pelosi and Barry not distributing THEIR wealth.

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

LOL - gee, Mary Ellen, you and SF are definitely on the same wave length today! :-D

I'd like to think Americans aren't that dumb, either, but when you see the things they actually BELIEVE, it really makes me wonder sometimes. Maybe lazy is a better word, intellectually, that is. It is astonishing how few people will do the simplest of searches to check for veracity of claims made, and will then attack any/every one who HAS done the research.

I know you two have had that experience. We see it every day with the people smoking the Hopium...

Anyway - thanks for the comment, ME, even if you WERE pulling an Obama and copying from SF!! Teehee - I couldn't resist, but you KNOW I am kidding, I trust! :-)

Mary Ellen said...

Anyway - thanks for the comment, ME, even if you WERE pulling an Obama and copying from SF!!

Don't blame me, blame my teleprompter. :-D

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

ROTFLMAO - you are just too damn funny! Thanks for the laugh (still laughing..).

Anonymous said...

You BOTH crack me up!

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Think how much fun we'll have in Montserrat! :-D