Throwing Gasoline On A Fire--Revisted

July 8, 2009 

NOTE: This is an updated version of a column by Dan Sargis that first ran over a year ago in February 2008.  

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Liberal politicians rank among the dumbest people on the planet...and/or the most dishonest. 

Promising mandatory national healthcare in the midst of Social Security’s and Medicare’s voodoo economics is the all-time dumbest domestic policy proposal in U.S. history.  Although, it does earn a 10+ for the best scheme that ever came out of a whore house.  

In a June 11, Green Bay, Wisconsin healthcare speech, Barack Obama had the audacity to observe that, “My view is that reform should be guided by a simple principle:  we fix what’s broken and build on what works.” 

And...speaking of “what’s broken” take a look at current deficits of over $40 Trillion for the Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security failures....once again...OVER $40 TRILLION. 

Taking the man at his word, before Obama, or the Congressional rocket scientists, try to create yet another financial catastrophe, why don’t they first fix Medicare and Social Security...if they are so clever. 

After all, our new affirmative action political leadership has been clever enough to “fix” the US economy with Obama’s $1 Trillion+ “stimulus” plans that also promised to “fix what’s broken”.     

From the liberal Washington Post, “Before passage of the stimulus bill, the Obama administration had predicted that unemployment would peak at 8 percent before beginning to abate this fall. But unemployment has already reached 9.4 percent” and...“Obama tersely acknowledged in an interview with Bloomberg Television last week that unemployment is likely to peak above 10 percent”.  And now there is talk coming from the administration of the need for a second “stimulus” porkulus. 

Maybe Obama et al should try “fixing” a single thing that is already broken before they start to create new piles of problems. 

Or, they can just keep throwing limited resources at bad ideas and hope that both expectations, and standards, decline. 

Isn’t it fun to play games with somebody else’s money...the taxpayers’ money.   

Setting aside all of the microeconomic rational for the high cost of healthcare (inconsequential things like supply and demand curves), the single reason why national healthcare is a galactically stupid idea is simple.  It will destroy what is left of the U.S. economy. 

In the beginning of 2008, Moody’s, a top credit rating agency warned that, “The United States is at risk of losing its triple-A credit rating within a decade unless it takes radical action to curb Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid spending.” 

The U.S. has enjoyed a triple-A rating since 1917 and the loss of a triple-A rating would put U.S. citizens and the U.S economy at such a global competitive disadvantage that India might start outsourcing low-wage jobs back to our shores. 

Welcome to the Third World. 

A senior fellow at the CATO Institute sums it up bleakly, “Consider that the Social Security and Medicare Administrations have estimated those programs' total financial imbalances at a staggering $90 trillion. Interest on that implicit debt at the government's interest rate of 3 percent implies currently accruing costs of $2.7 trillion per year—more than 10 times larger than today's federal budget deficits.” 

This economic catastrophe is not a “maybe” for somewhere down the is happening right now. 

By 2017 (less than 8 short years from now) the Social Security Administration will begin paying more in benefits than it collects in taxes and by 2042 the Social Security Trust Fund will be exhausted.  Of course the Social Security Trust Fund is nothing more than a mirage.  Your elected officials have been pilfering it since day one and its assets are nothing more than IOU’s that you the taxpayer have to repay plus interest. 

And, Medicare is in even worse shape. 

Medicare trustees project that its “trust” will be depleted by 2017.  And the Associated Press reports that, “the looming Medicare shortage is seven times the size of the one that Social Security faces and nearly four times the entire federal debt.” 

How did this happen? 

So you thought that your payroll tax receipts were stashed in “trust” funds earning interest towards your retirement needs? 

You’re wrong. 

According to the latest report from the “Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds,” “Congress established the trust funds in the U.S. Treasury to account for all program income and disbursements. Social Security and Medicare taxes, premiums, and other income are credited to the funds. Disbursements from the funds can be made only to pay benefits and program administrative costs.” 

However, “The Department of the Treasury invests program revenues in special non-marketable securities of the U.S. Government on which a market rate of interest is credited. The trust funds represent the accumulated value, including interest, of all prior program annual surpluses and deficits, and provide automatic authority to pay benefits.” 

And this pack of lies (report) is signed by Secretary of the Treasury and Managing Trustee, Timothy F. Geithner.  Thank God he doesn’t have to comply with the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.  A corporate CFO would get federal prison time for these representations. 

You have been lied to and bamboozled by your elected officials for decades. 

As fast as you have been paying into these “trust” funds, your elected officials have been pilfering your money and spending it for other “needs” promising giveaways we can’t afford to get elected/reelected. 

In place of your payroll tax contributions, the government substitutes special obligation nonmarketable bonds (IOU’s) and these become Intragovernmental Holdings

It’s the same as depositing your money in a bank and having the bank borrow your money and make you pay their interest payments and then penalize you to repay the original deposit which the bank pocketed. 

That’s now have the privilege of repaying your own money plus its annual interest. 

And you wondered why Moody’s is in no mood to sanction this legal Ponzi scheme any longer. 

So, with FDR’s and LBJ’s failed schemes sinking $Trillions into the red, Liberal politicians come to the rescue with national healthcare and more unkeepable promises...promise anything for a chance to ride in Air Force One. 

It’s funny how the taxpayer gets screwed every time a politician “promises” a free lunch. 

Just trust me. 

Hillary stated that her national healthcare plan would only cost $110 billion per year (which is a gross underestimate) and can easily be paid by raising taxes on people with incomes over $250,000 and from $56 billion in “costs savings”.  Harvard business school professor Regina Herzlinger thinks that, “Claiming that she (Hillary) can save $56 billion through the marvelous efficiency of the U.S. government is just absurd.” 

And I tend to agree. 

But, a better way to keep the costs of national healthcare down is passive euthanasia of the sick and elderly.  Hitler knew this cost-cutting method. 

I know, I know...something like that couldn’t happen in a civilized nation.  But, consider the case of Great Britain’s national healthcare system. 

On the other side of the pond, “Doctors are calling for NHS (National Health Service) treatment to be withheld from patients who are too old or who lead unhealthy lives...Smokers, heavy drinkers, the obese and the elderly should be barred from receiving some operations, according to doctors, with most saying the health service cannot afford to provide free care to everyone.” 

Smokers, drinkers, the obese and the elderly?  My God...Teddy Kennedy should be the first to go. 

Wait until this year’s flu season hits London. 

Do you really want government bureaucrats controlling your healthcare and sacrificing the U.S. economy and your life?   

Maybe Obama et al should take an oath, under criminal penalty, to live with the exact same healthcare options, and access, that they are trying to foist upon the US citizenry. 

It’s not as though Peter Orszag, Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Barack Obama, doesn’t have a cost-cutting solution, “...significant savings may be possible by (the government bureaucrats) better targeting payments to more cost-effective medical treatments (in their opinion).”  Could that “more cost-effective medical treatment” be passive euthanasia? 

With the failed policies of Social Security and Medicare, does the U.S. really need another Rube Goldberg program called “national healthcare”? 

Do we really want to trust the motives and competence of our political “leadership” again?Look at how brilliantly these “leaders” managed to burn your money in the catastrophe formerly known as General Motors for the sake of a post-election payoff to their union buddies. 

Or, as a brilliant Conservative friend of mine remarked, “Another thing that really pissed me off is the fact that the Democrats took care of the unions through the GM debacle, but how about the fact that union members will be exempt from the tax on health-care benefits the rest of us will have to pay?  Is this the ultimate insult or what?  Union members by and large get FREE health care (no personal-employee contributions) for that benefit.  But I and others who don't belong to a union, and who have to pay a large portion of their health care benefit costs.... WE HAVE TO PAY THE TAX!!”

First Obama rams “stimulus” down the taxpayer’s throat by claiming that, “"We are in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression”.  And then his Vice President, Joe Biden, claims that, “I think the economy is just as likely to begin to recover on its own, wholly aside from this (stimulus), before much of this (stimulus) has an impact.” 

Well, which is it? 

With the viability of the U.S. economy already threatened by the gross political mismanagement and corruption of Social Security, Medicare and “stimulus” packages do we really need to drive the final stake of national healthcare through our economic heart? 

Wouldn’t that be as stupid as throwing gasoline on a fire? 

But, there are those who say that Obama’s solution to fix a leaking roof is to burn the house down. 


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