Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Just Make Up Some Numbers

Paul Ryan brings us yet another Path to Prosperity and he's being just as disingenuous as last time. Notice the steep climbing debt in red in his chart, which he sources to the CBO.

Now look at the CBO chart and notice how the steep climb is from what's called the extended alternative fiscal scenario.
From the CBO:

After 2022, the extended alternative fiscal scenario also incorporates modifications to several provisions of current law that might be difficult to sustain for a long period. Thus, it includes changes to certain restraints on the growth of spending for Medicare and to indexing provisions that would slow the growth of federal subsidies for health insurance coverage. In addition, the scenario includes unspecified changes in tax law that would keep revenues constant as a share of GDP after 2022, and it incorporates the assumption that spending for programs other than Social Security and the major federal health care programs will generally represent a stable share of GDP in most years after 2022, as it has in recent decades.

But there's a follow up note from the CBO. (bolding mine)

The amounts of revenues and spending to be used in these calculations for 2012 through 2022 were provided by Chairman Ryan and his staff. The amounts for 2023 through 2050 were calculated by CBO on the basis of growth rates, percentages of gross domestic product (GDP), or other formulas specified by Chairman Ryan and his staff. For all years, the Chairman specified that there would be no spending for subsidies to purchase health insurance through new exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act.

You can make a case for anything if you control all the variables.


Anonymous said...

"For all years, the Chairman specified that there would be no spending for subsidies to purchase health insurance through new exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act."

The net effect of ACA subsidy spending may result in government savings. But savings assume that subsidies (plus mandate) trigger greater private healthcare spending. From a citizen's wallet POV, the difference between paying $$ in taxes or $$ in mandated insurance is moot--it's all just money that must be paid. Particularly given the inadequate price controls of ACA, including zero price controls on drugs.

The ACA's chicanery on taxes means the CBO is becoming irrelevant as health costs spiral and move OFF the federal ledger for post-boomers. Paul and Obama are both right in an angels-dancing-on-pinheads kinda way. Corporations burn incense and applaud the "debate."

Real accounting would require numbers representing total social good and effective cost, for all generations. We the people are extraneous (ie screwed) in either political party's accounting method.

Under both scenarios, either the burden is politically not sustainable, or we cease to have a democracy. Judging from the capital/government investments in surveillance, drones, and remote death squads, the elites are betting on the latter.

Scamtraks said...

Which of these trains is the best value and safest, you ask the conductor.

The Medicare Express is best value by far, he replies. Safe train, safe track.

I'll buy a ticket for the Medicare then.

You sure will, says the conductor. He takes your money, but turns around and hands your ticket to an old man in a Grateful Dead T-shirt. The old man flips you the bird and gets on the Medicare Express, which leaves the station.

Hey, you say, wtf!

The conductor just shrugs and says, them's the rules! Can I interest you in a ticket on the Ryan Cannonball? Million dollars a ticket! Luxury accommodations. No riff-raff.

I can't afford that! you say. I just need a plain old train, nothing fancy.

That's what I thought, says the conductor. Suddenly, armed guards appear and push you into a boxcar. The conductor shouts, enjoy the ACA Local.

But, you protest, isn't this the track with the trestle out ahead?

Well yes, says the conductor, that's why we need all the young healthy people to ride it.

That doesn't make sense! you yell. But the conductor doesn't hear you. He's getting on board the Ryan Cannonball, laughing.

The ACA Local starts to move down the track.

Interesting Fact said...

It turns out that "barrack obama" is a Swahili expression that translates as "dick cheney."

Who knew?

Anonymous said...

But, Obama just said he was NOT Dick Cheney!

Then again, I suppose even Dick Cheney isn't Dick Cheney at heart.

Anonymous said...

The hostility toward younger generations is breathtaking in both budgets.

Why isn't direct and indirect federal aid to universities conditioned on tuition caps and reductions?

Why hasn't the payroll tax been eliminated?

Where is the real financial regulatory reform to replace the fake Frank-Dodd?

Why is the Justice Department not prosecuting Wall Street and torturers, but STILL silencing and killing Occupy and Aaron Swartz types? Why fund Eric Holder when he isn't even pretending to do his job?

Where is the realistic trillion for alternative energy sources and conservation?

Where is the citizen-level dispersal of carbon credits?

All economic, social, and environmental costs are getting kicked down the road. Both parties have completely locked young people out of power or meaningful political involvement, while giving them all the future burdens.

Good luck with that, old folks. The future may be coming sooner than you planned.