Green Room

Maybe This Time…

posted at 1:46 am on November 8, 2009 by

Maybe the bill passed by the House on Saturday night will stay within its cost projections. Of course, you have several cost projections to choose from. The Democrats’ cost claims are all ridiculous lies, designed using accounting techniques that would land private businessmen in jail, just in time to save them from being drawn and quartered by stockholders. The Heritage Foundation’s estimate of $2.4 to $2.6 trillion over 10 years, beginning when the House bill transitions from front-loaded tax hikes to full Daffy Duck freak-out spending in 2014, is the most logical projection of its true costs I’ve seen.

Even this will likely prove to be an underestimation of the true long-term costs. No other Big Government program has ever stayed within an order of magnitude of the promises made when it was signed into law. Medicare originally cost about $3 billion, when it began in 1965, and was projected to cost about $12 billion by 1990, adjusted for inflation. The actual cost in 1990 was nearly ten times that figure, $107 billion. It was up to $440 billion by 2007. The architects of the program would have been run out of town on a rail, if these future costs had been known to the voters of 1965.

The difference between promised benefits and expected revenues for Social Security and Medicare amounts to about $107 trillion dollars, which Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute points out is double the annual Gross Domestic Product of the entire world. The most strident opponent of the New Deal would never have dreamed of predicting this level of cost overrun. Name any government program that has been around for more than five years, and the odds are good it costs at least triple what its opponents originally said it would cost.

Maybe this time, a huge government program will be able to deliver its promised benefits. Anyone who has experienced the increasingly expensive, and rapidly deteriorating, services of the Post Office or Amtrak has good reason to be skeptical. No one who has dealt with Medicare can be eager to see the entire health care system shoveled into the drooling maw of such a bureaucracy. Those who support government health care because they don’t like their insurance companies should ponder the wisdom of handing their insurance over to an even bigger, infinitely less responsive entity. Once the government takes over health care, it will not be interested in criticism of its performance.  The last thing any consumer should ever be willing to surrender is the ability to take his business elsewhere.

Maybe this time, Congress will keep the promises that restrain its future activities, such as extending coverage to illegal aliens, or paying for abortions. Whatever form these promises take when they emerge from Senate reconciliation, the American people should realize they are utterly meaningless – they have no power to bind future politicians. Today’s politicians can only pass along obligations to their successors, never discipline. The next Congress will be much more likely to pay attention to angry illegal alien groups brandishing lawsuits than disgruntled taxpayers who don’t want to see the cost of national health insurance skyrocket. The same goes for abortions. Once pro-lifers have become trapped in the same inescapable government-run health system as everyone else, their concerns can be safely ignored. What will they do in protest? Threaten to withdraw from the national health care system? If they try it, they’ll be holding their next prayer vigil for the unborn in a cell block. Only a foolish people trust their lives and souls to an entity defined by its ability to punish non-compliance with force.

Maybe this time, we can roll a titanic new government program across the fruited plains, without squashing the fruit. Among the most dangerous delusions of liberals and moderates is the belief they can unleash a blizzard of taxes and spending without radically altering other aspects of their lives… the belief they can blow the better part of $3 trillion taking over an industry, but everything else will stay exactly the same. They don’t appreciate how quickly the economic depression from huge taxes and industrial takeovers will destroy the income stream fueling the program, requiring increasingly high taxes in a vicious cycle resembling the collapse of a star into a black hole. They underestimate the damage to the national psyche that will result from hooking the middle class into a welfare program it can never escape. They’ve grown to take our fantastically advanced medical science for granted, and don’t realize how much less they’ll be expected to settle for, when doctors and corporations flee from a nationalized health care industry, the way many doctors currently refuse to accept Medicare. I don’t think enough people appreciate how far we have to fall, from the A+ health care we enjoy today, to the C- that will be good enough for government work.

Maybe this time, we’ll be able to reverse course in a couple of years, when we realize government-run health care was a horrible mistake. Everyone has known Social Security and Medicare are locked on a collision course with insolvency, and will drag everything we recognize as economics and government with them when we die… and everyone knows there is no way to reform them, as every attempt has ended in political destruction. Public education is a nightmare no one can wake up from, because the Democrats and teachers’ unions are ready to club them back into a coma when their eyelids flutter open. Reducing the rate of growth in the most absurd and inefficient spending programs is an epic battle, against frenzied legions of beneficiaries who are passionately uninterested in hearing about anyone else’s tax rates or unemployment levels… but maybe we’ll be able to reform or terminate this gigantic program, after reasoned discussion by the people’s tribunes on Capitol Hill.

Maybe this time, Americans will insist their Senators kill this deranged health-care scheme before it gets signed into law… instead of taking risks on a government that has never failed to disappoint them.

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Power to the People! Oh wait, I forgot, Congress is the people and the rest of us are just poor blind fools watching communism in action

Dhuka on November 8, 2009 at 1:54 AM

If signed into law, the Conservative Movement will have its work cut out for itself: turning back the legislation and ridding the Congress of those deluded souls who voted for it in the first place.

itzWicks on November 8, 2009 at 2:05 AM

Maybe this time, rocks will fall upward.

Damn libtards.

OhioCoastie on November 8, 2009 at 4:20 AM

The problem is people do speak up and say they don’t want this program, but the individuals in office do not listen. What do you do when people don’t listen to you? Yes, we can definitely vote them out; but that won’t change anything if this horrible bill passes.

deidre on November 8, 2009 at 9:10 AM

itzWicks on November 8, 2009 at 2:05 AM
This is why the program has 111 new bureaucracies.

When was the last time conservatives had any success getting rid of any government bureaucracy?



acat on November 8, 2009 at 9:31 AM

Maybe this time…Doc, I don’t have anything to say.

After the anger and rage building last night, I am now numb.

But I will fight again tomorrow…for my family, for our freedom, for my country.

“Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered…” Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, 1776

publiuspen on November 8, 2009 at 9:31 AM

beginning when the House bill transitions from front-loaded tax hikes to full Daffy Duck freak-out spending in 2014

Doc, although there is mutual agreement here on your post, for the first time I must protest: disparaging Daffy Duck while making a point. Compared to Congress’ spending habits, any freak-out that Daffy’s entertained us with over the years seems relatively sane and tame.

“Maybe this time….”. Sounds like something one would expect to hear from a lotto ticket customer.

Thanks, Doc.

Robert17 on November 8, 2009 at 10:17 AM

This post has been promoted to

Comments have been closed on this post but the discussion continues here.

Allahpundit on November 8, 2009 at 11:18 AM

It was a nice experiment in freedom while it lasted.

tai-pan on November 8, 2009 at 11:41 AM

Amen Dr. Zero amen. I appreciate the more frequent posts and its my hope that this greater frequency lands you on the front page of this blog. In order for this blog to become the preeminent blog in the conservative sphere it needs exceptional bloggers like you Dr. Zero. Well done again and really it goes without saying.

milemarker2020 on November 8, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Time to bring out the tools of the founders, tar,feathers and a rail to ride them out of town on, it has come to this.

tim c on November 8, 2009 at 12:16 PM

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