24 March 2010

I Learn From History - Cursing Me Doesn't Change The Facts

I just received a cussing - or "cussin'" as we say here in Virginia - from a public school teacher (which I may post as some point in the future) simply because I don't accept the CBO as a credible source for projecting the costs of government programs. This person actually called me a name I'd not been called since junior high school. I must say I was somewhat shocked by the lack of civility and personal viciousness contained in the comment.

Well, anyway, back to adult conversation. Here are just a few reasons WHY I don't accept the CBO's projections:

Learning From History . . .
  • In 1987, Congress estimated that Medicaid’s disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments—which states use to provide relief to hospitals that serve especially large numbers of Medicaid and uninsured patients—would cost less than $1 billion in 1992. The actual cost that year was $17 billion. Among other things, federal lawmakers had failed to detect loopholes in the legislation that enabled states to draw significantly more money from the federal treasury than they would otherwise have been entitled to claim under the program’s traditional 50-50 funding scheme.
  • Medicare home care benefit. When Congress debated changes to Medicare’s home care benefit in 1988, the projected 1993 cost of the benefit was $4 billion. The actual 1993 cost was more than twice that amount, $10 billion.
  • If any private accounting firm ever used such tactics as are included in the CBO’s analysis, they would be jailed. As reported at the WAPO, Democrats got the score they needed. Of course they did, they fudged the numbers. You can manipulate any number to look the way you want by subtracting reality.  Forget all of the nuances, the deals, the lies and the spin. 
And this from Reuters:

"Let’s face it: Uncle Sam has a poor track record of forecasting how much new programs will cost. [Ya think?] Medicare’s progenitors, for example, stated in 1967 that the entitlement would cost $12 billion by 1990. Actual Medicare spending in 1990 amounted to $110 billion — nearly 10 times the initial estimate. Oops. CBO’s deficit-reduction [for the legislation just passed] estimates are further divorced from reality because they don’t include as much as $371 billion in new spending to fix reimbursement rates for doctors who treat Medicare patients. Imagine that — health reform legislation that doesn’t include payments to doctors. Only in Washington, DC. Absent congressional action, Medicare reimbursement rates will fall 21 percent next year. Congress has no intention of letting that happen. But the Democrats have decided that they don’t have to include this so-called “doctor fix” in their healthcare reform package — even though it’s critical to preserving Medicare. No wonder the CBO was able to conclude that the Democrats’ health reform package would reduce the deficit by $130 billion. The bean-counters simply ignored the $371 billion in spending needed to fix Medicare reimbursement rates." (Source.)

Trusting the CBO, or any other agency of the Federal government for that matter, to accurately project it's own costs on any program is like asking Bernie Madoff to oversee your children's trust fund. The notion is laughable on its face, assuming you have the ability to actually learn something from history. Apparently, some don't.


Chaps said...


I would consider a cussin' from the public school teacher to whom you most likely refer to be a badge of honor and a shame if you didn't get one.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thank you Chaps. BTW, I plan on posting the info you provided about the Military Chaplains Association very soon.


13thBama said...

In the Navy, anchor chain is painted to indicate when the "end" of it is approaching. The chain is so heavy that if the end is attached to something, it will rip out if allowed to get to that point.

Liberals indicate they are out of argument points by attacking the opposition.


MSimons said...

The CBO uses Fuzzy Math to get their figures. Your correct if my accountant made such errors he would lose his job and be jailed.

Bill Vallante said...

Richard - ask the PuBlik SkOol Teechr if he can name one time where the CBO made an estimate on something and got it right. Ask him if he can name one time where a CBO estimate was even in "the ballpark" of what the eventual cost turned out to be. The day the CBO does get something right will be the same day that pigs find themselves able to recite Shakespeare. Chaps has it right. The last thing you want is the devil telling you what a great guy you are!

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say he was the devil, but I understand your point. Actually, in the past, I've had civil disagreements with this person. I think he became unhinged over the fact I rejected the comment. I was cordial enough to tell him why. This was just an excuse for him to unload on me.

I don't care. I reject comments all the time and most folks don't get an explanation. Thanks for the input.