Some perspectives from Reason and the Cato Institute on the bipartisan deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff”:
As the fiscal cliff standoff [has passed] ultimate year-end deadline, neither President Barack Obama nor Speaker John Boehner has seriously talked about making the sorts of spending cuts that recent economic research suggests would help spur near- and long-term growth while cutting the national debt.
That’s not surprising, say Nick Gillespie and Veronique de Rugy, given how much government spending has grown while these two have been part of the federal government. But it’s time they – and other legislators – learn the recent lessons from countries such as Sweden, Canada, and the U.K. (and post-World War II America) and get their fiscal act together.
Read Gillespie & De Rugy’s article at Reason.com, or at Bloomberg, where it first appeared.
See also The Doc Fix Economy: If you want to understand the fiscal cliff, you need to first understand the doc fix.
From the American Enterprise Institute:
In “A Nation of Takers,” author Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute draws on an impressive array of data to detail the exponential growth in America’s entitlement spending, which today accounts for a full two-thirds of the federal budget. Eberstadt shows in unflinching detail how this runaway spending is having a very real, long-lasting, negative impact on the character of our citizens.
From the Galen Institute’s Resource Guide for Candidates:
Ten Reasons ObamaCare is
A Government Takeover of Health Care
The 2,700-page Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act created the architecture for the government-controlled health care system that the administration is busily constructing through thousands of pages of regulation. Yet some argue that ObamaCare isn’t a government takeover of health care. Here are ten reasons why it is:
- MANDATES For the first time ever, the federal government will force citizens to use their own money to purchase a private product. The fact that the Supreme Court says the penalty for not complying is a tax does not diminish this breathtaking assertion of federal authority. Americans now are compelled to purchase an expensive health insurance product every month for their entire lives. What’s the next purchase the government will compel?
- GOVERNMENT DECIDES The federal government will also determine what health care benefits are “essential” — not us, not our doctors, but government bureaucrats.
- REGULATIONS Doctors and hospitals will face an avalanche of new reporting rules to make sure they are providing medical services that fit the government’s definition of “quality care.”
- 159 NEW BUREAUCRACIES The legislation creates at least 159 new boards, commissions, and programs that will rule over virtually every corner of the health care sector.
- STATES The states are being treated like contractors to the federal government, not sovereign entities empowered by the Constitution. They are ordered to set up new exchange bureaucracies lest the federal government sweep in and do it for them.
- EMPLOYER MANDATE Any employer with more than 50 employees must provide government-decreed health insurance to its workers — or face financial penalties.
- LOSING CURRENT COVERAGE Nearly 80 million people will not have the option of keeping the coverage they get through their jobs, according to results of a survey from McKinsey & Company. Many of them will be forced into the government-run health insurance exchanges.
- HIGHER SPENDING ObamaCare dramatically expands the number of people whose health coverage will be paid for entirely or in part by taxpayers, giving the government more power to decide which medical services millions more people will receive — or not.
- PRIVACY In order to parcel out taxpayer subsidies for insurance, the government and employers are going to need to know a lot more about us. An estimated 16,500 more IRS agents will be needed to check on our income and any changes to family status and our compliance with this massive new law.
- PUBLIC PLANS The law creates the infrastructure for public plans by requiring a federal agency to sponsor at least two national health plans. If private plans are crushed by ObamaCare’s regulations or simply turned into government contractors, these government plans could dominate the market, leading to the government-run health care system that the majority of Americans deplore.
We hope you find this Pro Patient Minute useful. Please feel free to circulate this to friends, family, and associates who need to know the truth about ObamaCare. The whole series is available on our website as Galen Guides. I encourage you to use these resources, distribute them to your networks, and share your ideas with us about how to reach as many people as possible with this message. Our freedom hangs in the balance!
At the Daily Beast, Cato’s Michael Tanner writes:
Let’s try to put the ongoing debate over the future of Medicare into a little bit of context. Last year Americans paid $274 billion in Medicare taxes and premiums. At the same time, the program paid out $564 billion in benefits. That amounts to a shortfall of roughly $290 billion. Looking into the future, even the most optimistic estimate by the program’s trustees puts Medicare’s future unfunded liabilities at more than $38.6 trillion. More realistic projections suggest the shortfall could easily top $90 trillion. …
But since we cannot pay the current level of benefits in the future, seniors will either have to pay more or get less no matter who wins this election. Romney and Ryan are simply being a little more explicit—and honest—about it. Or at least they were until they started to deny it.
Politicians pandering to seniors is nothing new. But this year’s Medicare dishonesty is especially dangerous. With both campaigns peddling the idea that any cuts to Medicare, now or in the future, are automatically a bad thing, we run the risk of poisoning the well for any future reform of the system. And if that is the outcome of this election, America is in deep trouble, no matter who wins in November.
Read the whole aritcle: Romney and Obama: Both Wrong on Medicare – The Daily Beast.
Linda Gorman of the Independence Institute has written a one-page issue backgrounder against ObamaCare: The Real Cost of ObamaCare: The End Of Reforms Promising Personal, Private, Portable, Affordable Health Care: [pdf](1 page, double-sided)
Having someone else pay for your medical care is the most expensive way to pay for it because it adds insurer overhead costs to the cost of the actual service. Colorado’s private sector began switching to consumer directed health policies (CDHPs) when they became more widely available in 2003. CDHPs encourage cash payment for inexpensive and predictable care. Health savings accounts (HSA) qualified plans save excess funds in tax-free accounts that accumulate until retirement.
For a different one-pager against ObamaCare see: “What does the health care bill mean to you?” by the National Center for Policy Analysis.
At Forbes, Avik Roy has done an excellent analysis of Congressional Budget Office reports on ObamaCare. See the post for the graphs, which tell the story. The post begins:
Earlier this week, the Congressional Budget Office released its revised estimates of what Obamacare will cost, now that the Supreme Court has weighed in. As I read the report, it occurred to me to ask: how have the CBO’s estimates changed over time? It turns out that, even when you compare the years that are common to each CBO report, a clear trend emerges. Today, the CBO believes that Obamacare will spend more money, raise more tax revenue, and reduce the deficit less than the agency thought in 2010. And things could get worse.
Read more: CBO: Obamacare Will Spend More, Tax More, and Reduce the Deficit Less Than We Previously Thought – Forbes.