Monday, August 9, 2010

Can I Have The BS On Rye, Hold The Mayo?

If you have never been over to visit Afrocity's blog at Augographed Letter Signed, you really ought to treat yourself. She describes herself as an "archivist, bibliophile, adjunct professor and historian" as well as "a 30 something professional who had been a “Good African American Democrat ” all of my life until the election of 2008." She only posts once a week on Sundays, but her essays are always thought provoking and, when dealing with issues in her personal life, invariably poignant. She is as interesting and as complex a person as you will meet on the internet.

Afrocity's post this week, Bullshit, It's Not Just For Republicans Anymore. Here is a snippet:

. . . But understand that bullshit is an acquired taste. That is to say, if someone feeds you crap election year in and election year out, you only know… well…crap. You become accustomed to the broken promises and pointing fingers game. You accept your permanent place in the war of America’s needy versus America’s greedy. Despite your inner brilliance- your wiser conscious plea to ask questions and get real answers, you continue to eat the plate of bullshit set before you. Some like myself ate with small spoonfuls -drinking huge glasses of water between each swallow. Others like my mother and most Obama supporters put the feedbag on with gusto.

The day I woke up and took a much needed shower, was the day the bullshit became not a meal for my liberal friends but something to throw at me.

Friend: Afrocity how can you turn your back on everything the Democrats have done for black people”

Afrocity: Like………….

You see Afrocity does not play the bullshit game anymore. Give the donkeys their breast cancer hued pink slip.

Heh. I really do like this woman. Do pay her a visit. And do read her post in conjunction with the post below, "Pre-Revolutionary America." It would seem that America as a whole is running out of patience with the bullshit.

Examples of bullshit being doled by the current administration out are everywhere. There is Obama's jobs saved or created canard. There is Obama's fiction that he is controlling our borders better than previous administrations - something with which virtually the entire membership of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office apparently disagrees. There is a gay federal judge ruling that seven million Californians were bigoted and irrational when they voted against gay marriage. And then there is the massive, potentially economy busting fiction that Obamacare is going to lower the cost of our entitlements. The Chief Actuary of Medicare has refused to sign onto the fiction. This from Q&O:

You remember last week when the supposed “good news” was released – Social Security wasn’t in as dire shape as we’d been told and Medicare was going to be fine too? Yeah, since ObamaCare passed and the doc fix was sure to be implemented, not to mention the half trillion in cuts to Medicare, why we were on the road not only to solvency but to deficit reduction.

And the yearly bit of political theater played out as planned:

The normal process with the annual Trustees’ Reports is for the Trustees to develop and publish the best available projections for the future finances of Social Security and Medicare. The respective Social Security and Medicare actuaries then sign a pro forma blessing of those projections, which is tacked to the back of the report when released to the public.

“Pro forma” is the key. Usually, whether they believe the rosy projections or not, their signatures appear on the report.

But this year, one of them just couldn’t do it in good conscience. The Medicare Chief Actuary just couldn’t sign his name to the fiction without adding a memo of his own.

The actuary’s alternative memo explains that “the projections in the report do not represent the ‘best estimate’ of actual future Medicare expenditures.” Worse than that, they are not even in the ballpark of reasonability. The official 2010 Trustees’ Report tells us that total Medicare expenses will be total 6.37% of GDP by 2080. The CMS actuary’s alternative memorandum explains that 10.70% of GDP is a more reasonable estimate for that year – though one that is roughly 68% higher.

The two reasons the actuary cites are the “doc fix” – a formula the actuary describes as "clearly unworkable and almost certain to be overridden by Congress” (both the Obama administration and leaders in Congress are on record opposing them – yet there they are in the report on the “plus” side of the ledger).

The other assumption the actuary dismisses as unrealistic is the assumption that future program cost will be contained by “downward adjustments in annual price updates reflecting in turn the assumption that health service productivity growth will parallel “economy-wide productivity.” The actuary flatly states there is no evidence to support this assumption and, on the contrary, much to call it deeply into question.

E21 notes:

This is a key point; the glowingly optimistic projections in the official Trustees’ Report assume that we as a nation will be content to have 40% of our medical facilities go under within the next 40 years, and that we will happily accept these severe constraints upon beneficiaries’ access to health care. If that is not in fact the societal will after the enactment of health care reform, then the official cost estimates should be tossed into the nearest receptacle.

Bad though all of this is, none of it is actually the worst gimmick in the official report’s advertised improvement in Medicare solvency. That involves the double-counting of Medicare savings. Earlier this year, Congress passed a health care bill containing various new Medicare taxes and constraints on program expenditures. Such savings are assumed in the official report to extend the solvency of Medicare. But Congress chose instead to spend the savings on a new health care entitlement.

Do read the entire post.

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