[FoRK] Fwd: Hey, big spender...

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Wed Aug 27 09:57:19 PDT 2008

Jeff Bone wrote:
> On Aug 27, 2008, at 3:10 AM, Stephen Williams wrote:
>>> Here were the answers, among others, in support of $1T.  That 
>>> estimate's been increased with additional scrutiny of his specific 
>>> proposals.
>> Where please?
> By walking through each of the proposals and assuming two things:  (1) 
> price inflation due to increasing cost-of-goods across the board, 
> particularly due to built-in transportation costs;  (2) assuming a 
> coefficient of underestimation of costs typical of all government 
> programs, and particularly one that's higher the bigger the 
> contemplated programs;  (3) assuming further dollar devaluation due to 
> a (continued) complete lack of focus on macroeconomic priorities.  Net 
> of this, anywhere from 33% - 50% inflation of the initial price tags 
> stated is entirely reasonable.
Those are a lot of assumptions.  I'll just point out that if the dollar 
devalues that much, then $1.5T will seem like $1T does today.  By 
stating $1.5T now, you are implying $1.5T in todays dollars, which, for 
that grossing up at least, doesn't seem like a valid way to spit out 
numbers for comparison.
> I'm not going to walk through all of these individually, but here's a 
> couple of brief comments:
>>> $65 billion-a-year health plan
> Vastly, VASTLY underestimated price.
If you state a budget item by price, how is it vastly underestimated?  I 
don't believe the plan even can be: "Solve this at any price, which I 
think is $65."
>>> $3.5 billion for a national service plan
> Again, vastly underestimated price.
Certainly things might be increased, but budgets really do run out when 
you've spent all of the money allocated.
> Then there are several other large, unstated expenses:  increased 
> regulatory overhead, mentioned (but not priced) expansions of 
> Medicare, Medicaid, and VA, mentioned (but not priced) expansions of 
> unemployment benefits and (particularly) adult job training, which I 
> believe will devolve into the national service mentioned being used as 
> a safety net, greatly expanding the price.  Then there are the (again 
> unpriced) community-oriented and faith-based programs...
> Net of all of this, to see where the left wing would like to spend 
> *more* all you have to do is look at where we spend today;  if 
> Medicare and Medicaid were not put in separate buckets, they'd be the 
> largest single spending item, ahead of defense.  And by combining all 
> social program spending we get more than half the total annual federal 
> budget.
What about after you subtract out Medicare taxes?  After all, we're 
directly paying into a pool for that.  If it were to go away, we'd stop 
paying the tax too.  We take in $199B and pay to states for Medicaid 
$216B and $55B for Medicare drugs.  This is offset a little because we 
take in $696B for social security and pay out $693B.

We also do pay a lot for three things I never heard of directly that are 
part of Medicare and Medicaid Services for $919B total, $720B after 
direct offset.
Health Care Trust Funds $208B,
Federal Supplementary Medical Ins. Trust Fund $196B,
Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund $234B.

>> So, what flavor of coolaid are you drinking?  You're not winning me 
>> over with what you have presented so far as proof.
> I'm not trying to prove anything.  You can do your own analysis.  My 
> point is this:  when doing so, don't cherry pick, and assume the worst 
> case.  I've told you what my conclusions are;  you can factor that 
> into your thinking or not.  I don't have the 
The worst case I can assume won't happen.  If it even starts to happen, 
I believe that things would be corrected quickly.
There is plenty of bad momentum.  Some things will be worse before they 
get better no matter what.  Some of those things may even cause big 
tipping points.  If even one of the suggested investments pays off, it 
could lead to us being better off.
> time, inclination, or motivation to offer much more than this at this 
> point.
Well alright then.
> jb


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