November 26, 2009

Say it ain't so, Joe

The numbers were a fraud from the start. First, health reform would pay for itself by tax increases for those making over $250,000 per annum. Then, it would pay for itself by ridding us of the charitable tax deduction. Lastly (and lamely), reform would pay for itself through the use of wellness and prevention programs. Now even the bills' supporters are admitting to the financial ruse, with Newsweek editor Evan Thomas acknowledging the fact before claiming that if he were a politician, he'd vote for it anyway. Any surplus, deficit reduction or similar fiscal restraint contained within the bill actually works like this: Benefits won't be fully realized until 2015, but taxes and cuts begin immediately. We'll be paying for 10 years to get five years worth of benefits in the coming decade, all the while trumpeting the supposed cost-effectiveness of the program.

Which is why Joe Lieberman's opposition to any public plan is so important. As he himself told The Wall Street Journal, his objection isn't based on fluorinated water, black helicopter, one-world-government-style conservative paranoia, rather:

"[H]is objection is based on fiscal risk: "Once the government creates an insurance company or plan, the government or the taxpayers are liable for any deficit that government plan runs, really without limit," he says. "With our debt heading over $21 trillion within the next 10 years...we've got to start saying no to some things like this."

Accountability be damned. Once it's in place, repealing the bill will be next to impossible, no matter the costs and associated taxpayer liabilities; something Reid and his supporters know. But now, with the help of Lieberman, so do we.

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