Sponsored Content




Intermarkets' Privacy Policy
Support


Donate to Ace of Spades HQ!



Recent Entries
Absent Friends
westminsterdogshow 2023
Ann Wilson(Empire1) 2022
Dave In Texas 2022
Jesse in D.C. 2022
OregonMuse 2022
redc1c4 2021
Tami 2021
Chavez the Hugo 2020
Ibguy 2020
Rickl 2019
Joffen 2014
AoSHQ Writers Group
A site for members of the Horde to post their stories seeking beta readers, editing help, brainstorming, and story ideas. Also to share links to potential publishing outlets, writing help sites, and videos posting tips to get published. Contact OrangeEnt for info
Cutting The Cord And Email Security
Moron Meet-Ups





















Mid-Morning Art Thread | Main | Grifting Obamas: Michelle Obama Charged $750,000 For a Single One-Hour Speech
September 27, 2023

Wednesday Morning Rant

mannixape2.jpg

The Inevitable Wrong Answer

With another autumn comes another looming budget conflict. "Both sides" will make a lot of excited noises about fiscal responsibility and social obligation. There will be sound bites. There will be meaningless public negotiations while the real action happens behind closed doors. There will probably be a "lack of agreement" as government shutdown panic rises. Then there will be an 11th hour deal and, at the last second, the "statesmen" in Washington will have "averted disaster."

That's the norm and there is little reason to expect otherwise this year. Theatrics aside, the upcoming budget process has one upside: it doesn't much matter. We can't cut enough to deal with the fiscal problems. Last year, "discretionary" items - including defense - totaled $1.7 trillion. The deficit was $1.4 trillion.


Zeroing discretionary spending would barely balance last year's budget, and that margin will decline this year. The crisis isn't defense spending or national parks or even the various other evil insanities in the various agencies. The actual cost of government - quality and value aside - is fairly manageable.

The problem is on the entitlement side of things, and is not Social Security. That is a problem, but it is barely underwater and could be made healthier (though not without acts of political suicide). The crucial, existential issue for the federal government is medical spending. It costs more than Social Security, is deeply underwater and there's no end in sight.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services - the main organization responsible for federal medical spending - cost $1.384 trillion in Fiscal 2022. The dedicated revenue stream totaled just $0.357 trillion. The resulting hole in the general budget was $1.03 trillion, which represents nearly three quarters of the entire deficit last year (though appropriations are carried over from prior years, this changes timing but not the problem). It will be worse this year.

There is a combination of a laughably small dedicated revenue stream (the taxes explicitly to pay for it) - which has been true virtually since the program's inception - but more important, the outlandish cost of medical care. Our medical system is tragically expensive, and so are federal costs associated with it. This leaves two reasonable conclusions about what to do if the federal government is to survive: make medical care cheaper through massive industry and government reforms, or go single-payer and grind down costs through rationing.

I fear there are too many people at the trough for reform. There are too many powerful interests to make meaningful reform a politically viable option. I think reform is possible and costs could be collapsed, but it is politically unworkable. Medical spending overall is nearly 20% of GDP. There is too much money, too many interests and too much power at stake to make industrial and government reform a palatable option.

Which is why, rather than risk fiscal catastrophe, I think that the medical system will instead be nationalized in some form. This will help with revenues (new taxes and expropriations), provide a concentration of power, grant even more government control over a massive economic sector, provide cover, etc. Despite how it will be marketed, costs will come down primarily through reduction in access (rationing), with little from cost savings. It will be the disaster everyone knows it will be: a corrupt, expensive, unworkable mess that is worse than what we have today and merely kicks the can down the road of financial ruin. It's the worst solution to the problem.

Which is why I expect that it is inevitable.

digg this
posted by Joe Mannix at 11:00 AM

| Access Comments




Recent Comments
BourbonChicken: "Furiosa story from the Mad Max director https:/ ..."

JT: "Thanks Skip ! ..."

Duncanthrax: "[i]So, what's this about smelly penguins? Posted ..."

Tim The Enchanter [/s] [/u] [/i] [/b]: "The absence of mephitic Spheniscidae this evening ..."

Hairyback Guy: "Gavin is a venomous snake. And a piece of sh*t. P ..."

LenNeal: "Evenin’, All. I’m back. Didja miss ..."

Bulgaroctonus : "Evenin’, All. I’m back. Didja miss ..."

Yudhishthira's Dice: "You know that the FBI will see to it that the guy ..."

LenNeal: "Wait a minute!... Posted by: Hadrian the Seventh' ..."

San Franpsycho: "Gavin is a venomous snake. And a piece of sh*t. ..."

LenNeal: "The absence of mephitic Spheniscidae this evening ..."

Drive by: "What I don't understand is Trump sucking up to New ..."

Recent Entries
Search


Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64