December 23, 2009

Funny Gub'mint Account -- Mai Non!

James Pethokoukis points out: "On this double-counting issue, I dont know if this will pan out. But if it does, boom goes the dynamite."

The key point is that the savings to the HI trust fund under the PPACA would be received by the government only once, so they cannot be set aside to pay for future Medicare spending and, at the same time, pay for current spending on other parts of the legislation or on other programs. Trust fund accounting shows the magnitude of the savings within the trust fund, and those savings indeed improve the solvency of that fund; however, that accounting ignores the burden that would be faced by the rest of the government later in redeeming the bonds held by the trust fund.

One tires of saying it but: if they did this at Enron, there'd be jail time...

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at December 23, 2009 12:25 PM

"I got ten years for a better set of books than this."

Humphrey Bogart, "We're No Angels"

Posted by: Keith at December 23, 2009 1:14 PM

The FoxNews.com story is here.

Republicans, emboldened by a new letter from the Congressional Budget Office, accused Democrats on Wednesday of "Bernie Madoff accounting" for double counting the savings from Medicare as a means to pay for the Senate health care bill.

I took a quick look through "all 12,634 news articles" on the same subject and only this one referred to the "double-counting" letter. Said letter from CBO director Elmendorf, by the way, is linked at the bottom of the FNC article.

Posted by: johngalt at December 23, 2009 1:16 PM

Awesome quote, Keith -- I forwarded it to Jimi P.

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2009 1:19 PM

Cut 'em some slack, jg, they had their whole staff fact checking Sarah Pain's political puff book. Can't do everything y'know.

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2009 1:20 PM

And that's another thing - What does it say that with all those "fact checkers" reviewing her book the best attack the progressive media can mount against Palin is Visorgate?

Posted by: johngalt at December 23, 2009 1:27 PM

I thought the Social Security "trust fund" farce was bad enough. It's a form of double-counting because those bonds will also have to be redeemed eventually. Meanwhile, surpluses are used to mask the current deficit while future obligations are merely on another ledger (and so are not reckoned against any year's budget). Are we surprised the feds didn't stop there?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 23, 2009 1:37 PM

Ken Shepherd of Newsbusters.org tweets; "WaPo devoted 19 staffers to today's Style frontpager on the Salahis. Why not put that much energy into detailing crap in health care bill?"

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2009 2:39 PM | What do you think? [7]