Some additional context for today's bill signing. (See Fred Barnes's excellent post on Medicare, here.) Today, Barack Obama signed into law a new entitlement that, he says, will not only provide much-needed benefits to the American people but will put the country on a path to long-term fiscal stability:

And in fact, it is through these reforms that we achieve the biggest reduction in our long-term deficits since the Balanced Budget Act of the 1990s. So for all those folks out there who are talking about being fiscal hawks and didn’t do much when they were in power let’s just remind them that according to the Congressional Budget Office, this represents over a trillion dollars of deficit reduction that is being done in a smart way.

We've heard this before.

On August 14, 1935, at the signing ceremony for the Social Security Act, Franklin Delano Roosevelt said that Social Security would be a self-sustaining program that "will take care of human needs and at the same time provide the United States an economic structure of vastly greater soundness."

On July 30, 1965, at the signing ceremony for Medicare, Lyndon Johnson said that working Americans "will contribute through the social security program a small amount each payday for hospital insurance protection." Said Johnson: "For example, the average worker in 1966 will contribute $1.50 per month."

How are those working out?

Update: Thinking further about Fred's terrific post, it's worth remembering that just a year ago the stimulus package was projected to cost $787 billion. The revised number? $862 billion.

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