Obamacare's Fundamental Dishonesty
1:30 PM, Oct 19, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Now even the Obama administration says the single biggest source of Obamacare's deficit savings is unworkable, and it's tacit acknowledgement that they manipulated the CBO's scoring process by frontloading the revenue and delaying the costs. So I don't think Republicans are to blame for undermining the CBO's credibility. The fact that Democrats deliberately gamed the CBO system to claim the bill was cost effective when they knew all along they were engaging in fiscal prestidigitation strikes me what's really damaging to the integrity of the system, as opposed to GOP critics (rightly) pointing out that the numbers didn't add up.
Let's not forget that Senate budget committee chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., called the CLASS Act "a Ponzi scheme of the first order, the kind of thing that Bernie Madoff would have been proud of." Yet the program was still included in Obamacare, Democrats proceeded to sell the bill on the basis of it's illusory deficit savings, and Conrad voted for it anyway.
Which brings me to Ezra Klein's more recent comments on the matter. Klein, again to his credit, concedes that those who argued the CLASS Act was unsound from the beginning "have a point." But then arrives at this baffling conclusion:
This is nonsense on stilts. For a long time the exact argument in support of the program was "trust the CBO." Majority leader Harry Reid stood Senate floor and said "[The CLASS Act is] fully paid for, CBO said, in the far future, decades and decades into the future." Maybe "further analysis" exposed the problems of the CLASS Act, but that came after lots of public statements by Democrats specifically citing the CBO in support of the program. If anything, the CLASS Act saga demonstrates how easily the CBO process was manipulated for political ends, and anyone who argues that the collapse of the CLASS Act should renew our faith in the CBO is either delusional or dishonest.
So many of the debates about Obamacare come down to arguing about numbers and policy details. But in the end, I suspect the real reason Americans have consistently opposed the law is that Americans felt all along that an effort to transfer massive power to the federal government to control huge portions of the health care system through a hastily cobbled together, 2,700 page piece of legislation full of pie-in-the-sky promises was about the last thing they wanted. It's bad that the government wanted this power, and it's much worse that Democrats were being disingenuous in their efforts to acquire it. And with each new Obamacare failure, it just confirms their Americans's suspicions that they were being lied to all along.