Robbing Peter to pay Paul is something almost all governments routinely do. And they have been doing it for years. If you haven’t seen a good argument for it, that’s because government theft is so fully ingrained in our way of life that no one thinks a justification is needed.
Congressional Democrats are proposing to spend an enormous amount of taxpayer dollars on what the New York Times calls a “cradle to the grave” addition to U.S. social welfare. When budgeting shenanigans are ignored, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that the full cost is not the $3.5 trillion that has been widely advertised, but at least $5.0 trillion and possibly as much as $5.5 trillion.
After years of advocating a level playing field, on which traditional Medicare competes against private Medicare Advantage plans, Democrats are now proposing to tilt the scales. They are proposing a hearing, vison and dental benefit for traditional Medicare, while stiffing the private plans. The proposal will make seniors worse off whenever they switch to or from a Medicare Advantage plan.
Progressives in Congress are planning to spend an additional $1,000 per enrollee on beneficiaries in traditional Medicare, but spend no additional money on Medicare Advantage enrollees. In economic terms, the flip side of a subsidy is a penalty. If you give a subsidy to people who make one choice, you are effectively imposing a cost on everyone who makes a different choice. In this case, the Democrats’ proposal does more than tilt the playing field. It makes seniors worse off whenever they switch from one system to the other.
There are 5 million fewer people employed today than before the Covid epidemic struck and 7.7 million of those out of work are officially counted as unemployed. What’s going wrong? Federal policies are making it increasingly attractive not to work.
The Social Security Trustees have released their annual report on the system’s finances. The news is awful. Social Security’s unfunded liability is an enormous $59.8 trillion. That’s over 2.5 times the size of the U.S. economy. Even more disturbing is the change since last year’s report. The system’s unfunded liability grew by $6.8 trillion. In other words, while Congress has been arguing over whether we can afford $3.5T in new spending, the debt we are leaving to our children grew by almost twice that amount without Congress lifting a finger.
But unlike the change in official debt, Social Security’s deficits are carefully kept off the books — for political, not economic reasons. Consequently, not a single media outlet we know of has reported these numbers
Victory over COVID-19 doesn’t mean eliminating it. That’s impossible given its global spread and mutation. Victory means suppressing it in the same way we have suppressed measles.
The liberal media is panicking over the prospect of Larry Elder becoming governor of California. An editorial in the New York Times by Farhad Manjoo, for example, declares the Elder candidacy a “looming disaster,” a “liberal nightmare” and a possibility that is “as serious as a heart attack.” For Times editorial writer Paul Krugman, the possibility is even more frightening. Elder, he says, would be a “Trumpist governor” whose election would produce “awesome consequences” – all bad, of course.
Larry Kotlikoff says the FDA is foot dragging on approving vaccines for children, without any defensible reason. FDA-sanctioned adult vaccine trials began in March 2020. Given the crisis, safer and riskier adult-trial phases were run in parallel, with adolescent trials soon thereafter. But the FDA pushed a conservative approach for children, ostensibly to protect them. So pediatric trials were delayed until March 2021 — a full year beyond the start of adult trials. This delay has threatened every American child with long-term morbidity and even mortality.
Why do Democrats do so much better than their Republican rivals when voters think about health care? Because Democrats are much better at following five rules for how successful candidates should talk about the subject.