The White House Kindly Requests You Do Not Refer to Its Health Care Budget Gimmicks as "Gimmicks"
Peter Suderman at Reason:
The issue with backloading spending isn’t that it hides deficit spending; it’s that it hides the full cost of the bill, thus making it politically viable. When early drafts of health care reform rang up at around $1.6 trillion, Washington underwent a massive freakout; it became clear that passing a bill with that kind of price tag was almost certainly impossible. So Obama gave Congress a target of "around $900 billion" for the bill, and one of the ways the lower figure was achieved was by starting the taxes revenue mechanisms immediately but holding off on implementing the benefits. That allowed for the Senate bill’s politically convenient $850 billion score while disguising the fact that the true cost of a full ten years of the bill’s programs is actually more like $1.8 trillion (and that’s not counting the trillion-plus in additional costs imposed by an individual mandate).
Ed Morrissey has more on these scumbag tactics:
This is why they’re delaying the start of the program, of course. If it kicked in right away, the decade-long estimate would obviously be well into the trillions. So they simply stalled it for four years, incurring just $17 billion in costs - or 1.8 percent of the total 10-year estimate - through 2013 so that wavering Democrats could go back to their districts and tell baldfaced lies to their constituents about the pricetag. A perfect ending to this travesty.
To call these "gimmicks" is to be extremely generous. They’ll start collecting the increased taxes right away, but the bulk of the benefits won’t kick in for years, just so they can lie and say it costs less than half of what it actually costs, since they’re only talking about the first 10 years. Despicable.