Chuckles

If you ever run out of chuckles you only need to see what Congress is up to to fill up your laugh locker again. Unfortunately, the most comic of their shenanigans are painful and expensive for us.

For example, the healthcare stuff. One of its biggest ingredients is the promise that government will save countless billions in Medicare by trimming excess fat. Right.

If Jay Leno said that he would get a good laugh.

Let us list all the major programs the government has slimmed down. We can print them on the edges of a postage stamp. Correction, on one edge.

Do we really have to remind ourselves that Congress has never been in the business of trimming fat? It creates the stuff.

Government promises the healthcare reforms will cost $800 billion or so over so many years. Ooops, the cost they project is now over a trillion. Another laugh line for Jay Leno.



Let us list the big programs that cost anywhere near what the politicians promised they would. Let us list those that cost less than they promised. Your pen could run dry of ink before you started your list and you would not notice when you finished the list.

Toss the postage stamp. Such programs do not exist. And yet, when politicians declare their projections are for real, the media sop them up and spew them at us as if we should take them seriously. They belong on the comics page.

Politicians predicted original Medicaid costs would run $238 million the first year. Wrong. They ran to over $1 billion. When you adjust for inflation, Medicaid now costs 37 times more than it did when launched, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Politicians promised Medicare would cost $12 billion by 1990. The actual cost came to $90 billion. Medicare hospitalization: Politicians projected $9 billion by 1990. It cost $67 billion.

Congress’s experts projected the Medicare tab for renal disease would be modest. Only 11,000 patients would need the coverage. Today, there are nearly 400,000 patients.

Medicare hospital costs will be only $9 billion by 1980, they promised. Trust us. We trusted them. The costs ran to $67 billion.

“Forget all that,” they tell us now. “We will be tougher this time around.” Another laugh line.

They recently got word there would be no cost of living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security this year. Why not? Because the cost of living had gone down.

Now how tough do you have to be to speak that truth to seniors? Too tough for our brave politicians. They all caved when the President said we should send all the seniors a check for $250.

If they cannot find backbone to stand firm on COLA, how can we believe they will carve billions from Medicare? Or from any of the areas they promise to trim the fat from?

Congress will put one of its program on a diet? Fat chance.

How can we believe Congress when it claims healthcare reform will cost only $1 trillion the first decade? We cannot.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.                  

For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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