Sunday, November 08, 2009

Our Bleak House

"The number of little acts of thoughtless expenditure which Richard justified by the recovery of his ten pounds, and the number of times he talked to me as if he had saved or realized that amount, would form a sum in simple addition."

-- Ada, in Bleak House, by Charles Dickens.

The U.S. House of Representatives, promising savings of $120 billion over 10 years, yesterday passed a new entitlement that would create $1.2 TRILLION in new spending over the same period. Those numbers, though bad enough, understate the irresponsibility of what was done by lawmakers helping to govern a nation already facing $9 trillion of deficit spending over the next 10 years. As much of the program doesn't take effect until 2013, the 10 year costs understate the amount to be spent over the first decade of the full program. Additionally, the history of estimates of costs of government health care programs would suggest that these guesses are likely lower than the coming reality. Indeed, some experts have actually suggested that costs should be deliberately underestimated in order to pass the program.

The House additionally fulfilled the President's promise that all who are happy with their current health plans could keep them by "paying for" the proposal with $400 billion in cuts from Medicare. Does anyone think that $400 billion in cuts might change something?

According to a poll conducted earlier this year, 62% of Americans believe that the next generation will be worse off than the present. That being the case, this proposed new spending should be regarded as an act of naked aggression against our children. Federal debt as a percentage of GDP is already rising to its highest level since World War II. Unlike World War II, this deficit spending results from ongoing entitlement commitments upon which people will come to depend.

Dickens' Bleak House is a fictional account of ruin resulting from a previous generation's litigation. Our current situation is legislative and not fiction. But, it is bleak.

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