- The Washington Times - Monday, December 28, 2009

OPINION/ANALYSIS:

A good friend of mine came up to me the other day and said, “Hey, I’ll be a millionaire in 10 years.”

Now, I know this guy isn’t a millionaire. He can’t possibly make more than $100,000 a year, and I know he’s paying off a big home and has a few children in school. So I said, “Really? Do you have a rich uncle who’s dying soon?”

He replied, “Nope. My friend, I’ll be a millionaire if you don’t count any of my expenses. Yeah, if you take out what I owe on my house, my car payments, health expenses, taxes, I’ll be a bona fide millionaire in 10 years. It’s called ‘congressional accounting,’ man, it’s the new way of doing math.”

Of course, this little exchange didn’t really happen, as I don’t know anyone who does their expenses that way, except for the senators and congressmen I’ve met when it’s our money they’re playing with.

But that’s exactly how Congress gets to its “cost savings” on this monstrous, trillion-dollar health care bill. It’s how Congress claims it will make us all millionaires like my imaginary friend, when in fact they’re handing us the most expensive entitlement in our nation’s history.

It’s easy to “save money” over 10 years, as the bill’s proponents deceitfully claim, if you’re fudging the numbers. See, Congress is going to collect revenues (taxes, fees) for four years to save up for the benefits that don’t fully kick in until 2014. What a terrible bargain. I don’t know anyone who would start making car payments today for a car they can’t drive off the lot till 2014, but that’s basically what Congress is doing with this health care reform.

“Pay now,” they say. “We’ll start giving what you’re paying for … in four years.”

This was the issue so urgent it needed to pass before Christmas? If we all made budgets the way Congress did, no one would have any debt - we’d all be liquid with cash and wouldn’t have a care in the world. (Heck, if we did accounting the way Congress did, there would have been no need for this reform because everyone could afford health care.)

But here in the real world, it doesn’t work that way. And, what Congress isn’t telling you is that in its world, it doesn’t work that way either. At some point, we’re all going to pay, because accounting gimmicks may work to get this health legislation passed quickly in the middle of the night, but someday we’ll all get stuck with the bill.

The U.S. Senate is marching toward history, but not the kind it will welcome once the dust settles from the fallout of the health care reform debate. There are so many political favors buried in this bill that reporters simply don’t have the time to uncover them all, or quite possibly they are just in bed with health care pushing Democrats. And yet, the American people see this albatross for what it truly is - a massive expansion of government. Why do both parties fixate on and equate more power centralized in this modern-day Sodom as a public good? And, are we voters so naive or numb to this fact that when we remain silent, politicians see that as acquiescent approval?

I am utterly amazed at the sentimentality Democrats and President Obama are expressing in the final hours before America’s financial Armageddon: Proponents invoking Sen. Edward M. Kennedy as if his ghost meandered those halls late at night. Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois pensively stated early Tuesday morning that the Senate will be forever remembered for such heroic acts by the Democrats. Even Mr. Obama proudly defied anyone to point out differences between his campaign promises on health reform and what will ultimately pass - a nod to his omniscience, some suspect.

Poor Barack Obama. He just doesn’t get it. He piously declares he has “excellent coverage” as president. He doesn’t need reform. He’s fighting for those who don’t have coverage.

Yet in every interview and public appearance, the benefits of this measure are conveniently excluded or glossed over with tough talk of nailing “fat cat” insurance companies. Instead, the president parrots a familiar line every Democrat in Washington is asserting, “We’re making history.” To him, passage of this bill is more about securing a “W” in his column, not moving sound public policy. Don’t believe me? Then if it were so important and so monumental, why move a bill in as little time as it takes Congress to name a post office? Why not wait for Congress’ budget office to say how much it will cost? And why for heaven’s sake do you enact a bill that begins to tax Americans immediately to pay for it, yet doesn’t offer them the first dime in benefits for several years? Is that courageous? Is that historic?

Not to mention the sweetheart deals that are packed into this monstrous bill that will undoubtedly develop into having a mind of their own. The Louisiana Purchase is one of the sweeter deals of the sweethearts. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, like many politicians, sold her vote on this bill for $300 million in the form of dollars matched by the federal government for Medicaid services - which is paid for, in part, out of state coffers; hence, the need for sweetheart deals. Unfortunately still, such shadiness has the potential to completely tank this bill.

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