Pelosi proud to place healthcare reform beside two failed government programs

For an analogy to be worthwhile it must achieve the desired result. For example, one might illustrate a poor decision by comparing it to benching Payton Manning in favor of a rookie quarterback. Conversely, no one wanting to praise a military campaign will say it was as successful as Hitler's siege of Stalingrad.

Such a short lesson in analogies. Yet for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi it is a lesson unlearned. During the pro-healthcare speech she delivered just prior to the House vote she made a terrible analogy. Madame Speaker said, "We will be joining those who established Social Security, Medicare and now, tonight, healthcare for all Americans.

Pelosi's comparison was wholly illogical. Why would a supporter of the healthcare legislation compare the bill to two bankrupt behemoths? That's like bragging on your team's chances to win the 2010 World Series by comparing them to the Chicago Cubs. To promote the healthcare bill Pelosi should've compared it to something, anything, besides Social Security and Medicare.

Social Security isn't exactly the model for sound financial management. The New York Times reported in 2004 that Social Security would be in the red by 2018 and the trust fund depleted by 2044. That's not a healthy financial outlook, and even the Times' dour forecast is overly optimistic.

Last year, Heritage Foundation analyst David John painted a far gloomier portrait of Social Security. According to Mr. John, Social Security is running a deficit right now with little to no chance of reversal. He predicts that the trust fund will go broke in 2037, seven years earlier than the 2004 report projected. Furthermore, the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) says Social Security's unfunded liability exceeds $17.5 trillion.

Medicare is no more secure than Social Security. In fact, Medicare's future is far bleaker. The NCPA places Medicare's unfunded liability at more than $89 trillion. That's a big number. Let's put it in its proper perspective. There are roughly 31.5 million seconds in one calendar year. If you earn one dollar for each of those seconds ($3,600 per hour) it would take 2.82 million years to satisfy Medicare's future benefit obligations. In astral terms, 89 trillion is 15 light years away, or about three times the distance from Earth to Alpha Centauri.

By 2054 the combined Social Security/Medicare payroll tax burden will rise from today's 15.3-percent to 37-percent. Half of all general revenues collected will be transferred to those programs in 2030, rising to nearly 75-percent in 2060. And these expenditures will be required of a government that consistently outspends its annual receipts.

One has to wonder if Speaker Pelosi realized what she was saying when she beamed about joining the creators of Social Security and Medicare. According to her own analogy Congress and the Obama administration have imposed upon America a program destined for high taxation, inadequate service, saucy bureaucrats, fraud, waste and future insolvency. If she was trying to boost public confidence in the healthcare bill she should've exercised greater care in picking her comparisons.

Pelosi's words did nothing to confirm the legitimacy of her argument. However, through sheer chance, she couldn't have been more on target. We're a nation of enormous debt, a bloated budget and a growing sense of entitlement. Now we have a healthcare program that a third-grader wouldn't believe will reduce any of the three.

Pelosi is correct; she and her party joined those who established Social Security and Medicare, and all the red ink that goes with them. That's no accomplishment of which a reasonable person would boast. No wonder her favorable rating is 11-percent.

 

Anthony W. Hager has authored more than 200 published articles for various newspapers, periodicals and websites. He can be reached through his website, www.therightslant.com.

For an analogy to be worthwhile it must achieve the desired result. For example, one might illustrate a poor decision by comparing it to benching Payton Manning in favor of a rookie quarterback. Conversely, no one wanting to praise a military campaign will say it was as successful as Hitler's siege of Stalingrad.

Such a short lesson in analogies. Yet for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi it is a lesson unlearned. During the pro-healthcare speech she delivered just prior to the House vote she made a terrible analogy. Madame Speaker said, "We will be joining those who established Social Security, Medicare and now, tonight, healthcare for all Americans.

Pelosi's comparison was wholly illogical. Why would a supporter of the healthcare legislation compare the bill to two bankrupt behemoths? That's like bragging on your team's chances to win the 2010 World Series by comparing them to the Chicago Cubs. To promote the healthcare bill Pelosi should've compared it to something, anything, besides Social Security and Medicare.

Social Security isn't exactly the model for sound financial management. The New York Times reported in 2004 that Social Security would be in the red by 2018 and the trust fund depleted by 2044. That's not a healthy financial outlook, and even the Times' dour forecast is overly optimistic.

Last year, Heritage Foundation analyst David John painted a far gloomier portrait of Social Security. According to Mr. John, Social Security is running a deficit right now with little to no chance of reversal. He predicts that the trust fund will go broke in 2037, seven years earlier than the 2004 report projected. Furthermore, the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) says Social Security's unfunded liability exceeds $17.5 trillion.

Medicare is no more secure than Social Security. In fact, Medicare's future is far bleaker. The NCPA places Medicare's unfunded liability at more than $89 trillion. That's a big number. Let's put it in its proper perspective. There are roughly 31.5 million seconds in one calendar year. If you earn one dollar for each of those seconds ($3,600 per hour) it would take 2.82 million years to satisfy Medicare's future benefit obligations. In astral terms, 89 trillion is 15 light years away, or about three times the distance from Earth to Alpha Centauri.

By 2054 the combined Social Security/Medicare payroll tax burden will rise from today's 15.3-percent to 37-percent. Half of all general revenues collected will be transferred to those programs in 2030, rising to nearly 75-percent in 2060. And these expenditures will be required of a government that consistently outspends its annual receipts.

One has to wonder if Speaker Pelosi realized what she was saying when she beamed about joining the creators of Social Security and Medicare. According to her own analogy Congress and the Obama administration have imposed upon America a program destined for high taxation, inadequate service, saucy bureaucrats, fraud, waste and future insolvency. If she was trying to boost public confidence in the healthcare bill she should've exercised greater care in picking her comparisons.

Pelosi's words did nothing to confirm the legitimacy of her argument. However, through sheer chance, she couldn't have been more on target. We're a nation of enormous debt, a bloated budget and a growing sense of entitlement. Now we have a healthcare program that a third-grader wouldn't believe will reduce any of the three.

Pelosi is correct; she and her party joined those who established Social Security and Medicare, and all the red ink that goes with them. That's no accomplishment of which a reasonable person would boast. No wonder her favorable rating is 11-percent.

 

Anthony W. Hager has authored more than 200 published articles for various newspapers, periodicals and websites. He can be reached through his website, www.therightslant.com.

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