It cannot be said often enough that Washington, D.C., is a city of endless fairy tales. Politicians in both parties can be found spinning these fantasies, but the yarns have been coming especially fast and furious since President Barack Obama and his two best buddies — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — have been running the government.
They spun two new fantasies just this week.
The first was that without the latest Obama-Reid-Pelosi government bailout, at least 100,000 teachers would lose their jobs this fall. That’s why the $26 billion “stimulus” bill passed by the House in an “emergency” session included $10 billion for “job creation.” That’s a charming legend for the gullible. The reality, as the Education Intelligence Agency’s Mike Antonucci noted, is that “it’s common practice for school districts to overestimate the number of teachers that will be laid off in advance of budgets being set, and in advance of the school year.” So the vast majority of those dire warnings of 100,000 teachers being laid off were mostly just hot air.
And here’s something else to ponder: If it cost $10 billion to save 100,000 teachers’ jobs, they are each being paid $100,000 a year. Since the national average teacher salary is just over $54,000 a year, somebody — federal bureaucrats? — is making a bundle on overhead.
The second was the assertion by the Medicare trustees in their annual report to Congress that Obamacare “improves the financial outlook for Medicare substantially.” That assessment was based on multiple assumptions that, frankly, defy political reality. One assumption is that the economy will grow on average 5.1 percent every year for the next decade. Another one was that annual health care costs for Medicare Part B will only increase on average 4.8 percent (the actual figure since 2003 has been double that amount).
With the prospect of a double-dip recession growing by the day due to continued high levels of unemployment and exploding government debt, only the most naïve can believe the economy will grow at a 5.1 percent annual clip in the next few years. And that 4.8 percent annual Part B cost increase projection assumes that Congress will actually enact proposed massive cuts in Medicare reimbursements for doctors and other medical providers, something which both Obama and congressional Democrats are already vowing won’t happen.
No wonder Robert Foster, Medicare’s Chief Actuary, cautioned that “financial projections shown in this report for Medicare do not represent a reasonable expectation for actual program operations in either the short range … or the long range.” Now there’s a man who recognizes a fairy tale when he sees it.