Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Lie of the Year

Politifact named their lie of the year but their choice was disappointingly partisan. They classified "government takeover of health care" as a lie based on a definition of "government takeover" so extreme that even England's socialized medicine would not qualify.

I'd like to offer my own lie of the year.

I seriously considered "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan." President Obama said this innumerable times but he neglected to add several caveats. He would have been more accurate to say, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan, as long as your plan meets our minimum requirements and you do not change job class, even within your own employer and as long as your employer does not change plans because of government action."

The main reason I am not naming this as the lie of the year is because no one is still saying it. Instead this is the runner up.

"Recovery Summer" gets a special prize for being so wrong that the White House retired the phrase within a few days of starting the Recovery Summer tour.

But, the winner is "Obamacare is a deficit reduction act." This wins not only because it is such a bald faced lie but because it is still being tossed around. Just yesterday Politico quoted Nancy Pelosi as insisting that without Obamacare medical costs would be unsustainable. Dana Milbank of the Washington Post goes further accusing the Republicans of wanting to increase the deficit by $143 billion by repealing Obamacare.

Why is it a lie? When it originally scored the bill the CBO figured that it would bring in $142 billion more in new taxes than it cost. That is where the figure that Milbank used comes from but the CBO figure was not a true estimate. The new taxes are phased in before the most expensive parts of the bill so the CBO figure includes ten years of additional taxes but only six years of increased expenses. The CBO was also forced to use Congress's promise to make 30% cuts in payments to doctors even though Congress made it clear that they will not act on that promise. The Wall Street Journal said

Politicians have deliberately written the ObamaCare rules, as they have for all entitlements, so the real costs are disguised and hard for taxpayers to figure out.

So, Democrats and their supporters are still insisting that their legislation that will decrease both the direct costs of medical care and the government's portion when it will actually cause both to rise. That is why this is the lie of the year.

For more information, see here and here.

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