Friday, April 29, 2011

The thirty-four trillion dollar solution

Economists at Center for Economic and Policy Research have crunched the numbers on the "Ryancare" plan to kill Medicare, using Congressional Budget Office estimates and projections, and it's not pretty:
"Thirty-four Trill-i-on Dollars!"
Based on the CBO data provided, the waste far exceeds the savings to the government. Under traditional Medicare, the government is expected to spend about $6,600 in 2022 on a typical 65-year-old, and the beneficiary is expected to spend $4,600 (all numbers in 2011 dollars). Under the Ryan proposal, a voucher for the same 65-year old would cost the government $6,600, saving the government nothing. However, the total cost of purchasing Medicare-equivalent insurance would be $16,900 – more than 50 percent higher than the $11,200 spent by the government and beneficiary combined under traditional Medicare. The difference of $5,700 represents a gift to the private sector...

"It's always the economy, stupid!"

Ezra Klein:
The most important story in the 2012 election and GDP growth. And yesterday, the news was bad. GDP growth was 1.8 percent in the first quarter: disappointing under normal circumstances and crushing during a recovery. Weekly jobless claims, meanwhile, hit a three-month high. And high gas prices tend to trick people into thinking inflation, which is actually worryingly low, is out of control, further adding to their concerns.