The Roanoke Times:
A prescription for health care reform
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff asked President Obama's longtime physician in Chicago, Dr. David Scheiner, for a little medical advice: How would he advise his former patient on health care reform? Scheiner's prescription: a public insurance option, Kristoff writes, plus he "would love to go further and see Medicare for all."
Wise man. [link]
A friend came to me recently and advised that he was filing for personal bankruptcy. He too was a wise man. As long as credit card companies were willing to pay his bills, he thought, heck, he was willing to rack them up. And he did. To the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.
But the truth is, credit card companies don't pay bills. They simply hand a person like that the rope with which to hang himself.
The wise man unwisely hanged himself.
Government debt is no different. The bills racked up by government do-good programs come due. And we have to pay them.
From Yahoo News:
So, you wise people at the Roanoke Times, yeah, let's party. The government is paying the bill. No worries.
Washington – Social Security and Medicare are fading even faster under the weight of the recession, heading for insolvency years sooner than previously expected, the government warned Tuesday. Social Security will start paying out more in benefits than it collects in taxes in 2016, a year sooner than projected last year, and the giant trust fund will be depleted by 2037, four years sooner, trustees reported.
Medicare is in even worse shape. The trustees said the program for hospital expenses will pay out more in benefits than it collects this year, just as it did for the first time in 2008. The trustees project that the Medicare fund will be depleted by 2017, two years earlier than the date projected in last year’s report.
The trust funds — which exist in paper form in a filing cabinet in Parkersburg, W.Va. — are bonds that are backed by the government’s “full faith and credit” but not by any actual assets. That money has been spent over the years to fund other parts of government. To redeem the trust fund bonds, the government would have to borrow in public debt markets or raise taxes. [link] [my emphasis]
If only it were true.