Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Defending the indefensible

It is an anti-Bush week here for me. I thought of writing this one up in the style of Tolles, but I know a couple of women who peruse notsomuch and, old-fashioned guy that I am, I can't use that kind of language. Nonetheless, here is another serious problem with/from the Bush administration:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 - The Bush administration offered a new estimate of the cost
of the Medicare drug benefit on Tuesday, saying it would cost $720 billion in the next 10 years.That is much more than the $400 billion Congress assumed when it passed legislation creating the benefit in late 2003.

How do they explain this?:
But administration officials said the numbers were not comparable. The original
estimate was for the years 2004 to 2013. The new estimate covers the period from
2006, when the drug benefit becomes available, to 2015.

Oh I get it. The $400 billion estimate was for 2004 to 2013, a ten year time period while the new estimates are from 2006 to 2015 a... wait a minute here. A two year difference in starting the program is what they are blaming an 80% budget overrun on? And...mark me down as agreeing with Rahm Emmanuel (another rarity):
Mr. Emanuel said: "The new cost estimate destroys the credibility of the Bush
administration. Officials were so far off in estimating the cost of the Medicare law. Why should we believe what they say about the financial problems of Social Security?"

The Democrats have a golden opportunity to run with the issue of fiscal sanity. To pull it off they have to show that they are genuinely committed to bringing the budget back in line. Not sure I'd hold my breath on that one.

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