How Much is a Trillion?

August 3, 2009 by  

I loved Stephen Moore’s recent description of a trillion dollars:  If LeBron James’ goal was to make a trillion $ playing basketball (okay, including endorsements), how many seasons do you think he would have to play at $40 million a year? 

25,000 seasons.  That’s a trillion $. 

The Federal government, of course, speaks of trillions as if it is the mere cost of inflation  considering Medicare already has a $38 Trillion liability over the next 75 years –  if coverage remains at 2009 levels.   Yet Congress wants to finance another healthcare entitlement (oh, that’s right, it will be paid for only by “rich” taxpayers like businesses and others who create jobs)!  But I digress.

Anyway, something called “reason”  intruded into the discussion in mid-July when their own Congressional Budget Office could not verify that the plan would meet the goals of keeping the deficit revenue-neutral and reining in health care costs.

Explained CBO’s Elmendorf: “In the legislation that has been reported, we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health  spending by a significant amount.  And on the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs.”

Even if the legislation doesn’t add to the federal deficit over the next years, Elmendorf said costs over the long run would keep rising at an unsustainable pace.

Perhaps we should look at reforming Medicare & Medicaid before piling on – or does that make too much sense?

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