For obvious reasons, I dig this post from John Steele Gordon on Contentions:
This is why I like engineers more than I like politicians. Engineers live in the real world. What they design has to actually function as advertised. So they don’t promise an airplane that is extremely fast, extremely fuel efficient, extremely quiet, and extremely safe. Those goals, each desirable individually, are mutually incompatible given the laws of physics. Politicians live in the political world and need only make sure that the bridges they build and the aircraft they design don’t crash in ruins before the next election. So they blithely ignore the laws of economics and human nature in designing programs. The political press corps equally pretends these laws don’t exist.Precisely. All through this debate on the mother of all entitlements, nobody has acknowledged the elephant in the room that we're already locked into a mountain of debt due to exploding spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. So the Senate Finance Committee makes up stories to pretend the money is there but it's already been spent ten-times-to-Sunday.
What's going to happen when the money runs dry and China won't lend us any more? Well, the government big enough to give you anything is big enough to take it away:
Meanwhile, Massachusetts is offering a preview of where all this will end up. The state passed a prototype for ObamaCare in 2006 on the same cost-control theory as Senate Finance, only to see spending explode. So now Beacon Hill is contemplating far more drastic spending-control measures, such as a plan to "require residents to give up their nearly unlimited freedom to go to any hospital and specialist they want," as the Boston Globe reported on Sunday. Paul Levy, the CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, told the Globe that "You can't reap these savings without limiting patients' choices in some way."A lot of pundits believe that some kind of health care reform will pass this year. I'm terrified that we're about to take that final leap from which there is no return, complete with trillion dollar deficits beyond the horizon. I always tell my kids that credit card companies love to urge you to spend money on yourself, to splurge for those "priceless" moments, but eventually you have to pay that money back. Every time we auction off another trillion in Treasury bonds, we're mortgaging away a little chunk of our freedom because the creditor nations will hold sway over federal policy.
This is the corner we're painting ourselves into, the end of the American century.