I’ve been calling American Liberalism a cult for a long time. I get some grief for it from normal people, because they think I’m engaging in name calling. The word cult has some baggage. We typically think of cults having a charming leader. That leader is more than a little nuts and eventually leads his followers to a Jonestown like end. The messianic nature of American Liberalism is not always obvious, but it’s right there if look hard at the Left.
Modern times and the trendiness of the Left means their various beliefs burst forth for a while and then recede into the background, only to come around again with a new marketing pitch. State rationed health care is a good example. The American Left has been dreaming of it since they discovered Bismark. Every ten years or so they have a new way to pitch having their cult decide how much and how often you get medical treatment.
The cultish properties of American Progressives is clear in the story of ObamaCare. It was supposed to be the final step into the Eden of free health care for all. The rank and file members of the Cult of Modern Liberalism were convinced that a fountain of unlimited health care was hidden away somewhere, maybe next to the golden plates Joseph Smith found out west. If they could slay the evil insurance monsters that guard it, the people would be free to dip their cups into it and get all the health care they desired – free! They used different words, but that was the sales pitch and they truly believed it. They still do.
Then reality, that thing that does not go away when you stop believing in it, came roaring into the room. Millions saw their policies canceled. I’m on my third cancellation. Rates went up and the public went crazy. As was described in When Prophecy Fails, the Left was at first stunned into silence. The disconfirmation was soul crushing. Instead of Eden, the result was chaos. Then, the faithful rallied and they are now ready to proselytize once again.
You’re looking at the biggest story involving the federal budget and a crucial one for the future of the American economy. Every year for the last six years in a row, the Congressional Budget Office has reduced its estimate for how much the federal government will need to spend on Medicare in coming years. The latest reduction came in a report from the budget office on Wednesday morning.
The changes are big. The difference between the current estimate for Medicare’s 2019 budget and the estimate for the 2019 budget four years ago is about $95 billion. That sum is greater than the government is expected to spend that year on unemployment insurance, welfare and Amtrak — combined. It’s equal to about one-fifth of the expected Pentagon budget in 2019. Widely discussed policy changes, like raising the estate tax, would generate just a tiny fraction of the budget savings relative to the recent changes in Medicare’s spending estimates.
In more concrete terms, the reduced estimates mean that the federal government’s long-term budget deficit is considerably less severe than commonly thought just a few years ago. The country still faces a projected deficit in future decades, thanks mostly to the retirement of the baby boomers and the high cost of medical care, but it is not likely to require the level of fiscal pain that many assumed several years ago.
The reduced estimates are also an indication of what’s happening in the overall health care system. Even as more people are getting access to health insurance, the costs of caring for individual patients is growing at a super-slow rate. That means that health care, which has eaten into salary gains for years and driven up debt and bankruptcies, may be starting to stabilize as a share of national spending.
You see? The prophesies were true! The prophesies were true! The Great Pumpkin will bring free health care for all!
Keep in my that this what “data driven journalism” really means. It is the old time religion sprinkled with statistics. To the faithful, “data” are a topping, like jimmies on an ice cream sundae. The “data” presented here are both fanciful and useless. The threat to Medicare is not cost per patient. The threat is the number of patients when the Boomer retirement is in full bloom. Driving the cost per patient down a few bucks is nothing when the number of patients is growing geometrically.
But, that’s how it goes in a cult. They need to believe and so they will always believe. It took 100 million corpses and 150 years for Communism to finally die. In my youth, American lefties would say that communism was never really tried and that Bolshevism was not true Marxism. I don’t think they were ever convinced to drop it. The Left just decided to go with Cultural Marxism, figuring the economics would take care of itself.