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Reconciliation

Recap: Here are some grim job numbers; some longer thoughts on the filibuster; and the composition of a Senate based around income brackets rather than states.

Elsewhere:

1) David Wessel looks at the GOP's economic agenda.

2) Deutsche Bank takes it down a notch.

3) Jim DeMint's plans for the 112th Congress.

4) I, for one, welcome our Dave Alpertian overlords.

Recipe for the weekend: Mark Bittman grills up some Lebanese flatbread.

By Ezra Klein  |  September 3, 2010; 6:39 PM ET
 
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Next: Washington wants you to work longer

Comments

Again with the grim? No, no. Grim would be losing 700,000 jobs.

Posted by: TheLev | September 3, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

I have been following Politics and Economics since 1970. This is as hopeless a situation as I have ever seen.
If the Republicans do take over congress, I would not be suprised to see them do a Herbert Hoover, balance the budget and put us into full blown depression.
The great irony of all this is that Obama would not have won (in my opinion) without the economic crash but unfortunately, he now has to deal with it.

Posted by: LMcORF | September 3, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

From Bruce Webb at angrybear blog

For years we have been regaled with scary, scary numbers about how Medicare's projected unfunded liability was in the TENS OF TRILLIONS. And sure enough if you consulted the Medicare Report and examined the actuarial projections for Medicare Part A you would find that number. But a funny thing happened with the 2010 Report and is shown in the data table above: the 75 year number is down to $6.9 trillion, a big number but only 0.5% of projected GDP over that period, and the infinite future number is actually a $600 billion SURPLUS.

Oddly this multi-multi trillion dollar turnaround did not result in banner headlines in the NYT or the WaPo, nor did congratulatory telegrams pour into the offices of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and dare I say it Barack Obama from the folk at Cato and Concord that have been weeping bitter, bitter tears about 'intergenerational inequity' and begging us to 'think about the grandchildren'. Because that is not how they roll nor was any of this what the kerfluffle has been about. The fundamental hostility to Medicare among the self-style deficit hawks is not because it is broken, but instead because it works. For them that infinite future $600 billion SURPLUS is terrible, terrible news. Which is why it never made it to the inboxes of Lori Montgomery and Perry Bacon at the WaPo, though you can bet big that any deterioration would have. Funny that."

Posted by: grooft | September 4, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

grooft,

"Oddly this multi-multi trillion dollar turnaround did not result in banner headlines in the NYT or the WaPo, nor did congratulatory telegrams pour into the offices of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and dare I say it Barack Obama from the folk at Cato and Concord that have been weeping bitter, bitter tears about 'intergenerational inequity' and begging us to 'think about the grandchildren'. Because that is not how they roll nor was any of this what the kerfluffle has been about. The fundamental hostility to Medicare among the self-style deficit hawks is not because it is broken, but instead because it works."

The reason why the trustee report isn't making headlines is because the results are ficticious.

Medicare's Chief Actuary drafted an 18 page report which shows how the trustees report is wildly misleading (not necessarily the trustees' fault - they have to make an analysis based on current law, not what is likely to happen).

For example, the trustees assume that Medicare will pay lower reimbursements than Medicaid before the decade is out, and only 1/3 of private sector reimbursement at the end of the 75 year forecast period. If those reimbursement cuts actually come to pass, Medicare has an even better surplus than the trustees assume because no one will be taking Medicare patients well before 2085 rolls around, and the outlays will be zero.

Medicare has only been made solvent in fantasy land. The Chief Actuary sees Medicare to be only in slightly worse shape than reported in 2009, but keep in mind that difference (and probably more than just the difference) has already been spoken for by PPACA outlays.

http://www.cms.gov/ReportsTrustFunds/downloads/2010TRAlternativeScenario.pdf

So no, it's not that evil conservatives dislike Medicare 'because it works'. They dislike it becaues it will bankrupt the nation, no matter what fantasy projections the trustees are forced to use in their annual report.

Posted by: justin84 | September 4, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

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