Today, two news reports should — but won’t — give proponents of the health care nationalization plan serious pause about what they are intent on doing.
First, an investigative report by AP shows that “an early progress report on President Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan overstates by thousands the number of jobs created or saved through the stimulus program.” When President Obama signed the bill into law in February he insisted the Administration “will need to do everything in the short term to get our economy moving again.” The White House adamantly claimed that the package would create or save 3.5 million jobs.
In February, the national unemployment rate was 8.1%. In September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the unemployment rate at 9.8%. That’s a monumental increase despite the $800 billion stimulus. One can reasonably speculate that unemployment may have been higher without the stimulus package, but that is mere speculation. The unemployment data demonstrates that the stimulus package has not met expectations. That failure is further underscored by the AP’s report. Among the organization’s findings:
*The AP review found some counts were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs;
*some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two and sometimes more than four times;
*and other jobs were credited to stimulus spending when none was produced.
Second, the Wall Street Journal reports on the outright fraud in the first-time homebuyer tax credit program. The Journal pointed out:
“The Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration, J. Russell George, recently told Congress that at least 19,000 filers hadn’t purchased a home when they claimed the credit. For another 74,000 filers, claiming a total of $500 million in credits, evidence suggests that they weren’t first-time buyers.” Even IRS employees have participated in the taxpayer scam.
According to the Journal, “‘Mr. George said his staff has found at least 53 cases of IRS employees filing “illegal or inappropriate’ claims for the credit. ‘In all honesty this is an interim report. I expect that the number would be much larger than that number,’ he said.”
The first stimulus package hasn’t delivered. The homebuyer tax credit fueled even more taxpayer fraud (following recent reports of tens of billions in fraud in the Medicare program). Yet, earlier today, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced her version of the misleadingly named “public option” health care plan. Grinning and proud, Speaker Pelosi said Congress is “on the cusp of delivering on the promise of making affordable, quality health insurance available to every American.”
The conduct of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should have jarred any sentient politician into recoiling from direct involvement in yet another marketplace. It hasn’t. The failure of the stimulus package was another opportunity. It didn’t. Massive fraud in Medicare and the homebuyer tax credit program still other chances. At what point does experience and reality trump ideology and good intentions?