Only in the hallowed halls of Congress could the notion of spending vastly higher amounts of money convince so many that the net result will be a reduction in spending. But such is the conceit with the new health care bill being hammered out these days.
The new legislation to expand health care insurance will reportedly cost $849 billion. But this massive increase in government spending will, we’re told by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, reduce the federal budget deficit by $130 billion.
If $849 billion will get us $130 billion in deficit reduction, will $1.698 trillion bring us a $260 billion in red ink? Have we, in other words, stumbled upon a budgetary fountain of youth? Ah, if it were only that easy. But attempts at spending our way to prosperity has a long and discouraging record. We can debate the social merits of expanding health care coverage by way of colossal increases in public expenditures, but promoting it as a deficit reduction measure as well strikes us as, well, unhealthy. Progress, or apparent attempts at such, cost money. There’s just no way to turn that mule into a horse.
Meantime, the last time we check, two plus two still don’t equal 5, or 3. In most cities, at least.