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Willisms

« Quotational Therapy: Part 126 -- Campaign Bloggers. | WILLisms.com | Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 91 »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 413 -- Budget Cuts!

Big Mean Bush Hates Health Care-

Go read some of the stories on President Bush's proposed FY 2008 budget:

budgetcutsyeeearrrrgh.gif

"Budget cuts for health care" seems to be a big theme in the news stories. For example, from Bloomberg:

About one penny of every dollar Bush proposes to spend on the federal government in fiscal 2008 would go to Homeland Security. The president's total spending proposal is a record $2.9 trillion, a sum that includes cuts in health-care funding and increases in military spending.

Why is Bush spending so little to protect the homeland? Yeeaarrrrgh!

Why is Bush spending a record amount overall? YEEEEEAAAAARRRGH!

Why is Bush cutting health care funding? YYYYYEEAAARRRRRRRGGGGHHHHH!

I really hate the media. They do such a disservice to America.

Let's open up the actual budget (.pdf) and look specifically at the ubiquitous "health care cuts" claim, over the past decade (FY1999-FY2008).

Page 231...

"Medical Care" (in millions of dollars)
1999: 343,231
2000: 362,655
2001: 400,616
2002: 437,180
2003: 478,465
2004: 515,431
2005: 562,505
2006: 605,995
2007: 674,230
2008: 713,581 (107.9% higher than 1999; 63.2% higher than 2002)

Or page 57...

"Health" (in millions of dollars)
1999: 141,074
2000: 154,533
2001: 172,270
2002: 196,544
2003: 219,576
2004: 230,134
2005: 250,614
2006: 252,780
2007: 268,543
2008: 280,620 (98.9% higher than 1999; 42.8% higher than 2002)

Cuts?


Medicare, meanwhile, is a separate line entirely (in billions of dollars).

Page 152...

1999: 192.1
2000: 194.1
2001: 209.4
2002: 220.0
2003: 233.2
2004: 246.1
2005: 266.5
2006: 283.5
2007: 314.1
2008: 321.9 (67.6% higher than 1999; 46.3% higher than 2002)

Or, "Mandatory Programs" in Table 8.5 on page 141... (in millions of dollars)

1999-
Medicaid: 108,042
Total Health: 114,129
Medicare: 187,694

2000-
Medicaid: 117,921
Total Health: 124,521
Medicare: 194,115

2001-
Medicaid: 129,374
Total Health: 139,112
Medicare: 214,061

2002-
Medicaid: 147,512
Total Health: 157,142
Medicare: 227,699

2003-
Medicaid: 160,693
Total Health: 175,343
Medicare: 245,709

2004-
Medicaid: 176,231
Total Health: 192,402
Medicare: 264,890

2005-
Medicaid: 181,720
Total Health: 200,092
Medicare: 294,344

2006-
Medicaid: 180,625
Total Health: 201,382
Medicare: 324,879

2007-
Medicaid: 191,876
Total Health: 214,901
Medicare: 267,574

2008-
Medicaid: 201,944 (86.9% higher than 1999; 36.9% higher than 2002)
Total Health: 226,751 (98.7% higher than 1999; 44.3% higher than 2002)
Medicare: 386,493 (105.9% higher than 1999; 69.7% higher than 2002)


Cuts?

Okay, well, how about federal health care spending as a percentage of total federal spending.

Page 322...

1999: 21.5%
2000: 21.7%
2001: 23.0%
2002: 23.5%
2003: 24.2%
2004: 24.8%
2005: 24.8%
2006: 24.5%
2007: 25.5%
2008: 25.8%

Incidentally, those percentages were 2.1% in 1962, 7.1% in 1970, 11.1% in 1980, and 14.4% in 1990.

Or, how about government health care spending as a percentage of America's GDP.

Still page 322...

1999: 4.0%
2000: 4.0%
2001: 4.3%
2002: 4.6%
2003: 4.8%
2004: 4.9%
2005: 5.0%
2006: 5.0%
2007: 5.2%
2008: 5.1%

Gasp! One tenth of a percentage point of our economy less than in the 2007 budget! It's a cut! Yeeeaaaaarrrrrgh!

Only a Marxist could look at all of these numbers, see the numbers rising dramatically, but still call it a "cut." For a Marxist, though, spending a little smaller proportion of GDP on something from one year to the next is a cut. That's how they think. The government is the economy. The economy is the government. That's why there's so much talk in the media about lower taxes "costing" such and such amount.

That's socialist thinking. And it dominates our media today.

Incidentally, government health care spending as a percentage of GDP was 0.4% in 1962, 1.4% in 1970, 2.4% in 1980, and 3.1% in 1990. Even as our economy grows and booms, health care spending by the government now accounts for 1 out of every 20 dollars generated by the American economy. In the big picture, government health care spending is accelerating far more rapidly than the economy.

Also worth noting is that much of this health care spending is on auto-pilot. So President Bush or any future President can "cut" a little here or there from the discretionary portion of the budget, but the mandatory government health care spending trajectory is still decidedly upward.

Let's look at the changes in the Federal Budget from 1962 to 2008 (.pdf):

-1962-
1962budgetbreakdown.gif


VERSUS


-2008-

2008budgetbreakdown.gif

Of course, net interest is down from a high of 15.4% in 1996; mandatory spending is down from a high of 55% in 2002; defense discretionary spending is up from a low of 16.2% in 1999; and non-defense discretionary spending is down from a high of 24.9% in 1978, and up from a low of 16.1% in 1987.

Furthermore, looking at the budget numbers for health care cited above, out to 2012, it's a continual climb. As a percentage of total outlays, health care will climb to 28.4% in 2012 (from 25.8% in 2008). As a percentage of the economy, health care will climb to 5.3% in 2011, then fall to 5.2% in 2012 (from 5.1% in 2008). In dollar terms, "Medical Care" will climb to 905,272 million in 2012 (26.9% higher than the 713,581 million in 2008).

Also, does this...

2008-
Medicaid: 201,944
Total Health: 226,751
Medicare: 386,493

2012-
Medicaid: 270,223 (33.8% higher than 2008)
Total Health: 300,730 (32.6% higher than 2008)
Medicare: 481,620 (24.6% higher than 2008)

... look like a cut? Do any of these numbers look like cuts? Even with inflation?

No.

There are dozens of ways to look at the numbers, but every single reasonable way indicates that there are no health care cuts in the budget.

One would think it would be particularly difficult for folks in the establishment media to lie on the budget, since we're dealing with actual numbers. But lie they continue to do.


-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Taxes On Big Oil Are Too High.

Posted by Will Franklin · 6 February 2007 04:03 PM

Comments

Senator Edwards would proll'y tell you different, but yes, "cuts" do mean not having it totally socialized. Make no mistake about that.

Great post Will.

Posted by: snowballs at February 6, 2007 11:42 PM

But people still get sick. Therefore Bush must be doing something wrong.

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot at February 7, 2007 01:42 AM

We all know that "cuts" to the media and Democrats (redundancy alert) mean "less money than we want."

Posted by: Hoodlumman at February 7, 2007 08:06 AM

Look, I agree with you, but i think that if you're going to spread these stats around, you should put the numbers into "real" dollars, not nominal dollars. Or at least say that you did...

Because we could spend tons more and buy a lot less for our money (because of inflation and other factors), and effectively cut spending that way.

It's the same reason to oppose the minimum wage hikes: sure, every poor person with a job will make more money. However, everything they buy will also cost more because the companies that make and sell those things will also have higher costs so that their minimum wage employees can be paid more too.

I repeat, you have a valid point, you should just use better stats.

Posted by: ben at February 7, 2007 08:33 AM

I figured someone would gripe about that, but it's still annoying.

That's why I included a link to an inflation calculator.

Also, it ought to be pretty much common sense that inflation has not been 100% (or even 60%) over the past several years. And it won't be 30% over the next couple/few years.

Most people intuitively "get" that.

Even "health care inflation" has not been that high, and it won't be that high going forward.

Posted by: Will Franklin at February 7, 2007 11:38 AM

Another canard about healthcare is the inaccurate numbers of uninsured being bandied around. Mark Levin makes the point briefly here.

I'm glad that your reinforced your point about inflation, Will. Too often commenters respond with "yes, buts" without carefully reading the thread.

Posted by: onlineanalyst at February 7, 2007 08:00 PM

I agree with you, intreasting stats.

Posted by: gozino at February 8, 2007 11:12 PM