Ezra Klein posts The $900 billion mistake, about how Barack Obama picked that number out of thin air in his September 2009 speech on health care, as to what health care reform should cost. That arbitrary number has flummoxed Democrats in coming up with a plan:
The number sprang from Obama’s September speech laying out his own plan on health-care reform. “Add it all up,” he said before a joint session of Congress, “and the plan I’m proposing will cost around $900 billion over 10 years.” The plan he proposed, however, did not mention the price tag, and the president did not include any specifics about how that price tag was reached….
It was, they hoped, something of a political sweet spot. It calmed some moderates by showing that the White House was willing to push back on the ambitions of more liberal members of Congress and pleased some liberals by showing that the White House wasn’t letting the chaos of August distract them from the need for an ambitious bill.
But once that number entered the process, it began guiding the process.
The problem isn’t the $900 billion number, it’s the President who threw it out there to find a political sweet spot.
And the Democrats who accepted that number as gospel because they thought they could sell it politically.
And Ezra Klein, who called this “Obama’s most effective policy speech by far.” (Heh)
But that political sweet spot turned out to be sour. The public doesn’t want to spend $900 billion on a massive government restructuring of our health care system. The public knows that whatever the projected number, the real number will be much, much higher. It always is with government programs.
The problem isn’t that Obama picked a number out of nowhere and left others to figure it out.
The problem is that on 11/04/2008 the nation picked Obama out of nowhere and now we all are left to figure it out.