In Washington, DC, it's sorta the "best of times" for Democrats: On Saturday, the "motion to proceed" on health care reform passed along party lines in the U.S. Senate. Despite varying poll numbers, various twists and turns and hours-to-come of debate and amendments, this decades-long legislative desire for the Left is closer to becoming the law of the land than at any point in history.
Indeed, it's already passed the House -- when it hadn't even come to a vote prior to this year. That means the momentum is with the Democrats. And, despite having perhaps the two worst chamber leaders ever in Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid (separately, or in combination), "national" health care is close to reality.
With the national debt now topping $12 trillion, the White House estimates that the government’s tab for servicing the debt will exceed $700 billion a year in 2019, up from $202 billion this year, even if annual budget deficits shrink drastically. Other forecasters say the figure could be much higher.
In concrete terms, an additional $500 billion a year in interest expense would total more than the combined federal budgets this year for education, energy, homeland security and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And, yes, that's just debt service. Before the costs of health care are even factored in. Even if one took Democrats statements for granted that the health-care package (whichever one) "pays for itself" (dream on), it still does nothing for the larger debt problem.
Fun times in the weeks -- and years and decades -- ahead.
Labels: debt, deficit-spending, health-care reform