Latest Biden gaffe illuminates spending absurdity
Personally, I like Joe Biden’s verbal gaffes. They tend to throw public policy problems into stark relief. Today, he’s reported to have uttered the following at an AARP town hall meeting on health care spending:
“Well, people when I say that look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’” Biden said. “The answer is yes, I’m telling you.”
Contrast with the testimony of Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf in front of the Senate Budget Committee today:
“In the [health care] legislation that has been reported, we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount….on the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs.”
I understand the desire to achieve universal health care, especially when it comes to basic coverage. Surely better preventive care and administrative efficiencies can achieve cost savings. But, as Elmendorf argues, what’s being proposed won’t reduce costs.
In the meantime, this week total public debt outstanding increased $65 billion to $11.58 trillion.
(Click chart to enlarge in new window)