Obama’s Mediagate

The cost-masking of Obamacare was a scandal. Putting forward $900 billion as a 10-year cost estimate was an out-and-out lie. It was worse than a lie. It was a scam. And the mainstream media, which knew full well what was being done to the nation, were too busy being impressed by the gamesmanship to remember it’s their job to report the truth.

The scandal is not that the Senate Budget Committee (Republican side, to be sure) now estimates the 10-year cost of Obamacare at $2.6 trillion — vastly more than the president predicted. Everyone who pays the slightest bit of attention knows the government cannot estimate the long-term costs of its promises.

The real scandal is the media knew back in 2009 and 2010 that President Obama’s projection of $900 billion in 10-year costs was fraudulent. How did they know? They knew because Obama didn’t even try to hide the fact he was counting six years’ worth of spending and 10 years’ worth of revenues. They knew when the Congressional Budget Office announced its “score” showing that Obamacare would reduce the deficit by $89 billion over 10 years that the numbers used to generate such a result were dishonest.

They knew that with each passing year, the 10-year projected cost would rise dramatically because the second one would include seven years of implementation, the third would include eight years, and so on.

So here we are, two years after passing and looking ahead to a 10-year period beginning with the fiscal year that starts next year, and boy howdy! That $900 billion sure did grow.

That begs the question: Why didn’t the media scream in 2009: “You can’t count six years of spending and 10 years of revenue! That’s a complete lie!”

The media are not what they used to be. These days, when a politician they like pulls an effective swindle, the media swoon, “Clever!” and they cover the story with the focus on how well the politician played the game. Play it well, and the media will be duly impressed. This is how a politician earns respect.

It’s tiring to hear the self-congratulations we hear to this day from Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein over their breaking of the Watergate scandal, but you can’t take their accomplishment away from them. It was a real scandal, they took it seriously and reported the story brilliantly. What was done, the lies that were told, the real impact on the nation – that was what mattered.

The cost-masking of Obamacare was also a scandal. Putting forward $900 billion as a 10-year cost estimate was an out-and-out lie. It was worse than a lie. It was a scam. They shoved a much greater cost down the throats of the American people, knowing full well that they were doing it. And the mainstream media, which also knew full well what was being done to the nation, were too busy being impressed by the gamesmanship to remember it’s their job to report the truth.

And what of the “non-partisan” CBO, which generated the report that dressed up this swindle as if it was a gift? Understandably, the CBO has to follow politically manipulated rules when members of Congress give it numbers to “score,” but there’s a difference between non-partisan and truly independent. A non-partisan, perhaps, will do the bidding of whichever party is asking. A truly independent public servant would resign rather than participate in the commission of such a fraud against the public, or at the very least would make a public statement that the report issued in no way reflected reality.

The best you can say is that the public was never fooled by any of this. Obamacare was hated when it was passed. It was hated when the Supreme Court bizarrely upheld it. It is hated now. It will be hated next year when a new president and Congress hopefully repeal it.

Many of the Democrats who voted for this travesty paid with their jobs in 2010. More will pay that same price this year.

It’s a shame that willing media conspirators can’t be forced by the public to pay the same price, although you can look at the collapse of the dinosaur media’s business model as by and large the same thing. A free press is essential to the nation. A bunch of fawning propagandists, we can do without.

(Dan Calabrese is editor-in-chief of the Michigan-based syndicate North Star Writers Group, and the author of the Royal Oak Series of spiritual thrillers, which are available at www.dancalabresebooks.com. Originally posted on The Michigan View.)