A while back I wrote that the State of Arizona was continuing to maintain, year in and year out, an expensive process demanding overtime and extra work just to avoid "giving back" a one-time budget gain they took several years ago. It appears the feds are playing the same game:
The bureaucratic brainstorm was straightforward "”
simple-minded is, perhaps, a more appropriate description "” don't pay
doctors, hospitals and their army of auxiliaries tending to indisposed
old folks and the afflicted disabled for their labors in the last nine
days of the current fiscal year. Instead, send them a check for what
you owe them, sometime after the first of October, the start of the
government's fiscal '07. In essence, those doctors, hospitals et al.
are making an involuntary loan of nine days' pay without interest.
That way, point out the gleeful budgeteers and Medicare pooh-bahs,
all of whom presumably are glowing with health, Uncle Sam's Medicare
tab this fading fiscal year will be $5.2 billion less than it otherwise
would have been. Or at least would seem to be $5.2 billion less "” in
Washington, as we all know, appearance and reality are not invariably
the same phenomena.
My only objection to Drum's post is his implication that this is a uniquely Bush-White-House maneuver. I get tired of partisans on both sides of the aisle that try to blame crap like this on the other party. This kind of thing is inherent in politics and government. The Arizona example, which is entirely parallel and perhaps even worse given the year-after-year costs, was an invention of a Democratic governor.