When reading the original House health care bill, it struck me that the new taxes on employers and such began immediately, but benefits were phased in between 2012 and 2017. Apparently, this same thing is being done in the Baucus Bill, and I have learned that this is specifically aimed at gaming the CBO numbers. Since journalism majors were such in large part because they didn't want to do any math, this ploy will likely work with the media, who will print the CBO findings but will be uninterested or incapable of deconstructing the numbers games. From the Gormogons via TJIC:
What the CBO does not highlight, however, is that Sen. Baucus cooked the books. Under the Baucus plan, revenue enhancement (taxes) goes into effect immediately. Coverage does not kick in for two and one-half years. So, to make the numbers work, Sen. Baucus has to collect ten years of revenue to cover seven and one-half years of cost.
'Puter thought the whole thing smelled a little fishy, so he gave Sleestak and abacus, a quill and some parchment and set him on the CBO math. Using the above numbers, Sleestak calculates that projected revenues will generate $910 billion over 10 years. Outflows will be $829 billion over 7.5 years. Based on Sleestak's math, that's an average yearly inflow of $91 billion and an average yearly outflow of $110.5 billion, or a average annual deficit of $19.5 billion each year the benefits are actually paid.
TJIC rightly asks how this kind of game is any different from the one played by Madoff. The only difference is that folks had the right to say "no" to Madoff whereas we will not have this ability with Congress.