Posts Tagged ‘accounting’

Obama Takeover Of Student Loans Means 2,500 Layoffs For Sallie Mae

April 1, 2010

What does ObamaCare mean?  It means a 29% slash in the workforce for student loan service provider Sallie Mae.  Remember in this insane world of Democrat rule that the government takeover of student loans was part of ObamaCare, whereas reimbursing doctors for Medicare was not.

Updated March 31, 2010
Sallie Mae Blames 2,500 Layoffs on Obama’s Student Loan Overhaul
By Kelly Chernenkoff

Powerhouse student loan provider Sallie Mae says layoffs are imminent as a result of President Obama’s new student loan overhaul.

“This legislation will force Sallie Mae to reduce our 8,600-person workforce by 2,500,” Conwey Casillas, Vice President of Sallie Mae Public Affairs, said in a statement to Fox News.

Obama was at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria on Tuesday to sign the student loan changes into law. The new bill includes a provision for the government to begin directly lending to students, bypassing financial institutions like Sallie May that traditionally have provided the loans. Obama said that such institutions have soaked up billions in subsidies.

“Now, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that the big banks and financial institutions hired a army of lobbyists to protect the status quo,” Obama said. “In fact, Sallie Mae, America’s biggest student lender, spent more than $3 million on lobbying last year alone.”

Indeed, Sallie Mae has been outspoken in its opposition to the plan, calling it a “government takeover” just last month.

“The student loan provisions buried in the health care legislation intentionally eliminate valuable default prevention services and private sector jobs at a time when our country can least afford to lose them,” Casillas told Fox News.

Sallie Mae was trying to garner support for an alternative, which the company said was roundly rejected.

“We are profoundly disappointed that a reform plan that would have achieved more savings for students was ignored and now thousands of student loan experts will unnecessarily lose their jobs,” Casillas said.

But Obama says he’s merely looking out for those in need.

“I didn’t stand with the banks and the financial industries in this fight. That’s not why I came to Washington. And neither did any of the members of Congress who are here today,” he said. “We stood with you. We stood with America’s students. And together, we finally won that battle.”

Obama said the move will save billions, enabling his administration to use the money to improve the quality and affordability of higher education.

Sallie Mae hasn’t said exactly when jobs will start getting slashed, but the cuts “will start soon,” Casillas said.

Obama did a good job demonizing the student loan service providers (after all, demonizing is pretty much the only thing he does well), but the reality is as usual quite different than the Obama demagoguery:

From the Wall Street Journal in an article entitled, “The Quietest Trillion:
Congratulations. You’re about to own $100 billion a year in student loans
“:

It’s not a popular idea on campus. Loans directly from the feds have been available for decades, but the government’s poor customer service has resulted in most borrowers choosing private lenders. This week three dozen college administrators, representing schools from Notre Dame to Nevada-Reno, signed a letter urging a longer transition period to this “public option.” The fear is that the bureaucrats will not be able to pull off a takeover in just eight months. “Any delay in getting funds to schools on behalf of students will result in our needing to find resources at a time when credit is difficult to obtain,” warns the letter.

Tough luck for the Irish. Democrats have already greased this fall’s budget reconciliation to pass all of this on a mere majority vote. They are helped by rigged government accounting that disguises the cost of making below-market loans to unemployed 18-year-olds. Democrats have claimed their plan “saves” $87 billion in mandatory spending by cutting out the private middlemen, and the Congressional Budget Office has dutifully “scored” $87 billion in mandatory “savings” (or a net of $80 billion after subtracting administrative costs).

But in a remarkable letter to Senator Judd Gregg, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf admits that government accounting is bogus. He writes that the statutory methodology “does not include the cost to the government stemming from the risk that the cash flows may be less than the amount projected (that is, that defaults could be higher than projected).” Mr. Elmendorf further notes that the government’s accounting system is specifically skewed to make direct loans from the government appear to cost much less than guaranteed loans made by private lenders. He says the real “savings” are only $47 billion, even though, in a deception that would be criminal fraud if it weren’t mandated by Congress, the official estimate remains at $80 billion.

Even the unofficial number is dubious. The government has been claiming lower default rates than private lenders, but most government loans have been to students at four-year colleges. The private lenders have serviced a higher percentage of students at community and two-year colleges, where defaults are more common regardless of lender.

If the feds are now making and owning all such loans, expect default rates to soar. When the government hires contractors to collect on its loans, it pays them for simply calling the borrower, regardless of the result. Private lenders, on the other hand, make money from a performing loan and have a greater incentive to do careful underwriting and aggressive collection.

The government will nonetheless start spending these illusory “savings” immediately, and this spending is certain to top official estimates. The Obama plan also adds a CBO-estimated $46 billion in new spending over 10 years to enlarge Pell grants. Ominously for the federal fisc, starting in 2011 these grants will automatically rise each year by the consumer price index plus 1%. Not that students will actually benefit from this subsidy explosion. Colleges have reliably raised prices to capture every federal dollar earmaked for education financing.

Rep. John Kline (R., Minn.) decided the cost estimate for Pell grants was too low, so he asked CBO to take a second look. Along comes another enlightening letter from Mr. Elmendorf. This week he wrote that Mr. Kline is correct—it looks like they will cost another $11 billion. Unfortunately, the earlier estimate must remain the official score under budgeting rules, even though the official scorekeeper says it is wrong.

You start to see why the student loan takeover was part of ObamaCare, but the doctor fix was not: pure deceitful political cynicism of the very worst kind.  ObamaCare forced the CBO to assume the deception that doctor’s Medicare reimbursements would be slashed by 21% so they could deceitfully claim that “saving” for ObamaCare.  Even though Democrats will add those reimbursements back in another bill that will cost a rock bottom minimum of $200 billion.  Meanwhile, they decide that student loans are very much a part of ObamaCare so that they could raid the profits – after, of course, dramatically misrepresenting what those profits actually were.

In one fell swoop, ObamaCare destroys jobs, undermines the student loan system, AND ruins our health care system.

Nice trifecta.  If you’re an enemy of America.

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Democrats ‘Fix’ ObamaCare Numbers By Leaving Out TRILLIONS In Additional Spending

March 20, 2010

This is Bernie Madoff Accounting. And the same fate that befell Madoff’s investors will one day befall the American people. The Democrats only count the costs they want to count, and simply pretend the rest don’t exist, or assure us that they somehow shouldn’t be counted.  Positive numbers from unrealistic expectations show up on one side of the ledger, while negative numbers representing massive government and personal spending are ignored.

This article will demonstrate the REAL cost of ObamaCare.  And what we will find is that the monster it creates will sneeze chunks bigger than the $940 billion that the CBO score pitches.

It’s not like the CBO isn’t aware that it is being played like a fiddle.  They can only analyze legislation as it is presented – and this legislation is being presented by partisan Democrat ideologues.  The CBO has pointed out that the Democrats have a pattern of double-counting the same dollars.  But they can’t do anything about it: if the Democrats tell them to double-count, they dutifully double-count.  Paul Ryan points out that Medicare cuts are double counted, Social Security taxes get double counted, increased CLASS Act premiums get double counted, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars.  Other sources of revenue – such as the not-to-be-implemented “Cadillac Tax” which would itself count for 25% of deficit reduction in the CBO score – will likely NEVER see the light of day. The CBO numbers become a shell game.

You can understand why the Democrats would want to run away from details of the CBO score. If the facts get in the way of their theory, so much the worse for the facts.

Then there’s the likelihood that ObamaCare will destroy as many as 700,000 jobs.  What’s THAT going to cost America?  Would THAT be “deficit neutral”?  And how much will it cost Americans as increased government taxes on private health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device and supply companies, pass the burden of those taxes onto us? Will THAT be “deficit neutral” for American families?

But let’s stay out of the budgetary weeds, and remain on what is clear and straightforward.

Let us first begin with the “Doctor fix,” which is a $208 billion spending measure to restore the reimbursement rates for doctors who treat Medicare patients.  If it isn’t passed, the current rate – which already leaves hospitals and many doctors losing money to treat Medicare patients – would be slashed by an additional 21 percent.  It simply has to be fixed, or doctors and hospitals will quit treating Medicare patients.

But if the Democrats strip that part out of their health care bill, they can claim that 21 percent reduction in doctors’ reimbursements as “savings.”  Even if they intend to fix the reimbursement rate, such that those “saving” never materialize.  And that little bit of fiscal circular reasoning allows them to claim that their bill is “deficit neutral.”

Medicare fix would push health care into the red
Rollback of Medicare cuts to doctors, if added to health care bill, push it into the red
On Friday March 19, 2010, 6:33 pm EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional budget scorekeepers say a Medicare fix that Democrats included in earlier versions of their health care bill would push it into the red.

The Congressional Budget Office said Friday that rolling back a programmed cut in Medicare fees to doctors would cost $208 billion over 10 years. If added back to the health care overhaul bill, it would wipe out all the deficit reduction, leaving the legislation $59 billion in the red.

The so-called doc fix was part of the original House bill. Because of its high cost, Democrats decided to pursue it separately. Republicans say the cost should not be ignored. Congress has usually waived the cuts to doctors year by year.

What this basically means is that $940 billion number in the CBO report that the Democrats are cheering over is entirely subjective.  It would have been a lot higher if they had included the stuff they should have included.  And they didn’t include these things simply because it would have made their number look bad.  It’s Alice in Wonderland accounting.

So let’s look at the truth: Democrats are claiming that their “$940 billion bill” would reduce the ten-year deficit by $138 billion.  But in reality, the doctor fix which SHOULD be in the bill would INCREASE THE DEFICIT by $59 billion.  That’s a swing of 197 billion dollars, which is one hell of a swing indeed.

But that certainly isn’t the only budget shenanigan that Democrats have used to monkey the numbers to appear to look like what they want:

For a variety of reasons, this tally doesn’t remotely reflect the bill’s real ten-year costs.  First, it includes 2010 as the initial year.  As most people are well aware, 2010 has now been underway for some time.  Therefore, the CBO would normally count 2011 as the first year of its analysis, just as it counted 2010 as the first year when analyzing the initial House health bill in the middle of 2009.  But under strict instructions from Democratic leaders, and over strong objections from Republicans, the CBO dutifully scored 2010 as the first year of the latest version of Obamacare.  If the clock were started in 2011, the first full year that the bill could possibly be in effect, the CBO says that the bill’s ten-year costs would be $1.2 trillion.

This $260 billion ($1.2 trillion minus $940 billion) deficit created by backdating the bill to 2010 instead of starting in 2011 when they should (until Democrats instructed them to do differently) has nothing to do with the deficit created by the doctor fix.  So they compound: $260 billion plus $197 billion equals $457 billion.

So we’re talking about a real and obvious deficit of nearly half a trillion dollars.  But that’s nowhere near as bad as it will really be.

You see, even starting the CBO ten-year cycle in 2011 is nothing more than a gimmick.  That’s because the plan begins taxing in 2011, but benefits (actual spending outlays) don’t begin to be funded until 2014.  The Democrats tax for ten years, but only spend for six.  Why did they do that?  Because that is the only way they can get the illusion of a “deficit neutral” figure.  As Heritage points out:

[S]ome scrupulous tactics were used to calculate the 10-year cost projections. The key provisions in the health care bill don’t go into effect until 2014. Meanwhile Medicare cuts and tax increases would go into effect immediately. So the money raised through taxes and spending cuts in the first four years of the 10-year projection would offset the expenditures in the subsequent six years. Consequently, when the true ten year window (2014-2023) is examined, and the costs of the “Doc Fix” are taken into account, the cost rises to $2.3 trillion.

This – and the shenanigans Democrats employ with the CLASS Act – is why Heritage rightly calculates the REAL cost of ObamaCare as likely far higher than $2.5 TRILLION.

These are obvious and transparent gimmicks.  But the mainstream media is largely simply ignoring it.  They are liberal in their ideology and “gatekeepers” in their philosophy of journalism.  The result is that they don’t tell you anything that they don’t want you to know.

But even that – as utterly terrible as it is – is STILL not anywhere close to the REAL cost of this disastrous health care bill.  Consider the most sobering Democrat omission of all.  From Cato:

Another gimmick pushes much of the legislation’s costs off the federal budget and onto the private sector by requiring individuals and employers to purchase health insurance.  When the bills force somebody to pay $10,000 to the government, the Congressional Budget Office treats that as a tax.  When the government then hands that $10,000 to private insurers, the CBO counts that as government spending.  But when the bills achieve the exact same outcome by forcing somebody to pay $10,000 directly to a private insurance company, it appears nowhere in the official CBO cost estimates — neither as federal revenues nor federal spending.  That’s a sharp departure from how the CBO treated similar mandates in the Clinton health plan.  And it hides maybe 60 percent of the legislation’s total costs.  When I correct for that gimmick, it brings total costs to roughly $2.5 trillion (i.e., $1 trillion/0.4).

Here’s where things get really ugly.  TPMDC’s Brian Beutler calls “the” $2.5-trillion cost estimate a “doozy” of a “hysterical Republican whopper.”  Not only is he incorrect, he doesn’t seem to realize that Gregg and I are correcting for different budget gimmicks; it’s just a coincidence that we happened to reach the same number.

When we correct for both gimmicks, counting both on- and off-budget costs over the first 10 years of implementation, the total cost of ObamaCare reaches — I’m so sorry about this — $6.25 trillion.  That’s not a precise estimate.  It’s just far closer to the truth than President Obama and congressional Democrats want the debate to be.

For the record, it was this subsidizing of the private health insurance companies that Dennis Kucinich was talking about before he backstabbed his own principles and voted for the bill anyway.

In 1994, the universal health care plan proposed by President Clinton included a mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance. The Congressional Budget Office studied the issue and concluded that the United States had never in all its history mandated that individuals purchase any good or service.  The CBO stated:

A mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance would be an unprecedented form of federal action. The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States. An individual mandate would have two features that, in combination, would make it unique. First, it would impose a duty on individuals as members of society. Second, it would require people to purchase a specific service that would be heavily regulated by the federal government.”

But it is going to start doing so now, under Obama and the Democrats in Congress.  They could care less about the Constitution, or about the consequences of radically expanding already massive government bureaucracies.

Obama is going to force you to purchase insurance, but the CBO won’t count the cost of one penny of that spending, now or ever.  If you send money to the government that the government requires you to send them, that’s a tax.  If the government spends money, that counts as spending.  But if the government forces you to send money to a private health insurance company, that isn’t counted.  It amounts to a tax that isn’t “deemed” (there’s a good word these days) a tax.

Thus the REAL ten-year cost of ObamaCare won’t be $940 billion.  It won’t even be $2.5 trillion.  It will be SIX TRILLION DOLLARS.  And counting, and counting, and counting, and counting.