Surprise surprise: I'm not happy that the Senate health bill passed the House and is about to be signed into law. Friends and family have tried to couch it in terms that "well, it's better than nothing." No, in fact, it's not.
Let's say you have a chronic disease that can be fatal if left untreated. Let's call it, "Debtis Entitlementitis." You have another problem we'll call "Healthus Carus" that you need to solve. If you take the wrong medication for Healthus Carus, it can make you forget about your Debtis Entitlementitis in the short term, but it will actually cripple you in 5-10 years by exacerbating every problem you have including Healthus Carus, Oldus Takecareofus, Roadus Paveus, Poorus Cantaffordus, Pleasa Dontkillus, etc.
This is what Congress just did. Sure, a lot of people can feel better--but the underlying condition of debt has been made worse and, consequently, Congress and Obama made the problem more intractable than it already was.
It's not conjecture and it's not partisan: it's math. We have committed ourselves to spending much more money that we have. Indeed, according to GAO estimates in the 2008 Financial Report of the United States, our entitlement spending in the infinite horizon--that is, everything we've promised to pay so far--is $101.8 trillion. Yes, that's trillion. (cf. Table 6, pdf page 143; report page 137)
That's seven times the economic output of the entire United States in a given year. No, not our tax revenue--our entire economic output. To call this situation "unsustainable" is to understate the case to tragicomic levels.
Blame Bush. Blame FDR. Blame whomever you like--but the fact of the matter is our entitlement spending is going to bankrupt us. We can either address it like adults and treat the problem, or we can act like children and foolishly pretend the problem will go away by itself without ever having to face the consequences.