Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Interesting Numbers Made More Interesting

There are 68 million people on Medicaid in this country.

Barack Obama has played golf 281 times since he became President.

$1.4 trillion is now owed in student loan debt in this country.

All of these are interesting numbers that I came across in my reading and research this week.

However, absolute numbers do not mean as much if they are not put in context. Human beings do much better at assessing numbers like these in comparison to something else. Typically that comparison item is something we are more familiar with. It is referred to in behavioral economics as an anchor number. It also makes a big difference in how we respond to numbers based on how those numbers are framed. We do much better in assessing differences than in looking at absolute values.

68 million Americans on Medicaid 
Let's look at the 68 million people on Medicaid. Is that a lot or a little?

What would you think if you knew that when Obamacare was enacted the Congressional Budget Office projected that there would be 34 million Americans on Medicaid in 2016?

In other words, there are twice as many people on Medicaid today as was projected when the law took effect in 2013. The CBO missed the number by 100%. It is also interesting to note that, by comparison, there are  55 million people receiving Medicare benefits in this country. Medicaid now has almost 25% more people receiving taxpayer-paid health care than Medicare.

The CBO also projected when the law took effect that 201 million would have private health insurance in 2016. Now that we are in 2016, the actual number is 177 million. To make matters worse, the CBO projected that there would be 186 million with private health insurance in 2016 if Obamacare did not become law.  By that measure, Obamacare has actually reduced those in private plans.

The only thing Obamacare has done is massively increase Medicaid coverage that is paid by taxpayers who have seen their own coverage reduced (through higher deductibles) while the costs of their health coverage has increased. Of course, they were told by Obama their premium costs would go down by $2,500 per family. Nothing has worked as we were told it would.

It goes to show what a total disaster Obamacare has been. The law has not been close to fulfilling any of its promises.

Barack Obama and Golf

The Washington Examiner reports that President Obama played his 281st round of golf as President this past weekend. In his seven years as President he has spent on average about one day of every week he has been President playing golf.

The number of rounds that Obama has played has increased in his second term as President. If you don't have to attend all those fundraisers it frees up a lot of time.

Since January 1, 2013 alone, President Obama has played 169 rounds of golf. There is actually a website (The Obama Golf Counter) that you can go to for the dates and locales of all of the President's rounds. It has currently not been updated since January 9, 2016 (it shows 270 rounds) so it is not as current as The Washington Examiner count.

What really puts Obama's golf rounds in context is the fact that Obama has played more golf since 2013 than the number of tournament rounds that Tiger Woods has played over the same period.

Granted, Tiger has been battling injuries, but Woods has only teed it up on 154 days over the last three and a quarter years compared to Obama's 169 days on the golf course.

I may question our President's love of our country from time to time. I will never question his love of golf.

$1.4 Trillion in Student Debt

Student debt in this country now totals $1.4 trillion. Ten years ago student loan debt was about $400 million.

Student loan debt is now larger than credit card debt ($883 billion) or auto loans ($750 billion).

However, what really puts this debt in context for me is the fact that student loan debt in the United States now exceeds the entire GDP of Russia ($1.25 trillion) and is just a little short of the GDP of Canada ($1.6 trillion).  In fact, total student loan debt in the United States now exceeds the GDP of all but 10 countries in the world!

And Bernie Sanders wants young people to believe that somehow he is going to make college tuition and debt free for them?

Interesting numbers made even more interesting when compared with other numbers you are more familiar with.

Context is everything when assessing anything.

No comments:

Post a Comment