Four Dollar Monte
A man on a street corner moves the cards back and forth. This is easy, right? Just keep your eye on the cards and don't blink.
But this is no small-time street corner hustle. It is a "big-time" con game being played by George W. Bush, and more recently by Rod Grams. In this version, the candidate pulls out four dollar bills and claims that two stand for the Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid surpluses and they should be put in a lockbox. One dollar repesents the tax cut and the remaining dollar is for the new programs proposed and debt reduction.
So what's the con? Well, the Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid surpluses are $2.2 trillion or $2.20 out of the four bills. The tax cut actually costs $1.6 trillion or $1.60. So far, we are at $3.80 and we haven't tried to cover prescription drug costs, improve education, spend more on military readiness, or even establish an energy policy. The remaining twenty cents (representing $200 billion) isn't a drop in the bucket for meeting those needs.
Worse, those numbers don't account for the transition costs incurred by moving Social Security money into private accounts. That's a whole 'nuther dollar in the game of monte being played on the stump. So where does that shortfall get made up? Over a trillion dollars in new debt.
It's one thing when a street hustler invites passerby to play a simple game of "chance." When Bush and Grams try to sell their budget plans with a phony game with missing money, it's nothing more than a transparent con.