Budget Fun and Games for Halloween

What is the funnest thing in America, after Halloween? You got it: the Federal Budget. And just in time for Halloween the Feds issued their report for the just completed FY 2019 with their Monthly Treasury Statement (MTS) for September 2019.

Since it was issued late on Friday the 25th you know that there was bad news that the Democrat Operatives with Bylines would want to hype up to the max. It was the Deficit: Up 26%! Soaring! And so on.

And yes! The deficit was a bloodcurdling $984 billion in FY 2019, just a tad under One Trillion Dollars. But did you know that this is $100 billion below the deficit estimate for 2019 in the FY 2020 budget issued last February?

Actually, I suspect a bit of skullduggery. Normally, the end-of-fiscal year MTS comes out around October 15, more or less two weeks after the end of the fiscal year. How come the delay, Donny? I suspect that the deficit actually came in above $1,000 billion and the White House demanded that it be adjusted downwards. Okay, but that can take a while. But I am shocked, shocked that a House committee has not yet been empaneled to investigate this impeachment-worthy Trump quid pro quo shenanigans.

You and I, we are serious people, and we know that the federal budget lives and dies by the two biggest government programs in human history, Social Security and Medicare. As serious citizens, genuinely concerned about our nation, let us look at the numbers, as provided by good old usgovernmentspending.com, whose traffic declined by 50 percent on April 2, 2019 when the woke women at Google Search decided, from their Safe Space, that my site was a dangerous den of toxic masculinity. As in numbers, Eeuw!

Let us start with Social Security. The total amount actually paid to chaps like me in FY 2019 was $1.044 trillion. But let’s break it down, and look at how today’s numbers compare with the budget. I have provided the estimates for FY 2019 in the FY 2015 budget, the FY2020 budget and the actuals reported in the MTS.

Spending in billions

FY 2019 Estimate
 in FY15 budget

FY 2019 Estimate
in FY20 budget

Actual FY 2019
From MTS

SoSec: OASI

$962.1 billion

$897.8 billion

$896.7 billion

SoSec: DI

$169.5 billion

$149.5 billion

$147.8 billion

Total SoSec

$1,131.1 billion

$1,047.0 billion

$1,044.2 billion

So Social Security is costing a teeny bit less, almost $100 billion, than estimated back in the heady days of 2014 when the FY 2015 budget was released. (The numbers don’t quite add up because there is an “Other” line item that I left out.)

What about Medicare? The Medicare outlay reported in the MTS for FY 2019 was $651 billion. But that number is known to deep-staters-in-the-know as “net” Medicare. It is Medicare spending “net” of “premiums and collections.” Now you might think that all revenue collected by Medicare should be reported on the revenue side of the budget, but you would be wrong. It is counted as negative spending and makes Medicare spending look $132 billion less than the $783 billion actually spent on health care in FY 2019 for senior citizens.

Here, in the blistering light of day, we will fear no evil and look at “gross” Medicare.

Spending in billions

FY 2019 Estimate
 in FY15 budget

FY 2019 Estimate
in FY20 budget

Actual FY 2019
From MTS

Medicare Part A (Hospital)

$253.9 billion

$213.7 billion 

$212.2 billion

Medicare Part B (SMI)

$233.0 billion

$214.6 billion

$216.8 billion

Medicare Part C (Advantage)

$207.1 billion

$266.4 billion

$266.4 billion

Medicare Part D (Drug)

$106.2 billion

$85.1 billion

$85.1 billion

Total Gross Medicare

$788.3 billion

$781.9 billion

$782.7 billion

What is the takeaway? It is that Medicare Part C, Medicare Advantage, is now bigger than expected, but regular Medicare is smaller than expected. I talked to an insurance agent a year or two back and he said that something like 75 percent of people signing up for Medicare opt for Medicare Advantage. This is not good for the Medicare Supplement guys at AARP. But really, despite the horrors of ObamaCare and escalating health care costs it is astonishing that the estimates in made back in 2014 are still pretty much on target. (Note: the Medicare Part C actuals won’t come out until the Medicare Trustees Report in April or May 2020.)

Really, if everything is so copacetic at Medicare, you wonder about the desire of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to bollix it all up. But I have an explanation: “There is nothing more annoying to a politician than the lack of a crisis.” Or, if you prefer: “There is nothing more annoying than a politician in search of a crisis.”

Oooh! I should put that on my Maxims page.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.

What is the funnest thing in America, after Halloween? You got it: the Federal Budget. And just in time for Halloween the Feds issued their report for the just completed FY 2019 with their Monthly Treasury Statement (MTS) for September 2019.

Since it was issued late on Friday the 25th you know that there was bad news that the Democrat Operatives with Bylines would want to hype up to the max. It was the Deficit: Up 26%! Soaring! And so on.

And yes! The deficit was a bloodcurdling $984 billion in FY 2019, just a tad under One Trillion Dollars. But did you know that this is $100 billion below the deficit estimate for 2019 in the FY 2020 budget issued last February?

Actually, I suspect a bit of skullduggery. Normally, the end-of-fiscal year MTS comes out around October 15, more or less two weeks after the end of the fiscal year. How come the delay, Donny? I suspect that the deficit actually came in above $1,000 billion and the White House demanded that it be adjusted downwards. Okay, but that can take a while. But I am shocked, shocked that a House committee has not yet been empaneled to investigate this impeachment-worthy Trump quid pro quo shenanigans.

You and I, we are serious people, and we know that the federal budget lives and dies by the two biggest government programs in human history, Social Security and Medicare. As serious citizens, genuinely concerned about our nation, let us look at the numbers, as provided by good old usgovernmentspending.com, whose traffic declined by 50 percent on April 2, 2019 when the woke women at Google Search decided, from their Safe Space, that my site was a dangerous den of toxic masculinity. As in numbers, Eeuw!

Let us start with Social Security. The total amount actually paid to chaps like me in FY 2019 was $1.044 trillion. But let’s break it down, and look at how today’s numbers compare with the budget. I have provided the estimates for FY 2019 in the FY 2015 budget, the FY2020 budget and the actuals reported in the MTS.

Spending in billions

FY 2019 Estimate
 in FY15 budget

FY 2019 Estimate
in FY20 budget

Actual FY 2019
From MTS

SoSec: OASI

$962.1 billion

$897.8 billion

$896.7 billion

SoSec: DI

$169.5 billion

$149.5 billion

$147.8 billion

Total SoSec

$1,131.1 billion

$1,047.0 billion

$1,044.2 billion

So Social Security is costing a teeny bit less, almost $100 billion, than estimated back in the heady days of 2014 when the FY 2015 budget was released. (The numbers don’t quite add up because there is an “Other” line item that I left out.)

What about Medicare? The Medicare outlay reported in the MTS for FY 2019 was $651 billion. But that number is known to deep-staters-in-the-know as “net” Medicare. It is Medicare spending “net” of “premiums and collections.” Now you might think that all revenue collected by Medicare should be reported on the revenue side of the budget, but you would be wrong. It is counted as negative spending and makes Medicare spending look $132 billion less than the $783 billion actually spent on health care in FY 2019 for senior citizens.

Here, in the blistering light of day, we will fear no evil and look at “gross” Medicare.

Spending in billions

FY 2019 Estimate
 in FY15 budget

FY 2019 Estimate
in FY20 budget

Actual FY 2019
From MTS

Medicare Part A (Hospital)

$253.9 billion

$213.7 billion 

$212.2 billion

Medicare Part B (SMI)

$233.0 billion

$214.6 billion

$216.8 billion

Medicare Part C (Advantage)

$207.1 billion

$266.4 billion

$266.4 billion

Medicare Part D (Drug)

$106.2 billion

$85.1 billion

$85.1 billion

Total Gross Medicare

$788.3 billion

$781.9 billion

$782.7 billion

What is the takeaway? It is that Medicare Part C, Medicare Advantage, is now bigger than expected, but regular Medicare is smaller than expected. I talked to an insurance agent a year or two back and he said that something like 75 percent of people signing up for Medicare opt for Medicare Advantage. This is not good for the Medicare Supplement guys at AARP. But really, despite the horrors of ObamaCare and escalating health care costs it is astonishing that the estimates in made back in 2014 are still pretty much on target. (Note: the Medicare Part C actuals won’t come out until the Medicare Trustees Report in April or May 2020.)

Really, if everything is so copacetic at Medicare, you wonder about the desire of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to bollix it all up. But I have an explanation: “There is nothing more annoying to a politician than the lack of a crisis.” Or, if you prefer: “There is nothing more annoying than a politician in search of a crisis.”

Oooh! I should put that on my Maxims page.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.