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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

CONGRATULATIONS: We just saved half a trillion dollars

By Morgan Housel






JewishWorldReview.com | You may not have noticed it, but the federal government just saved half a trillion dollars over the next decade. It's one of the biggest deficit reductions in history, and it made virtually no headlines.

Growth in health care costs -- the driver of effectively all long-term budget deficits -- is coming in much lower than expected. Part of that is likely due to the economy and the recession. But there's more to it than that. Cost growth began falling before the recession and has taken place in regions that escaped the recession without much pain. As Harvard health economist David Cutler said last year: "The recession just doesn't account for the numbers we're seeing. I think there's much more going on."

The effect this has on the federal budget is huge. Over the last 43 years, Medicare costs per beneficiary grew 2.7 percent faster than the broad economy. That trend has now reversed itself. Since 2009, costs per beneficiary have grown 1.3 percent slower than the overall economy, according to The New York Times.

Add it up, and "projected Medicare spending over the 2011-2020 period has fallen by more than $500 billion since late 2010," according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which cites Congressional Budget Office data.



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The budget savings are even greater when you add in Medicaid spending. The Congressional Budget Office wrote in its latest budget outlook (emphasis mine):

"In recent years, health care spending has grown much more slowly both nationally and for federal programs than historical rates would have indicated. (For example, in 2012, federal spending for Medicare and Medicaid was about 5 percent below the amount that CBO had projected in March 2010.) In response to that slowdown, over the past several years, CBO has made a series of downward technical adjustments to its projections of spending for Medicaid and Medicare. From the March 2010 baseline to the current baseline, such technical revisions have lowered estimates of federal spending for the two programs in 2020 by about $200 billion -- by $126 billion for Medicare and by $78 billion for Medicaid, or by roughly 15 percent for each program."


If this keeps up, current forecasts of runaway long-term budget deficits melt quickly. Journalist Annie Lowrey noted last year: "If the growth in Medicare were to come down to a rate of only 1 percentage point a year faster than the economy's growth, the projected long-term deficit would fall by more than one-third."

Take all of this with an appropriate grain of salt. The fact that a past budget forecast was revised is a good reminder that the current budget forecast can be revised, too. But we too often forget that revisions can be a good thing. People might overlook positive surprises because virtually every budget forecast during the last decade brought worse news, falling deeper into the red.

But that isn't a law. In the early 1990s, budget forecasters were predicting deep deficits as far as the eye could see. By the late 1990s, the budget was in surplus -- something virtually no one predicted a few years prior. That's an extreme example, but it emphasizes that bad forecasts don't necessarily mean never-ending bad news. Good surprises can happen -- and it looks like we're seeing one right now.

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Morgan Housel, a columnist at The Motley Fool, is a two-time winner, Best in Business award, Society of American Business Editors and Writers and Best in Business 2012, Columbia Journalism Review.


Previously:


End this crazy tax: It will boost the economy

Medicare: A dangerously good deal

Economic future looks bright

The Biggest Threat to Your Portfolio (It's Not What You Think)

Bond Market Bull Run dead at 30



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