"We're not going to> add a dime to the deficit, in fact, quite the opposite," Sen. Harry Reid (D., Nev.) told reporters while promoting his health care bill. "We'll cut the problems we have with money around here by as much as three-quarters of a trillion dollars."
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the bill will cost $847 billion over the next 10 years and cover 31 million uninsured Americans.
Of course, a lot can happen in 10 years, including contingencies even the most sophisticated, intelligent and well-educated minds can t foresee. The CBO offers estimates, not scripture. Those who ve been involved in the financial markets for any length of time know that 10-year projections for just about anything are pie-in-the-sky guesses at best.
Time Magazine, Jan. 24, 2000>
It was just about 10 years ago, you might remember, that AOL merged with Time Warner in a $182 billion agreement dubbed The Deal of the Century. It was obviously a short century: The company plans to spin off AOL on Dec. 9 at a valuation estimated near $3.5 billion dollars. Ten years ago, it was valued at more than $160 billion.
Back then, with the stock near a split-adjusted $1,000 a share, Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker issued an outperform on shares of
), writing the risk of missing a big winner here may be greater than suffering from what may become near-term valuation issues. Shares ultimately fell as low as $6 by 2002.
The 100 Best Internet Stocks to Own for the Long Run by Gene Walden
Dearborn Publishing, 2000>
And it was almost a decade ago when author Gene Walden published The 100 Best Internet Stocks to Own for the Long Run, touting companies like PSINet, Copper Mountain Networks, PurchasePro.com and FirePond, Inc. At the time, those looked like smart bets. Now they re either defunct or destroyed.
Ten years ago the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 11,000 for the first time. How many of the nation s best academics or industry analysts could have foreseen it trading below that a decade out?
The point is that forecasting is an inexact science. Even when equipped with the best tools and most accurate data, the world s best prognosticators are often startlingly wrong, especially when looking 10 years into the future.
When they re wrong about a stock or mutual fund, only those who willingly accept that risk are affected. But further monopolizing health care today with have major implications on the health and welfare of generations of Americans.
Politicians confident claims about estimated savings for government-run health care over the next 10 years are unlikely to be any better than Wall Street analysts projections about the markets over the 10 just past.