CBO Finds Obamacare Lets Americans Quit Jobs They Don't Want, Which Rightbloggers, Naturally, Oppose
We should say "widely-and-variously-reported," because our rightblogger friends first publicized the news to mean that Obama was going to fire all those people; then, when even the normally hapless American press started explaining that this was not so, came up with other explanations, most of which boiled down to this: Under Obamacare, you no longer have to keep a despised job to have health insurance -- which is terrible, since keeping a job for the insurance is the American Way.
The short version is this: 2.3 million Americans are expected leave their jobs because Obamacare's sorta-universal insurance scheme removes the necessity and/or desirability of keeping a job just for the insurance. There are several longer, more measured analyses available in the press, such as this one by Josh Barro at Business Insider, who saw two kinds of effects: "substitution effects," which he counted as negative because "if you phase out [a] person's health insurance subsidy with rising income, you encourage him to work less," as "a higher income will mean a smaller health plan subsidy"; and "income effects," by which "easy availability of comprehensive, subsidized health plans will make it easier for people to retire before age 65, quit a full-time job to start a business, or shift to part-time work and spend more time raising children or attending school," which Barro considered "mostly good."
But you didn't come here for measured analysis, right? Many of the brethren portrayed this as Obamacare throwing people out of work via "work force cuts," and other such weaselly formulations.
"Pres. Obama's #hcr law expected to destroy 2.3 million jobs," tweeted GOP House Speaker John Boehner. "Obamacare Could Cost North Carolina 74,000 Workers," extrapolated the North Carolina Republican Party, "Hagan Still Silent On CBO Report." "CBO Warns Obamacare Will Cost Millions of Jobs," cried CBN News. "The Congressional Budget Office said today that Obamacare is likely to kill 2.5 million jobs," bullshat Bryan Preston of PJ Media. "NBC's [Chuck] Todd Whines: 'Unfair' for GOP to Say ObamaCare Will Cost Jobs," sneered Kyle Drennan of the Media Research Center.
"The CBO's bottom line," said Power Line's John Hinderaker, getting poetical, was "that working hours equivalent to two million jobs will be foregone."
What? Allow me to leave a job if I want to? That does it, I'm voting Republican! (Via.)
"Congressional Budget Office sends death blow to ObamaCare," cheered John Podhoretz of the New York Post, reporting that the CBO said "2 million fewer will be working than if the law hadn't passed." Podhoretz had the benefit of the White House's explanation that workers would be choosing to leave their jobs, to which he responded, "Really? Really? You know, if that's the best they can do, certain American workers -- those elected to Congress and their staffs -- might find themselves forced to make new choices regarding their employment come this November and November 2016," which you have to admit is a hell of an argument.
While the brethren went on like this, some reporters unexpectedly challenged this reading -- Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post's Fact Checker, for example, wrote, "No, CBO did not say Obamacare will kill 2 million jobs." Politifact's similar fact checking service called Boehner's "destroy 2.3 million jobs" claim "mostly false" -- which must have been awkward for those among the brethren who'd become accustomed to quoting Politifact's earlier judgment that Obama's "keep your plan" claim was 2013's "Lie of the Year" (e.g., "Sebelius Refuses To Address Politifact's Obamacare 'Lie Of The Year'"), and so would have to change MSM outlets they pretended to trust.
When it became clear that the jig was up, rightbloggers got pissed. Reason's David Harsanyi bitched, "What was once a story about Obamacare's discouraging work and impeding job creation is now a dispute about semantics." ("Mission accomplished" -- by the lieberal MSM!) Harsanyi was especially angered by Kessler's fact check. "Using Kessler's logic," said Harsanyi, "each time some clueless reporter mentions the word 'jobs' in any story about the labor force participation rate -- or the unemployment rate, for that matter -- he or she may be lying to the public." Imagine, nit-picking the press over something like that!
When Salon's Brian Beutler called the mischaracterizations "the biggest Obamacare derp storm of the year," Ann Althouse challenged: "Is that the way grown men talk now? In case you're wondering, Urban Dictionary supplies this definition of 'derp' -- with 11,000+ 'up' votes -- from 2005: 'A simple, undefined reply when an ignorant comment or action is made'..." Many words later: "the stupidity is running deep this morning, and even the observers of stupidity are manifesting their stupid idea of superiority by talking stupidly."
Soon enough it became necessary for rightbloggers to acknowledge the New Reality: That Obamacare would free up workers to quit their jobs, which was what was so terrible about it.
Some of the brethren reverted to historical form: Because Obamacare involves subsidies, it's like welfare, and therefore those receiving Obamacare were like the "welfare queens" conservatives have been using as outrage bait for decades. Since Obamacare isn't associated with black people, except for You Know Who, their quivers were missing a few arrows, but still they made a valiant attempt.
"Just as extending unemployment benefits discourages people from taking a job," said Hoppy Kercheval at West Virginia Metro News, "prorating health insurance premium subsides to income will discourage some people from trying to move up the economic ladder." We wonder how many of Kercheval's readers felt a double blush of shame because they were unemployed and had Obamacare coverage. It's like they're ripping off America twice!
Similarly, Arnold Ahlert of FrontPageMag brought up Nancy Pelosi, who years earlier "spoke about musicians and other creative types who could quit their jobs and focus on developing their talents" -- but since subsidies were involved, "much of those costs will apparently be borne by those less artistically inclined and/or creative." America, you're paying Obamacare queens to write beat poetry, pop their fingers, and, who knows, maybe cultivate beards.
At Real Clear Politics, Carl M. Cannon told readers Obamacare subsidies would be financed by "Americans who remain in the workforce, most of whom are middle class" and "future generations of Americans" -- that is, one group Republicans hope to win back, and a catchphrase they hope to win them back with. Then Cannon talked about how much he respected Bill Clinton (ha ha) and complained, "for years, it seemed that although Democrats profess to love jobs, they couldn't stand employers. Now they've gone a step further: They don't even favor work."
Thomas Lifson of American Thinker donned his deerstalker and revealed the killer truth: Welfare and Obamacare are in fact -- one and the same! "The cold hard facts are that CBO says that the availability of subsidies will induce people to work less," he deduced, but "the traditional liberal assertions" say that "welfare availability does not induce people to work less. Now they are admitting that people choose to work less when government subsidies are available. And they are celebrating it as liberation from drudgery. The only problem is that the rest of us remained chained to drudgery in order to support their self-fulfillment..."
If only the subsidies were going to corporations instead of working Americans -- oh wait: Mostly, they still are!
The more ambitious rightblogger angle, though, was that Obamacare was destroying America morally as well as financially, because by freeing some citizens from jobs they don't want, Obamacare is in fact destroying their will to work at all.
At the New York Post, Michael Goodwin lamented the good old days of "men and women toiling on railroads, skyscrapers and factory floors... my, oh, my, how times have changed." Some might think, yes, it's too bad Americans have more trouble finding living wages on such work than they did in the mid-20th Century. But Goodwin saw a different problem: "America now has a government that views work as a trap and celebrates those who escape it" because of Obamacare.
"This anti-job, pro-dependency tilt is the crux of the nation's polarization," complained Goodwin. "In essence, it pits those who believe in the sanctity of work against those who believe in penalizing wealth and redistributing its fruits." Sort of like Social Security, only Obamaworse!
In a moment of weakness or perhaps editorial conference, Goodwin admitted that "work itself has changed and many manufacturing and factory jobs have disappeared," but added, "yet the most troubling change has nothing to do with the kind of work and everything to do with attitudes and values about work. The stigma attached to getting something for nothing is being replaced by an endless demand for more free stuff." So the minimum-wage day laborer who once patriotically busted his hump for the subsistence wages such jobs now bring may cut some hours thanks to the honey trap of Obamacare. In time there might not be enough Mexicans in the Home Depot parking lot to shore up your retaining wall whenever you want it.
"Democrats Now Officially The Anti-Jobs Party," announced The Lonely Conservative. "...They've created yet another division between the productive and the idle," just like Mitt Romney predicted! "Obamacare Creates Incentive to Work Less," said Mike Shedlock at The Project to Restore America. "Why is the White House cheering disincentives to work?" asked Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.
At the New York Times, Ross Douthat worried that Obamacare "might reduce financial hardship while actively disincentivizing upward mobility overall... when a good is provided gratis there's always an incentive for some people to work less." Later Douthat explained that there were "people we should want to be attached to the workforce, for their own long-term good and the good of the economy as well." He didn't tell us who that was, but we suspect if someone told Douthat himself to shovel coal 50 hours a week for his own long-term good and the good of the economy, he would swiftly preclude himself.