Politically, the recent CBO report on Obamacare's impact on jobs is a nightmare for every Democrat who voted for it in 2010. It is also a nightmare for President Obama who really doesn't have to care very much about it or his poll numbers anymore because he can't get defeated in the next election, now can he?
'Obamacare Will Cost Millions of Jobs!' will be tattooed on every Obamacare elective supporter's forehead, all of them Democrats since no Republican supported it. The Senators and Congresspeople who voted for it in 2010 and have been defending it ever since can not run away from it; they voted for it plain as day and it is theirs to own and run on, not away from.
Here's the CBO Report for you to read in its entirety. We always encourage everyone to read the original documentation and not rely on what Rachel Maddow, Sean Hannity or Dana Carvey, er..Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, try to tell you what the CBO report means.
Starting on page 117 and ending on page 127, 'Appendix C: Labor Market Effects of the
Affordable Care Act: Updated Estimates' will do its absolute best to explain what Obamacare will do to the US labor market in excruciating detail...or make your eyes turn inside and out in the process.
'CBO's updated estimate of the decrease in hours worked translates to a reduction in full-time equivalent employment of about 2.0 million in 2017, rising to about 2.5 million in 2024, compared to what would have occurred in the absence of the ACA.'
There you go, in black and white. 2 million jobs lost in 2017; 2.5 million in 2024. Right from the same CBO that the Obama White House depended on to defend the passage of the ACA in 2010 which said, in all due respect and seriousness, that the ACA would lower spending on health care and help reduce the deficit.
We remain skeptical of the claim that the ACA will ever save any money anywhere for any government entity. Say we are from Missouri and leave it at that. Or buy this bridge we have to sell you in the desert.
Two very smart friends of ours have written serious yet understandable critiques of the ACA effect on employment after these CBO numbers came out last week.
Chuck Blahous, whom we have referenced before, wrote this piece for e21, a publication from the Manhattan Institute, 'The ACA IS Driving People Out Of The Workforce'
Keith Hennessey wrote this piece: 'Obamacare's Trap' which builds on some of the arguments made in the Blahous piece.
Essentially both are saying that there are huge tax implications that come into play for 1) middle-income people thinking about leaving their place of employment with health care coverage provided by their employer and 2) lower-income folks thinking about working harder or longer hours or have a spouse take on a second job and moving up the income/wage ladder.
The conclusion is that the ACA sets up this somewhat complicated marginal tax benefit conundrum for such people but which gets solved every single day by each individual based on the very simple question they will ask when face with such a choice:
'Will I or my family be bringing home more money or less money if we cut our hours back or we take on a second or third job?'
Economists try to make this more complicated than it really is. Some of the best 'cost/benefit analysts' in the country or around the world are people who can very easily calculate the effect on their household income if they earn more/less money versus taking more/less governmental assistance.
Same with any businessman or individual. People look after their self-interest first; they have to.
White House spokesman Dana Carvey, er...Jay Carney has been tap-dancing like Mr. Bojangles trying to put a positive spin on these devastating CBO numbers by saying the ACA 'frees up workers' to be able to leave jobs they hate and follow their dreams doing something else.
'Well, bust my buttons! Why didn't you just say so in the first place?' like the gatekeeper in The Wizard of Oz?
If the ACA was sold as a 'portable health care package' such as the IRAs and 401ks before it, then it may have broadened its appeal to even recalcitrant Republicans in the beginning.
But it wasn't.
The difference is that there is a significant federal taxpayer subsidy in every ACA health care plan for people under a certain income level that is not available to anyone who sets up an IRA or 401k for themselves and their family.
Where is the line drawn between 'following your own dreams' and having a sufficient federal taxpayer subsidy from the rest of American taxpayers to buy health care such that you decide you just will drop out of the workforce altogether?
We have heard the ACA being described as 'Medicaid Plus' where it provides service and coverage just above the level and quality of care offered to Medicaid patients..except ACA participants pay for a significant part of their coverage in monthly premiums whereas Medicaid patients don't.
Read the CBO report and the Blahous and Hennessey pieces in their entirety and see what you think. We think the 'joblessness lock' coined by Mr. Blahous and the 'trap' described by Mr. Hennessey are very real and unfortunate by-products and end-results of the ACA.
Do we really need any federal policies that accelerate or accentuate the 'reduction' of the number of jobs or numbers of hours worked in America today? Under- and un-employment are perhaps the worst thing that can happen to any individual in America and to our nation as a whole.
The ACA is proving that the 'Law of Unintended Consequences' is still applicable to federal legislation. Not that that is any great surprise to us....it is just the nature of the beast.