The Usual Fear Mongering Baloney

Fox News headline: “ObamaCare could lead to loss of nearly 2.3 million US jobs, report says”.

Speaker of the House John Boehner tweets: “Pres. Obama’s [health care law] expected to destroy 2.3 million jobs”.

What the Congressional Budget Office really said:

CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce the total number of hours worked, on net, by about 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent during the period from 2017 to 2024, almost entirely because workers will choose to supply less labor — given the new taxes and other incentives they will face and the financial benefits some will receive….the largest declines in labor supply will probably occur among lower-wage workers….

The estimated reduction stems almost entirely from a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply, rather than from a net drop in business’ demand for labor, so it will appear almost entirely as a reduction in labor force participation and in hours worked relative to what have occurred otherwise rather than as an increase in unemployment (that is, more workers seeking, but not finding jobs) or underemployment (such as part-time workers who would prefer to work more hours per week)….

In other words, some people, especially low-wage workers, will decide to work less because of the ACA, mostly because of the benefits they’ll receive.

I don’t know why those who wrote the report believe this will result in fewer hours being worked. In the case of anyone but the self-employed, employers will presumably still want someone to work those hours. As the supply of labor declines, the demand for labor should increase, resulting in rising wages for some workers and job openings for others (and, of course, low wages and unemployment are still two of our major problems). 

You might even argue (incorrectly) that everybody should work as much as possible, because that’s the capitalist way. That’s very different, however, from saying the ACA is going to destroy millions of jobs. 

As usual, Paul Krugman offers thoughtful commentary on the economics and the social impact here and here.

3 thoughts on “The Usual Fear Mongering Baloney

    • A big part of their problem is that their policies aren’t popular with most people, once people understand what their real policies are. So they have to make stuff up. You’d think it would take a psychological toll on them, but I guess they believe a lot of what they say. Or maybe they think they’re serving a higher cause by lying and misleading. We all tend to say things that support our positions, but they’ve gone overboard.

      • I don’t know which is worse: that the House is controlled by a group of wealthy white men who don’t realize that their policy proposals only serve wealthy white men, or that they’re lying.

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