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Tag Archives: Jason Furman

Another Obamacare Deception

Obamacare was supposed to be about providing health insurance to those who don’t have it. That’s how it was sold: Help people who can’t afford to go the doctor; who are stranded in emergency rooms.

But now we know that’s not all it’s about. In fact, the Affordable Care Act is about providing welfare – that is, payments from working people – to those who DO have health insurance too.

That’s what all the blather was about from White House economic advisors Tuesday as they tried to defend themselves against the revelation by the Congressional Budget Office that 2.5 million full time workers would choose to scale back hours or leave the labor force as a direct result of Obamacare.

That, the White House claims, is a good thing. A good thing! This absurd notion gets to the root of the thinking that goes on around the Obama White House.

According to Council of Economic Advisors Chairman Jason Furman:

The Affordable Care Act provides people with new options, and that people who today are doing a set of things because they don’t have options and choices will be able to do new things that they would not have otherwise chosen to do.

Chimed in White House Press Secretary Jay Carney:

This affords the opportunity for that individual to — and maybe that could be a job that is not very rewarding or may not pay that well, or may not be the best use of his or her talents, and may prevent the man or woman from spending time with young children.

So it’s not just about saving the uninsured. It’s about new options. New horizons. Self realization. A rewarding job! A more comfortable life. And seeing your kids

All of it subsidized by people working their asses off and saying goodbye to tearful children as they depart for another long day on the job.

Somewhere lurking in the mind of every Obama advisor, whether they know it or not, is the phrase, From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

What, Furman asks, could be wrong with stimulating self-actualization?

This is an extra choice people have. And that’s not making somebody worse off to give them an option they didn’t have before.

And this is what liberals don’t understand. By making someone dependent, which ushering them out of the workforce through federal subsidies BY DEFINITION achieves, you are ruining them and probably their offspring too.

But this gives them the time and space to become “entrepreneurs!” Furman exulted.

Really? Start businesses? With what? The workforce exit is largely to be accomplished by those at the low end of the income scale, according to CBO. Unless Furman has another subsidy up his sleeve for them, they don’t have the money to start businesses.

What’s happening here is that economic growth, so absent under Obama, will be further stamped out after he’s gone by the disappearance of some 2.5 million people from the workforce. Evidence that this new subsidized living hurts came with Furman’s refusal to say, under repeated questioning, whether it’s a drag on the economy:

I don’t think that’s the right way to think about that.  I think you want to think about that as what does that do for workers, what does that do for retirees, what does that do for people with disabilities, and what options does it give them.

Please! Ask a different question, stupid, is the sum of this response.

In classic spin mode, White House advisors suggested that CBO’s focus on people choosing not to work had finished off once and for all the supposed canard that businesses would reduce hours or hiring because of the requirement that companies of a certain size provide full time workers health insurance. “This, at its core, refutes the notion that businesses are not going to add jobs because of the Affordable Care Act,” said Furman.

That’s untrue. The report explicitly states the opposite. Demand for labor – that is, hiring – will decline in the near term. After that, employers will be able to recoup their losses mainly through paying their workers less.

States CBO:

Beginning in 2015, employers of 50 or more full-time- equivalent workers that do not offer health insurance (or that offer health insurance that does not meet certain criteria) will generally pay a penalty. That penalty will initially reduce employers’ demand for labor and thereby tend to lower employment.

Over time, CBO expects, the penalty will be borne primarily by workers in the form of reduced wages or other compensation, at which point the penalty will have little effect on labor demand but will reduce labor supply and will lower employment slightly through that channel.

Labor supply, of course, refers to the number of people who want a job.

So the great Obamacare deception continues.

This report, done by an agency the White House quotes all the time, highlights for all to see the unfortunate truism at the heart of the Obamacare sales job, and much other welfare as well: You don’t get sumthin’ for nuthin’.

That’s common sense. But please, don’t try to bring common sense into this. Ask a different question.