Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Obamacare will keep people from working? GOOD!

  My reaction to the Congressional Budget Office's report on the deficit, economic outlook, and effects of Obamacare  is probably different from many in the right-wing bubble. Many righties and media analyses are focusing on the CBO's finding that an estimated 2 million Americans will remove themselves from the workforce due to Obamacare in the next 4 years. <./a> Well, I have 2 statements in response to that.

   1. That's not a bad thing.

   2.  Our economy will probably be better as a result.

   First, let's talk about the claim of people leaving the work force due to Obamacare. It's from page 117 of the CBO report, which summarizes

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. Because the largest declines in labor supply will probably occur among lower-wage workers, the reduction in aggregate compensation (wages, salaries, and fringe benefits) and the impact on the overall economy will be proportionally smaller than the reduction in hours worked. Specifically, CBO estimates that the ACA will cause a reduction of roughly 1 percent in aggregate labor compensation over the 2017–2024 period, compared with what it would have been otherwise. Although such effects are likely to continue after 2024 (the end of the current 10-year budget window), CBO has not estimated their magnitude or duration over a longer period.

The reduction in CBO’s projections of hours worked represents a decline in the number of full-time-equivalent workers of about 2.0 million in 2017, rising to about 2.5 million in 2024. Although CBO projects that total employment (and compensation) will increase over the coming decade, that increase will be smaller than it would have been in the absence of the ACA. The decline in fulltime- equivalent employment stemming from the ACA will consist of some people not being employed at all and other people working fewer hours; however, CBO has not tried to quantify those two components of the overall effect.  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 businesses’ demand for labor, so it will appear almost entirely as a reduction in labor force participation and in hour worked relative to what would 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).

So straight from the CBO, it is saying Obamacare will keep certain people from choosing work. And sorry righties,  that's a good thing. It means a lot of those Americans aren't locked into a crappy job that they have to stay at because it gives them health care benefits. It also gives options to workers to find other work because it's not as tied to health care, and can raise wages for workers because it tightens the labor market (which is a big reason why oligarchs hate Obamacare- the work force isn't as desperate and they can't screw em over as much).

   I made this observation on Twitter today, noting that this CBO report indicated that Obamacare was leading to more FREE-DUM!!! because it didn't tie as many people to their jobs, and the responses from righties were telling.

It doesn't compute in right-wing world that labor also can follow the laws of supply and demand (it's the same reason these dimwits don't get that part of the reason we have a "skills gap" in Wisconsin is because Wisconsin employers pay the lowest average manu-facturing wage in the Midwest). It also doesn't make sense to these people that the average person doesn't get a lot of choice in how much they get paid or where they work these days, so anything that helps to give them a choice (like the ACA giving them healthcare) can have a real change on what they choose to do. This would include Boomers choosing to retire at age 60 since they can now afford health care on their own, or parents choosing to stay at home to raise their kids because they are now able to be covered.
    (By the way, this goes out to "Rachel Veronica." I know you're a guy who is either a WisGOP staffer or a Koch Industries paid poster. Stop the charade, look up the Dunning-Kruger effect, and realize who you are )

It's the same way that Obamacare often is becoming a back-door public option, as employers such as Target are choosing not to spend the money to give health insurance to part-time employees, and are instead encouraging them to get covered through the exchanges. This is fine with me- it means the company isn't taking on the expense of health care, and the employee can end up with cheaper insurance premiums, better coverage, or both. I'd call that a win-win, and that employee then doesn't have to worry about their health care situation if they want to move on to another job, since they're already covered through the ACA.

So no righties- Obamacare is not "killing 2 million jobs". In fact, it is likely going to drive down the unemployment rate, by freeing up jobs for people who need work, and may increase our country's economic output and well-being, since people will have more economic stability from being covered through the ACA, and others will have higher wages which allow them to spend more money. This also could lead to increased job growth for a more legitimate reason than we've often had in recent years- demand for products from workers who are finally paid a fairer wage.

Sounds like a better USA to me. Combine that extra stability with the CBO mentioning that the deficit is at its lowest level in 7 years, and it seems like we have no excuse not to put our foot on the gas and have our federal and state governments work on making stuff and adding jobs over pinching pennies. It's long overdue.

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