Looks like this is turning into a big ObamaCare news day. We turn from Oregon, which produced an entirely inert mass of online exchange web code papered over by phony screen shots, and the hackers of Belarus (whose software might be a bit too lively) to hear the latest report from the Congressional Budget Office… which has apparently been taken over by Fox News, since President Obama says they’re the cause of all his misfortune. The CBO has some updated ObamaCare projections, as reported by The Hill:
The new healthcare law will cost the nation about 2.3 million jobs by 2021 and contribute to a $1 trillion increase in projected deficits, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said in a report released Tuesday.
The nonpartisan agency’s report found the healthcare law’s negative effects on the economy will be “substantially larger” than what it had previously anticipated.
This produced the sort of unintentionally hilarious spin control from the Obama White House that would make them the butt of a thousand stand-up comedy routines, if they weren’t Democrats. We were told not to worry about all these job losses – in fact, if you don’t count any jobs lost at all, and forget completely about the first two years of the Obama Administration, you can convince yourself that Barack Obama is a mighty job creator.
And most of those jobs lost in the CBO projection are new jobs that wouldn’t be offered, rather than people getting fired from existing positions, so it’s all good, or at least it would be, if the U.S. population would just stop growing. (Come to think of it, Obama’s abortion extremism would deal with that problem, if we just embraced it vigorously enough.)
Actually, the CBO report talks about the labor supply declining, “given the new taxes and other incentives they will face and the financial benefits some will receive.” I predict early efforts by the White House to portray this as some kind of weirdly mutated good news will end as soon as they realize what the CBO is saying: Obamanomics has made work more trouble than it’s worth.
But if we kill the job-killing Affordable Care Act, then a bunch of other jobs will die, because people won’t feel as free to quit, or something. Look, it’s hard to parse Jay Carney talking points while sober. You give it a try:
In a lengthy statement, White House press secretary Jay Carney defended the healthcare law, arguing the economy had added 8.1 million jobs since the law was signed — the strongest job growth since the late 1990s.
His statement criticized the CBO report as incomplete, even as he argued that the lost worker hours were partly a reflection of people being able to choose to retire because they had health coverage.
“At the beginning of this year, we noted that as part of this new day in health care, Americans would no longer be trapped in a job just to provide coverage for their families, and would have the opportunity to pursue their dreams. This CBO report bears that out, and the Republican plan to repeal the ACA would strip those hard-working Americans of that opportunity,” he said.
Besides the hoary “8 million jobs” lie, Carney also trotted out the even hoarier “ObamaCare is cutting health care costs” lie. In truth, such costs declined as the economy slowed. Hey, maybe we should ratchet up those ObamaCare costs even more, put the economy flat on its back, and watch health care costs really take a nose dive!
He went on to say the CBO’s analysis of the Affordable Care Act’s implications on the labor force fails to take into account the law’s slowing of healthcare costs, which the administration argues will lead to the creation of as many as 400,000 new jobs per year by the end of the decade.
“Moreover, CBO does not take into account positive impacts on worker productivity due to the ACA’s role in improving workers’ health, including reduced absenteeism,” the statement said.
Carney finished with a dramatic flourish by tearing up the CBO report entirely and telling them what they really meant to say:
He also said the CBO projects the law will reduce the deficit by more than $1 trillion over the next two decades.
The CBO report said the slower economic growth it now projects will mean fewer tax revenues, which will add to the deficit. Instead of adding $6.3 trillion in deficits from 2014 to 2023, the government will add $7.3 trillion, the CBO now projects.
By 2023, the gross debt of the United States will be $26 trillion, up from a projected $25 trillion. A year later, the debt will rise to $27 trillion as the $1.074 trillion deficit for fiscal 2024 is added in.
“Most of the increase in projected deficits results from lower projections for the growth of real GDP and for inflation, which have resulted in projected revenues between 2014 and 2023 by $1.4 trillion,” the CBO explained.
If anything, the CBO tends to under-estimate the dynamic effects of such economic slowdown upon government revenue, because they can’t model the steps people take to avoid Uncle Sam’s grasping hands, or the tendency of panicked politicians to grasp even harder. Put another Democrat in the White House, drop another giant tax increase on the American people (accompanied by urgent talk of how we simply must reduce the deficit, and not a penny of spending can be cut to do it) and we can talk recession or outright depression in a few years.
Speaking of the deficit, King Barack the Prudent will bring it down to only $20 billion or so higher than the last of the awful Bush deficits in 2015, but then it’s headed back into trillion-dollar territory. (I wonder how next year’s CBO projections look, after the first ObamaCare insurance industry bailout.) The net number of uninsured people will grow by a million by the end of this year, and real unemployment is stuck permanently in double digits, although a few million more people will thoughtfully leave the workforce so Jay Carney can claim the unemployment rate went down.
The real action for every aspect of the economy happens at the margins. Entry-level jobs are not offered; the people who might otherwise take them decide it’s better to collect benefits and stay out of the workforce. Business expansions are delayed or canceled. Hundreds of dollars trimmed away from salaries to pay inflated ObamaCare premiums leave less money for consumer spending (something Obama used to make a big deal about, back when he was agitating for extension of a Social Security raid disguised as a “middle-class tax cut.”) There is mounting unease over what an unrestrained government that rewrites gigantic programs on the fly might do next.
And the reforms that could deliver economic growth grow ever more unthinkable. The system calcifies; resistance to expanding the sphere of economic freedom stiffens. There are a trillion new ways to say that government can’t “afford” to give citizens the “gift” of allowing them to keep their own money, pursue opportunity according to their own judgment, or engage in mutually profitable commerce. It’s not just that Obama has taken America in the wrong direction; it’s that we can barely see the road not taken from here. Who ever thought we’d reach the point where defenders of an American President would say the loss of two and a half million jobs is a small price to pay for his agenda? It sounds like something that would have appeared in a vintage 2008 conservative parody of a 2014 Obama White House press release.