Last week, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office announced that the Affordable Care Act would likely reduce the number of full-time workers in the United States by the equivalent of 2.3 million.
What’s their reasoning? Simply put, the law’s taxpayer-subsidies will give workers less of a reason to work. Under Obamacare, Americans who earn up to 400% of the federal poverty level qualify for government-assistance to buy health insurance. Thus, there’s a clear incentive for people to keep their work-hours down in order to meet that income qualification.
I was interested to see how the Obama administration and the Democratic Party would respond to the bad news. My assumption was that they would do what they normally do: Outright deny the math or prop up some irrelevant, unrelated number to try and minimize its significance.
After all, we see this routinely in the way Democratic politicians boast of a dropping unemployment rate while shrugging off the staggeringly low labor-force participation rate that made it possible. We see it in the way they brag about reducing the annual deficit by 33% without acknowledging the facts that they first increased it by 200%, and that the sequester-cuts they fought hard against were significantly responsible for the reduction. Don’t even get me started on a U.S. national debt that was “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic” six years ago, but is no biggie now that it has been doubled.
I could spend my time writing an entire column on the Democrats’ politically-spun fuzzy math on everything from the U.S. budget, to the jobs created by the Keystone pipeline, to the number of Americans losing their doctors and insurance plans under Obamacare… but I won’t.
Instead, I’ll get back to the CBO’s latest report because the response from the administration and the DNC has been pretty extraordinary.
They’ve decided to take the unique route of insisting that in a weak economy, taxpayer-subsidization of non-productivity is actually a good thing. They’re actually arguing that Americans who don’t like their jobs, and would rather spend their time pursuing other interests, should be able to do so and have other Americans pay for that chosen lifestyle.
House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, responded to the CBO report saying that “this was one of the goals. To give people life, a healthy life, liberty to pursue their happiness. And that liberty is to not be job-locked but to follow their passion.”
“People shouldn’t have job-lock,” Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid said. “We live in a country where there should be free agency. People can do what they want.”
“Opportunity created by affordable, quality health insurance allows families in America to make a decision about how they will work, or if they will work,” White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney said.
Democratic Congressman, Keith Ellison said that with people working fewer hours, they’ll be able to look at their “work-life balance” and have more “opportunity” to do other things.
What ever happened to the notion that the cure for a job-lock and limited opportunity is a healthy job market? What ever happened to the notion that liberty and people doing what they want come from being independent of government, and not reliant on it? What ever happened to the notion that the American Dream was about succeeding, and not receding?
Listening to our liberal leaders pridefully tout taxpayer-funded non-productivity as a “quality of living” or a “personal freedom” issue, I can’t help but conclude that this country has crossed some new threshold in a steady march toward European-style socialism.
For readers who are familiar with my work, you may have noticed that I don’t loosely throw around the “socialist” charge like many of my fellow, right-leaning commentators. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever accused our president or anyone in the Democratic party of outright embracing socialism, even though the leadership has pulled this country closer to that failed system than we’ve probably ever been.
At what point, however, can we no longer reject the conclusion that socialism is the unspoken goal of this administration and the modern-day liberal movement in this country? I think it’s a fair question to ask.
I would imagine that the answer would come when our liberal leaders finally outright admit that government-entitlements shouldn’t only be afforded to those who need help, but also to those who simply don’t want to be bothered with the responsibility of having to provide for themselves.
Isn’t that exactly what the Democrats I quoted above are saying? If not, please tell me where I’m wrong.