The latest outbreak of mass confusion revolves around headlines falsely claiming that the Congressional Budget Office had announced that there will be a net loss of some two million jobs as a result of Obamacare. What's actually predicted is that some bosses will be told to "take this job and shove it" by wage slaves chained to crappy jobs only because they provide crappy health insurance. Such workers will now be free to either quit and get subsidized plans on the individual exchanges, or reduce their hours to part-time, and still get subsidized plans on the individual exchanges.
So claims by Republicans that Obamacare is a direct job-killer are false. The CBO report simply conflates hours worked with the number of actual jobs. That's because in the world of government number crunchers, there are no human beings. There are only temporal units of production.
Paul Krugman explains it in terms that even math-challenged units like me can understand:
So the CBO estimates that the incentive effects of the ACA will lead to a voluntary reduction in labor supply of around 1 1/2 percent, the equivalent of 2 million full-time jobs. Labor compensation would fall less, around 1 percent, because the reduction in hours would be skewed toward the less well paid. Although they don’t say this, we would expect potential GDP to fall by roughly the same amount (assuming wages more or less reflect marginal productivity); since compensation is about 55 percent of GDP, this would mean reducing potential GDP by a bit over 0.5 percent.Now, don't you feel relieved and elucidated? I sure do.
All over this New Utopia, we're told that poorly-paid workers will be instructing their bosses where to shove it, finally liberated to fly home to take care of the ailing spouse, move to another state, retire before they die, or just kick back and spend more quality time with the kids. The lives of up to a million abused temporal production units will be vastly improved, so the Democrats spin it, as a direct result of Obamacare. Free at last, baby!
But better watch out. This could also be the excuse for the GOP to refuse to extend unemployment benefits to a whole new generation of American Freeters they'll accuse of deliberately cutting their hours, just to suck up health insurance and avoid personal responsibility! Republicans will probably feel even more justified in their continued denial of Medicaid coverage to poor people in half the states. And just that one Social Darwinism policy alone will have the desired effect of killing an additional 17,000 units of humanity each and every year.
Meanwhile, by necessity and by neoliberal plan, a fair percentage of those newly freed work hours must now be spent in the time-consuming quest to find a doctor in the Obamacare Network. Traffic jams are unavoidable. But why work when you can shop for health care product? And think of those millions of unwanted job-hours waiting to be filled by other desperate units in the surplus labor market. Since more than one American man out of six is not working, what better way to support your fellow units of humanity than to do what the Washington insiders do -- rotate through the revolving doors, giving up the excess hours to the depressed guy slumped on his couch next door.
It's the all-American solution: spin and win.