The spin machine sprang into action in the wake of the Congressional Budget Office’s new report on the economy and ObamaCare.
While the White House (and their press agents at the New York Times who ran the headline “Freeing Workers from the Insurance Trap” and described the law’s “liberating” impact) tried to portray projections of job losses stemming from ObamaCare as good news for those lucky people who will no longer have to put up with the drudgery of – for example, working – to win health care insurance, the GOP saw it otherwise, and rightly so.
Critics charged that the law’s bungled directives will reduce the workforce by the equivalent of 2.3 million people, at a time when we desperately need a growing number of Americans working to pick up the tab for Social Security and other programs.
As the Heritage Foundation’s Drew Gonshorowski wrote last year, ObamaCare includes “incentives to reduce hours, not seek work, drop insurance coverage, drop dependent coverage, become divorced, or avoid marriage.”
Further, he warned, “Obamacare ultimately discourages low-income individuals from trying to move into higher paying jobs.”
In other words, the law stifles the upward mobility that so concerns President Obama (and that has been squashed mainly by the ongoing tepid recovery). With workforce participation already at a 35-year low and projected to sink further, this is not good news.
For sure, the CBO delivered a whopper of a Valentine’s gift to Republicans. Not only did the report skewer the destructive incentives and rules of the Affordable Care Act, the forecasts of rising national debt obliterate Democrat talking points on lowered deficits.
Yes, the deficit has declined from its terrifying trillion-plus post-crisis heights. No, the gains are not permanent; the CBO portrays the gap between federal spending and income as beginning to rise again after next year.
By 2022, we’re back over $1 trillion. Yes, GDP growth has inched higher, but it sinks beginning in 2016.
From 2018 through 2024, real growth never climbs above 2.4 percent, and unemployment never drops below 5.5 percent.
The CBO report will be useful come November, when Republicans will be campaigning hard to take over the Senate, and leaning on the public’s dislike of ObamaCare.
The message? The ACA was sold on a false premise: that it would rein in health care costs, provide insurance to all and not move the deficit needle. Oh, and that most Americans would barely notice the program at all -- “If you like your health insurance, you can keep it.”
As it turns out, the health care tab for the nation will continue to soar, and most people will find their coverage significantly less generous.
Moreover, we have a fresh reminder of just how small the rewards are for this great and costly upheaval in our economy and our society. There will be, for the foreseeable future, some 30 million Americans without health insurance.
And that’s assuming that the alarming projections of millions being dumped by their employers don’t come true. In other words, the CBO projects that all this tumult will result in just 25 million extra folks having health insurance in 2020.
Talk about small beans!
Remember back in 2009 when President Obama hauled CBO head Doug Elmendorf to the White House – a move that was considered “highly unusual”? Many suspected at the time that the CBO had failed to provide the Oval Office with the ammunition it needed to get ObamaCare through Congress, and that the president used his charms to tilt upcoming reports in his favor.
Maybe it’s time for another visit, Mr. President; this latest report is not helping your cause.