Tens of millions have lost their health insurance or will very soon lose it.
ObamaCare enrollees are being turned away from doctors’ offices.
Health insurance premiums are soaring.
The list of problems goes on and on.
To add to that list of problems we now find that ObamaCare will discourage 2.5 million Americans from working, reducing our national income and increasing the deficit.
Almost four years after ObamaCare was enacted, Congressional Budget Office finally decided: “In producing this year’s projections, one area on which we focused was the labor market . . . .”
In the rush to pass ObamaCare, CBO justifies ignoring these considerations because ObamaCare’s regulations “were still in the process of being developed.”
Unfortunately, there is a real pattern where the CBO’s initial estimates for ObamaCare’s impact on spending, tax revenue, and deficits have proven to be far too optimistic. Mistakes in initial estimates consistently worked to make it easier to pass ObamaCare.
As if the nanny state hasn’t gotten out of hand with government telling everyone exactly the type of insurance, what medical care we can receive, what doctors we can see, and what foods we can eat, now the government claims it wants to micromange the number of hours we work.
The Obama administration has been explaining that discouraging people from working is something good. We are told that those who stop working or work less will be better off.
Why? They will have more time to do other things – like spending time with their families.
He wrote about a 62-year-old man who wanted to retire early, but was “trapped” in his job and forced to continue working so that he could continue getting health insurance. As Gruber notes: “this is a good outcome.”
But people feel they have to work for all sorts of reasons. For example, they may “need” money to send their kids to college or pay the mortgage on their house.
Gruber confuses what is good for an individual worker and what is good for the country.
Sure, the worker who can quit his job is better off. But would it be “good” if welfare payments could let all workers quit working? On a recent edition of “Meet the Press,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) justified ObamaCare by giving another example: “The single mom, who's raising three kids (and) has to keep a job because of healthcare, can now spend some time raising those kids. That's a family value.”
But it isn’t just single moms with kids who are going to stop working or cutting back hours.
Besides the subsidy, ObamaCare also reduces the number of people who want to work for another very simple reason. As those receiving ObamaCare subsidies earn more money, they will lose the subsidy. That has exactly the same effect on people’s willingness to work as raising the tax rate.
Even before ObamaCare, the liberal Urban Institute estimated that for a family consisting of two parents and two children, the effective loss of income from earning an additional dollar can be huge.
Families earning between $15,000 and $40,000 get to keep at most twenty cents of every additional dollar they earn. To put it another way, the combined effective income tax rate and the lost-benefit rate on earning an additional dollar is between 80 and 100 percent.
New research by Casey Mulligan at the University of Chicago indicates that in 2015 ObamaCare will be raising the tax rate 11 percentage points more on average for nearly half the non-elderly adult population (read: lower income individuals) and zero percent for the rest of the population. This is would be added on top of the earlier Urban Institute study found.
Is it really surprising that people will cut back on how much they work if they have absolutely no money left to show for the additional work?
But how can raising the costs of people working be seriously sold as a good thing?
Without increasing these effective tax rates, people would have worked. People are showing by their own actions what they would have wanted to do with out the interference from ObamaCare. Up until now economists and politicians from both parties have always tried to come up with welfare programs that disincentivize work the least.
Unfortunately, firms are also facing higher health care costs and penalties from ObamaCare. Making it more costly to hire full-time workers also means that firms will want to hire fewer people.
Maybe the logic Obama is using to push ObamaCare explains why he keeps pushing for a higher tax rate than the current 43.4 percent.
After all, it's possible that he thinks he is doing them a favor by giving them more free time.
Apparently, the wealthy just don’t realize that they will be better off spending more time with their families.
What is so disappointing is how far Obama administration economists and Democrats are willing to go to prostitute themselves for the administration.
There seems to be no bounds on trying to put a positive spin on any news, no matter how bad.
John R. Lott, Jr. is a columnist for FoxNews.com. He is an economist and was formerly chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission. Lott is also a leading expert on guns and op-eds on that issue are done in conjunction with the Crime Prevention Research Center. He is the author of eight books including "More Guns, Less Crime." His latest book is "Dumbing Down the Courts: How Politics Keeps the Smartest Judges Off the Bench" Bascom Hill Publishing Group (September 17, 2013). Follow him on Twitter@johnrlottjr.