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Ear to the Ground

CBO: Obamacare Will Thin Full-Time Workforce by 2 Million

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Posted on Feb 4, 2014

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The Congressional Budget Office offered more fodder Tuesday for opponents of Obamacare to hate on the Affordable Care Act—should they choose to spin the facts and figures.

Oh wait, that’s already happened.

First, the newsy part, courtesy of The Washington Post:

More than 2 million Americans who would otherwise rely on a job for health insurance will quit working, reduce their hours or stop looking for employment because of new health benefits available under the Affordable Care Act, congressional budget analysts said Tuesday.

This, translated into GOP-ese, has of course come to mean “job killer!” Politico followed that logic to its inevitable election-year end:

The latest number is nearly three times as high as the budget office’s previous prediction, and it’s supposed to rise in later years to the equivalent of 2.5 million jobs in 2024.

There’s a lot more fine print about what those numbers really mean, and whether the jobs were “lost.” In fact, CBO said it’s in large part about the number of hours people choose to work, not actual job losses.

But what matters politically is how the numbers look in attack ads. And in this election year, “2 million lost jobs” is a Republican ad maker’s dream.

 

It’s not like those high up in the political ranks have troubled themselves too much with the truth, but for the record, The Washington Post’s resident FactChecker, Glenn Kessler, did some research for those of us still quaintly interested in that sort of thing:

First, this is not about jobs. It’s about workers — and the choices they make.

The CBO’s estimate is mostly the result of an analysis of the impact of the law on the supply of labor. That means how many people choose to participate in the work force. In other words, the nonpartisan agency is examining whether the law increases or decreases incentives for people to work.

—Posted by Kasia Anderson

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