The lead item of today’s Morning Jolt:
Obamacare, a.k.a. The War on Work
The White House really thinks that they can persuade us that we will be happier in an America where people who are working part-time quit to accept government assistance, and that those who are working full-time shift to part-time.
The congressional number-crunchers, perhaps the capital’s closest thing to a neutral referee, came out with a new report Tuesday, and it wasn’t pretty for Obamacare. The CBO predicted the law would have a “substantially larger” impact on the labor market than it had previously expected: The law would reduce the workforce in 2021 by the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time workers, well more than the 800,000 originally anticipated. This will inevitably be a drag on economic growth, as more people decide government handouts are more attractive than working more and paying higher taxes.
This is grim news for the White House and for Democrats on the ballot in November. This independent arbiter, long embraced by the White House, has validated a core complaint of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) critics: that it will discourage work and become an ungainly entitlement. Disputing Republicans’ charges is much easier than refuting the federal government’s official scorekeepers.
White House officials rushed to dispute the referee’s call — arguing, somewhat contradictorily, that the finding was both flawed and really good news if interpreted properly.
Meanwhile, the Brookings Institution finds . . .
Some workers will gain employer coverage, and others will enroll in existing employer plans because they face penalties if they don’t have coverage. However, some employers may drop coverage for part-time employees, and some workers will leave their employer plans because less expensive coverage will be available elsewhere (for example, under Medicaid). On net, we expect enrollment in employer plans to shrink 5.9 million, or about 3.5 percent, in the population under 65 . . .
And while the law is projected to improve the income of the bottom 20 percent of American workers, the top 80 percent of workers will see declines in income:
Before you start scoffing about “the rich,” realize that the third bracket includes “households making between about $21,000 and $40,000 a year,” according to our old friend Byron York.
Fewer workers, fewer folks with insurance through their employer, and lower wages. Heck of a job, Obama administration.