The Congressional Budget Office did not exactly say Obamacare would cost the nation 2.5 million jobs.
But what it did say is vindication of what conservatives have preached since Barry Goldwater stood in the pulpit 50 years ago:
The more liberal the welfare state, the greater the disincentive to work and the more ruinous the impact upon a nation's work ethic.
The CBO has just given us a statistical measure of that truth.
The Obamacare subsidies, it said, will cause some to quit work, others to cut back on the hours they work, and others to hold off going to work, so as not to lose the benefits.
The cumulative impact of all these decisions will be equal to the loss of 2.5 million jobs by 2024. A devastating blow to an economy where the labor force participation is at a 30-year low.
The CBO has put a number of what everyone knows to be true: If people don't have to work to provide the needs of their daily lives, some will drop out and become permanent charges on the public purse, deadbeats.
The father of modern liberalism, FDR, never disputed this. As he warned in 1935, welfare is "a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit."
This used to be called common sense. Growing up, we all knew or read that those who inherited great wealth often ended up never holding a "real job" and spent their days in a life of self-indulgence.
However, a related and larger question is raised by the CBO:
If Obamacare alone will cost the equivalent of 2.5 million lost jobs to the U.S. economy, what is the impact of our entire welfare state on the vitality and dynamism of the U.S. labor force?
As Robert Rector of Heritage Foundation wrote in January, if we judge Lyndon Johnson's Great Society only by the dollars spent to improve the lives of the poor and near-poor, an astronomical $20 trillion, it was a success. Rector describes its dimensions.
"The federal government runs more than 80-means tested programs that provide cash, food, housing, medical care and targeted social services to poor and low-income Americans.
"Government spent $916 billion on these programs in 2012 alone, and roughly 100 million Americans received aid from at least one of them, at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient. (That figure doesn't include Security or Medicare.)
"Federal and state welfare spending, adjusted for inflation, is 16 times greater than it was in 1964."
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