The best political snowball fight of the winter season broke out this week when the Congressional Budget Office (generally identified as the NONPARTISAN Congressional Budget Office) released numbers that infer Obamacare will cost jobs and, thus, slow economic growth.
You know that I am generally careful when I wade into these things and tend to take a "yes, but …" position.
So much so that many of you, in the next days' emails have gone so far as to call me a Ceratotherium simum cottoni (Northern White Rhino).
Here's how David Lightman, writing from the Washington McClatchy Bureau explained it:
"The CBO figured the law will mean losing the equivalent of as many as 2.5 million jobs over the next decade."
A major reason for that is employers will cut full-time workers' hours to make them part-time workers and, thus, not eligible for health insurance.
Or, as Lightman also writes:
"people may choose not to work, or to work less, in order to get the most government-offered benefits they can."
This was echoed by Mullfave Ron Fournier of the National Journal who, in a column saying the GOP was being unfair in its claim that Obamacare would cost jobs, wrote in part:
"The ACA subsidies are based on income, which means it will be cheaper for some workers to leave work or go part time."
I don't know whether that is true or not, but here's what I know is true:
A government program that makes it better for people to work less or not work at all is a government program that is terribly flawed.
As you might imagine the White House and Congressional Democrats cried "Foul!" claiming that the GOP - which had gleefully pounced on this news - were misconstruing what the CBO had said.
The Administration trotted out the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, Jason Furman, who said, according to The Hill newspaper that Obamacare:
"allowed greater 'choice' for workers to scale back their hours to spend more time with their children, or to leave their jobs to launch a small business or startup."
Dangling Federal programs in front of people so they can "choose" to stay on the public dole rather than working cannot be sound public planning.
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