The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) determined in early 2011 that the president's healthcare overhaul would cost the US economy 800,000 jobs. Democrats balked at the figure, insisting that the new law would be a job creation boon. Nancy Pelosi said a fully-implemented Obamacare program would create four million American jobs -- and 400,000 "almost immediately:"
Implementation is upon us, and the CBO has revised its numbers:
The Affordable Care Act will also reduce the number of fulltime workers by more than 2 million in coming years, congressional budget analysts said in the most detailed analysis of the law’s impact on jobs. The CBO said the law’s impact on jobs would be mostly felt starting after 2016. The agency previously estimated that the economy would have 800,000 fewer jobs as a result of the law. The impact is likely to be most felt, the CBO said, among low-wage workers. The agency said that most of the effect would come from Americans deciding not to seek work as a result of the ACA’s impact on the economy. Some workers may forgo employment, while others may reduce hours, for a equivalent of at least 2 million fulltime workers dropping out of the labor force.
The official numbers indicate that more than two million Americans will simply leave the work force (the workforce participation rate is already at a 36-year low) over the next four years as a result of the "Affordable" Care Act. Jake Tapper on the analysis' raw estimates:
p. 127 of CBO report ACA means reduction in full-time-equivalent employment of ~2M in 2017 rising to ~2.5M 2024 http://t.co/q97ZzVSOGC— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 4, 2014
Democrats' sunny expectations were only off by about six million jobs -- in the wrong direction. NBC's Chuck Todd notices that the nonpartisan data reinforces Republicans' warnings about the law from day one. Vindication:
CBO essentially reaffirms GOP talking points on health care. Says it will cost jobs, feel as if it raises taxes and contributes to deficit— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) February 4, 2014
The GOP campaign ads practically write themselves. This law is increasing national healthcare spending, raising premiums and out-of-pocket costs for millions, kicking people off of their preferred plans, limiting patients' access to care, contributing to deficits, and drastically reducing employment. Panicked lefties online are squealing that the report merely states that people will choose to leave the workforce, not that Obamacare will directly kill jobs, per se. Good luck with that argument. Over the next few years, millions fewer Americans will get up in the morning and go to work because of Obamacare's impact on the economy. The report's authors have concluded that the healthcare reform discourages work. That's horrible, unspinnable news. Attempts to spin it will sound desperate and tone deaf. The public will not buy "less people working" as anything other than bad news. Ross Douthat elaborates on Todd's point about the law "feeling" as if it's raising taxes (beyond, you know, the taxes -- including the Mother Tax):
Another note from the CBO document: Democrats touted a $900 billion price tag for the law in 2010, citing a cynically-manufactured CBO score. What will the first ten years of Obamacare cost now that it's in full swing? More than $2 trillion. Beyond that, the government's projected Obamacare enrollment total for 2014 has dropped by one million people. Paul Ryan's office also notes that on our current path, the annual deficit is expect to shrink to "only" $514 billion next year (Bush's average deficit was in the neighborhood of $250 billion, even with two active wars), but it will begin a steady climb after 2015, hitting $1 trillion within eight years:
CBO says in long-term "large & growing federal debt could have serious negative consequences, inc. restraining economic growth..."— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) February 4, 2014
Our short-term deficits problem isn't good. Our long-term obligations crisis is a disaster, and Democrats have no solutions to fix it -- aside from raising taxes on "the rich," which they've already done, and won't work. Kevin has more on the overall report here. I'll leave you with a reminder that we call this. All of it.
UPDATE - It seems our president has devised a stellar economic plan. Awful:
Fry cook asks Obama about getting cut back to part time b/c of Obamacare, Obama tells him Congress needs to pass a minimum wage increase— BuzzFeed Benny (@bennyjohnson) January 31, 2014
UPDATE II - "Panic:"
Panic. "@samsteinhp: is there really any reason why this frantically-convened WH call on the CBO has to be done on background?"— Sean Agnew (@seanagnew) February 4, 2014
And Byron York makes a good point. Some "fact-checkers" will need to review their facts.
With new CBO report, factcheckers will have to re-factcheck factchecks that accused GOP of misrepresentation. http://t.co/MyCGXNdOXA— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 4, 2014
UPDATE III - This is a pretty unsparing headline from Politico: "CBO: Lower enrollment, bigger job losses with Obamacare." The piece explains how low-income workers will bear the disproportionate brunt of the disappearing jobs. More:
Employment gains in next decade "will be smaller than it would have been in the absence of the ACA" http://t.co/9pFXQscDG8— Ben White (@morningmoneyben) February 4, 2014