The Latest Lie: “Obamacare Kills 2 Million Jobs”

Dave Johnson

On Tuesday the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report saying 2 million-plus people who are only working in order to get health care will finally be able to leave those jobs thanks to the Affordable Care Act. This will open up badly needed jobs.

The right’s propaganda machine immediately kicked into full speed with the lie, “Obamacare kills 2 million jobs.” This lie shows again who they are and how they constantly work to trick people.

The CBO Report

The 175-page CBO report is titled “The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024.” Appendix C, “Labor Market Effects of the Affordable Care Act: Updated Estimates” says that workers will “choose to supply less labor” that “represents a decline in the number of full-time-equivalent workers of about 2.0 million in 2017, rising to about 2.5 million in 2024.”

A bit later it says, “The estimated reduction stems almost entirely from a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply, rather than from a net drop in businesses’ demand for labor, so it will appear almost entirely as a reduction in labor force participation and in hours worked relative to what would have occurred otherwise rather than as an increase in unemployment (that is, more workers seeking but not finding jobs) or underemployment (such as part-time workers who would prefer to work more hours per week).” (Emphasis ours.)

Translation: Millions of people will finally be free to choose to work rather than be forced into a job as the only way they can get insurance. So they will leave those jobs, opening them up for others. (It also says this reduction of people needing jobs will help drive wages up.)

The Lie

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) put out a press release, “This Non-Partisan Congressional Budget Office Report Confirms That ObamaCare Will Cost America 2 Million Jobs,” that said, “ObamaCare is a massive burden on the economy” and “ObamaCare will push approximately 2 million workers out of the labor market.”

Senate Republican Leader McConnell’s office said, “Obamacare to print even more pink slips.”

In Utah, “Senator Orrin Hatch says the New CBO Report Demonstrates Impact of Job-Killing Health Law.

Rep. Paul Ryan said this shows that the health care law is a “poverty trap.”

The right’s propaganda machine kicked into gear.

The Heritage Foundation experimented with various angles to see if any would catch on, such as “Explosive Report: How Obamacare Will Drive People Out of the Workforce,” “CBO Report: Millions Will Lose Employment-Based Health Insurance,” and “You Won’t Believe How Many Working Hours Obamacare Is Killing.”

Fox News weighed in with “ObamaCare could lead to loss of nearly 2.3 million US jobs, report says.”

The Washington Times wrongly reported, “Obamacare will push 2 million workers out of labor market: CBO.”

RedState also tried out several approaches: “The @NYTimes Touts 2.5 Million Full Time Job Losses as a Win,” and “ObamaCare Will Cost America More Than Two Million Jobs.”

Human Events screamed, “OBAMACARE: 2.5 MILLION MORE JOBS LOST, ANOTHER TRILLION IN DEFICIT SPENDING.”

Investor’s Business Daily went with “Creating Killing Millions Of Jobs.”

D.C.-elite pundits also ran with this line.

Politico, “Obamacare and jobs: CBO adds fuel to fire“,: “The Republicans just got a big gift from the Congressional Budget Office: It’s going to be a lot easier for them to call Obamacare a ‘job killer.’ “

Dana Milbank: “Obamacare’s scorekeepers deliver a game-changer“: “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.”

Chris Cillizza posted “The worst headline for Democrats this year,” and then after clarifications on what the CBO report said, posted “Why the CBO report is (still) bad news for Democrats.” It is noteworthy to understand his attitude on reporting the truth:

My job is to assess not the rightness of each argument but to deal in the real world of campaign politics in which perception often (if not always) trumps reality. I deal in the world as voters believe it is, not as I (or anyone else) thinks it should be.

Regular media around the country picked up the lie.

The Wheeling Intelligencer,” Health Law Killing Jobs – It’s the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time positions, feds say.

CNBC, “CBO nearly triples estimate of working hours lost by 2021 due to Affordable Care Act“: “A historically high number of people will be locked out of the workforce by 2021, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office released Tuesday.”

And of course, all of right-wing radio etc. went with the lie, blasting it out.

“Make Them Work”

The spin that Obamacare reduces “incentives to work” and is a “handout” conforms to the general Republican “make them work” mindset (especially prevalent in the old “slave states”). They believe that Americans are lazy and you have to make them work. They say the government must cut food assistance to make them work. They say the government must cut unemployment benefits to make them work. They say you have to make people less “comfortable” or they won’t work.

Of course, Republicans also drive down wages and reduce workers’ rights and job safety so many people are forced into terrible, low-paying, dangerous and unrewarding situations. What would have gone to wages or safety can then go into the pockets of a few people at the top.

People don’t want to take minimum-wage jobs with humiliating conditions? No problem, drive up unemployment so people are desperate to take anything they can get. Make them work. Make them accept less and less. Use the filibuster to block efforts to do something about offshoring. Filibuster efforts to spend on maintaining our infrastructure. Block efforts to raise the minimum wage. Filibuster efforts to revive long-term unemployment assistance. Filibuster everything that might help people get jobs.

And especially relevant right now: Use “trade” deals to force jobs out of the country, drive down wages and get government out of the way of the billionaires and their corporations.

This Is What They Do

They just lie. How many times have Republicans been caught just lying in an effort to trick the public into supporting their efforts to drive down wages and otherwise push the country’s income and wealth from We the People to A Few Wealthy People?

When do We the People – and the supposedly “responsible” media – say “enough is enough”?

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