When the Congressional Budget Office projections came out on February 4, it was exactly what yours truly expected. After all, every time the government meddles in the economy the regulations end up causing trouble, which invariably means a loss of jobs. Obamacare was not going to be an exception. The only issue was what my favorite local economist, Lance Roberts, had to say; that the CBO is always wrong. Oh, I thought, instead of 2.5 million jobs lost it will be 5 million. Sure enough, Mr. Roberts chimed in moments later with the 5 million figure.
The White House, of course, could not take this lying down, so they trotted out the chairman if the Council Of Economic Advisors to say why the loss of jobs was a good thing. Now Chairman Jason Furman is a highly educated man, but like many in the government nowadays, he has little or no experience in the practical world. But don’t let that fool you. He was lying, and he knew he was lying. I never saw him making his statements to the press (including Ed Henry, who asked the key question). I only heard his answers to Mr. Henry and the media on the radio the next morning. But I could see, in my mind’s eye, the wheels turning in his head as he stammered his way through his answer. He was obviously trying his best to say something, anything, which would make it look as if he knew what he was talking about, while saying something that he knew was an obvious falsehood.
In short, Furman’s answer can be distilled down to two things. First, when people are being laid off or having their hours reduced due to Obamacare, it is because they want to work less or not at all. It is because the only reason they were working in the first place was to get employer sponsored medical insurance. Now, he says, people can get government paid for medical insurance, so they don’t need to work. Secondly, he asserts that people now have options that they didn’t have before. This makes their situation better off. All of this is patently false.
To begin with, virtually no one is being laid off or reduced in hours voluntarily. It is happening as a result of business decisions made by employers without the input of employees who need jobs to survive. Furman’s premise seems to be that Americans don’t need food, clothing, a roof over their heads and so on, so they are willing to go without work and the food, clothing, etc., because Obamacare will pay if they get sick. This is the height of idiocy. No one with even a mere high school education would believe it. Thus, it is crazy for us to believe that someone with a string of letters a mile long after his name, i.e. Mr. Furman, would either.
A second problem is that most people don’t actually have many options after they are laid off or reduced. As one wag I encountered suggested, they had the option of starving in the park or at the zoo. More practically, they have the option of looking for another part time or full time job as needs be. It is unlikely that in an environment of a stagnating economy they will find better employment. Entrepreneurship is also probably out of the question. You don’t start a new business when you don’t have the money to fund a startup and when no one is going to buy your products if you could. Finally, there is one more simple fact; many of the people who will be laid off are middle class and supplementing their family’s primary income because of stagnant wages and increasing prices. They need that extra money just to stay even. On top of that, they will now be facing the cost of increased medical insurance premiums, which are likely to be passed on to them in whole or part by those employers who will still offer them benefits. The result: Higher costs and reduced income. No increased options there. Instead it looks more like a straightjacket.
Finally, consider one thing that the CBO possibly didn’t address in this report. With reduced employment there will be a reduced tax base. A reduced tax base means that the government will have less money to tax, which means less tax revenue. Less tax revenue means less government income, which means an increased national deficit even if spending is unchanged. But we all know that government spending is increasing at a record rate. The deal becomes even worse every day.
The simplest analysis of Furman’s lies came from Brit Hume who said his answers were “pathetic.” Hume was being polite. He probably didn’t want to say that Furman was trying to spin an elaborate lie by cloaking it in intellectual sounding trappings, while alleging “I’m smarter than you are, so obviously you don’t know what you are talking about but I do and you have no choice but to believe me.”
No one who listened to Furman could accept his statements as true, unless they are so indoctrinated that they believe anything that comes out of the mouth of a supposed experts. Thus, they are willing to accept that old adage about “who you are going to believe; the expert or your lying eyes?” Government has now taken to lying as its primary method of public relations; something that should be used as a major reason why it needs to be reduced in power and in influence.
A final item buried in the CBO report is a statement that the number of uninsured people after Obamacare is complete effective will be essentially the same as before, or perhaps more, due to the CBO’s legendary inaccuracy. In any event, the state of medical insurance coverage after the government takeover will either be as bad, or worse than it was before. In other words, we pay out all this money, further damage the economy, and practically destroy the medical profession in order to keep everything essentially as it was. Only an idiot would see this as progress.
Mark Steyn recently stated that there is no such thing as pain free liberalism. He is correct; someone always has to pay the bill. Unfortunately, in this case it is likely that everyone will have to pay the bill except the government big shots who have exempted themselves. It is a sorry state of affairs for a nation founded on the concept of popular sovereignty.