Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Cruising the Web

We really are in bizarro world. The CBO releases a report saying that Obamacare is going to lead to more and more people working part-time rather than full-time.
The Affordable Care Act will reduce the number of full-time workers by more than 2 million in coming years, congressional budget analysts said Tuesday, a finding that sent the White House scrambling to defend a law that has bedeviled President Obama for years.

After obtaining coverage through the health law, some workers may forgo employment, while others may reduce hours, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office. Low-wage workers are the most likely to drop out of the workforce as a result of the law, it said. The CBO said the law’s impact on jobs mostly would be felt after 2016....

On Tuesday, the agency released a more-detailed estimate that includes how ordinary Americans would react to those changes by employers. Some would choose to keep Medicaid rather than take a job at reduced wages. Others who typically do not work full-time would delay returning to work in order to keep subsidies for private insurance that are provided under the law.

As a result, by 2021, the number of full-time positions would be reduced by 2.3 million, the report said.

The reduction in employment from the health-care law “includes some people choosing not to work at all and other people choosing to work fewer hours than they would have in the absence of the law,” the CBO said.
So is it a good or bad thing that more people will be working part-time rather than full-time? Normally, if you're interested in economic growth, you would want people to be working full-time, right rather than subsisting on government aid, right? Well, the White House is scrambling to try to pretend that it is actually good news because people will be able to choose to work and earn less. As Allahpundit writes,
I’m done, guys. If we’ve reached the stage of welfare-state decadence where it’s a selling point for a new entitlement that it discourages able-bodied people from working, there’s no reason to keep going. We’ve lost, decisively....

Billions upon billions of dollars in economic productivity up in smoke as workers who’ve stuck with their jobs for the health insurance quit and take a subsidies check from Uncle Sam instead. To the White House, which otherwise bleats about “growth” at every opportunity, this is a feature of the law, not a bug. WaPo’s fact-checker even rushed out a piece this afternoon in defense of their position. The law’s not destroying 2.5 million jobs, says Glenn Kessler, it’s merely inviting 2.5 million employees to quit. How much does it matter to growth, though, if the labor force shrinks on the demand side versus the supply side? Will all, or most, of the vacated positions be filled by younger workers or will they evaporate as businesses downsize (or close down)? If giving people more “choice” in whether to be employed or not is now our cardinal social good, we might as well go for a guaranteed minimum income and clear out all the wage slaves. Let’s see how small we can get the labor force before the wheels come off the economy.
I feel like we need Adam Sandler at this moment.
How about asking the White House if it is such a good thing to have more people working part-time and on Medicaid, why didn't they advertise that aspect of the law when they were debating it in 2009 and 2010? Why didn't Barack Obama campaign in 2012 about this marvelous change he has brought to the American economy? And, heck, if 2.5 million more people quitting full-time jobs is a good thing, why stop there? Why not add millions and millions more to the glories of a lifetime of part-time work accompanied by government subsidies? Why should we want anyone working full-time? Bizarro world, indeed.

The CBO analysis was just looking at the impact of subsidies on employee behavior. It doesn't even look at how the employer mandate which requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to offer health insurance for employees will affect the balance of part-time and full-time employees. If incentives govern the behavior of individuals, wouldn't it also govern the behavior of business-owners? They're individuals, right? But the Democrats who designed this monstrosity seemed to have left the behavior of people in response to disincentives and incentives out of their planning.

And that wasn't the only damaging bit of analysis from the CBO report. John Podhoretz thinks that the non-partisan office is delivering a death blow to Obamacare.
One killer detail comes on Page 111, where the report projects: “As a result of the ACA, between 6 million and 7 million fewer people will have employment-based insurance coverage each year from 2016 through 2024 than would be the case in the absence of the ACA.”

ObamaCare’s key selling point was that it would give coverage to a significant number of the 30-plus million Americans who lack it. Now the CBO is telling the American people that a decade from now, 6 million-plus of their countrymen won’t get health care through their employers who otherwise would have.

Even more damaging is this projection: “About 31 million nonelderly residents of the United States are likely to be without health insurance in 2024, roughly one out of every nine such residents.”
Why? Because, in selling the bill to the American people in a nationally televised September 2009 address, President Obama said the need for ObamaCare was urgent precisely because “there are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage.”

Now the CBO is saying is that in 10 years, about the same number of people will lack insurance as before. This, after new expenditures of as much as $2 trillion and a colossal disruption of the US medical system.

Jason Riley points out how Obama is lying about the results of programs that have involved school vouchers. I guess he just figures that he can make up any results he wants. And Democrats call themselves the party that respects science? Meanwhile the education blogger at the Washington Post links to a story from my neck in the woods to bash charter schools. The article complains that there are more and more charter schools coming to Durham County, here in North Carolina. The article moans that charters in NC tend to be in urban areas and implies that that is because the local per-pupil allotments are higher there. Might it not be because there are more children in urban areas? I bet there are more regular public schools in urban areas than in rural counties. The WP blogger moans about the growth of charters. Absent from any of this distress is any discussion of whether the students are getting a good or even better education at those charter schools or any assessment of the education provided at the regular public schools. That might actually be relevant to any discussion of the growth of charter schools. Also absent is any recognition of why parents might prefer to send their children to charters. It's rather ironic for the WP blogger to be concerned about the growing number of charter students in Durham when the District Columbia has 44% of its children in charter schools and the number keeps increasing.

It's all relevant to my week at my charter school where we're holding open houses for 8th grade parents to find out about our school. We typically get about 10 times as many applicants as we have spots. Maybe education specialists should look at what is being done right at charters rather than fighting to stymie their growth.

Lee Goodman, a Republican and the chairman of the FEC, writes today how democratic members of the FEC is trying to regulate the content of TV news shows.

The WSJ asks a good question: if, as President Obama told Bill O'Reilly, there was no corruption in the IRS targeting of conservative groups, why is Lois Lerner invoking the Fifth Amendment?

Roger Simon diagnoses why the NYT editorial page is so boring. "To adopt what is becoming a modern cliché — it’s the ideology, stupid."

Hosting the Olympics in Sochi isn't turning out to be the PR coup for Putin that he might have hoped. That's what happens when western reporters arrive and note the lack of preparedness and miserable conditions there.