Ethics Quiz: How Do We React Ethically To THIS?

"Oh, Naaaaancy! Naaaancy!

“Oh, Naaaaancy! Naaaancy!

Today,the Congressional Budget Office made this announcement, as reported by The Hill:

“The new healthcare law will cost the nation the equivalent of 2.5 million workers in the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated in a report released Tuesday. The nonpartisan agency found the healthcare law’s negative effects on the economy would be “substantially larger” than what it had previously anticipated. It said the equivalent of 2.3 million workers would be lost by 2021, compared to its previous estimate of 800,000. It also projected that labor force compensation would be reduced by 1 percent from 2017 to 2024 — twice its previous estimate — and that declining economic growth would add $1 trillion more to deficits.”

Well, of course. We, and by we I mean intelligent, objective people who pay attention to history and know how government programs work, knew this revelation, or some version of it, was coming along sooner or later. And yet, when the Affordable Care Act was being debated and railroaded through Congress–and that is a fair description of the strong-arm, gimmick-driven, dishonest and anti-Democratic manner in which  it was passed—critics who said the law would increase the deficit and the debt, not reduce them; that it would lose jobs, not create them, and that it would retard economic growth, not boost it were savaged by the media, commentators and Democrats, called obstructionists, cruel, liars and worse.

I particularly remember MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, arguably the most credible of her far left colleagues, furiously railing, while serving as a reporter at the Republican National Convention, about the utter dishonesty of GOP speakers who kept saying—in defiance of the CBO projections, mind you!—that the AFA would increase the deficit, not reduce it. Chris Matthews, to give credit where it’s due, intervened and said, in essence, ‘Well, now Rachel, you have to admit that the record of big federal programs has not been good in this respect.’ No, she wouldn’t admit it.

Neither would the indignant commenters on this blog, who lectured me about how I just didn’t understand the graphs and calculations. I thought I was going crazy then, and I feel that even more so now. Remember this post about the Barbara Tuchman’s “The March of Folly”, which recounted the history of doomed enterprises that kept barreling onward, long after everyone knew, or should have known, they were doomed? I wrote:

“For this is what the bitter-enders regarding the Affordable Care Act have become. Because the absurdly flawed and over-reaching legislation was well-intentioned, and because it was sincerely designed to help people who need and deserve help, and because the hearts of those who rammed it through the process, ignoring warnings, systemic checks and balances, prudence and common sense, were pure, the law just has to work. Former White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs literally said this to David Gregory on “Meet the Press” this morning. There’s just no choice, he said. The administration just has to make it work, that’s all. Anyone who has read Tuchman, or who has been alive longer than Justin Bieber, should get chills to hear sentiments like that.”

Nancy Pelosi, in her recent humiliating appearance on “The Daily Show” where she was deservedly mocked by Jon Stewart (but still not enough), is still in this mode. Pelosi is the one who rammed the ACA through the House, swore that it would create jobs, insisted that it would reduce the deficit, and that once we knew what was in the law, we would all see how wonderful it was. Well, now that we see what is in the law, we can see that 1) it doesn’t work; 2) we were lied to; 3) it won’t reduce the deficit or create jobs. And what does Pelosi—who, I have to say in full disclosure, must be the most infuriating political leader in my lifetime—say as Stewart shows himself to be aghast that she has no idea why the Healthcare.gov website is so pathetic?

This:

“But I will say this, we worked very hard to honor our responsibility to pass the bill that honors the vowels of our founders: life, a healthier life, liberty to pursue your happiness….So for us, this vision that we have, this actual legislation that makes life better for people was our contribution to the future.”

But nobody CARES how hard you worked, you stupid, stupid, STUPID and dishonest woman, when what you came up with doesn’t accomplish what you promised it would, YOUR GOVERNMENT IS TOO INCOMPETENT to administer it, and the actual legislation is going to do more harm than good, JUST AS  SO MANY PEOPLE WERE TRYING TO TELL YOU FOUR YEARS AGO!!!

Arhhhhhghh!!!!

OK, OK, I’m trying to get a grip.

Breath, Jack. Breath.

I’m calming down, now.

There.

Whew.

Almost stroked out ….

So now we know how those who inflicted this epic legislative, fiscal and social disaster on the nation are going to react: denial, blame-shifting, and full-speed ahead. (The ethical response: “We are so,so sorry. We wee wrong.”) We will not see an ethical reaction from the perps. The Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz for today involves everyone else:

What is the proper, reasonable, ethical response of critics who were attacked and mocked for their accurate claims that the promised benefits of the Affordable Care Act were lies, hopes, smoke and mirrors?

I really want to know.

  • Anger?  Fury?
  • A calm, cooperative, “We are all in this together; lets’ fix the problem!”?
  • Forgiveness? 
  • “Hey, anyone can make a mistake!”?
  • “It’s your mess, you clean it up, and may you rot in Hell for the lies you told”?
  • “I told you so”? 
  • “We will never trust you again”?

What is the mature, reasonable, patriotic, civilly responsible response after people who we are supposed to trust  proposed doing something expensive, risky and foolish, were told that it was expensive, risky and foolish and why, not only ignored the counter-arguments but ridiculed them, used unethical tactics, including lies, to get the program approved, completely botched it one it was approved, and now resolutely refuse to admit they were wrong while making brain-melting statements like Pelosi’s? Because grabbing an ax and running amuck in Congress dispatching as many Democrats as I can before I am brought down in a hail of bullets is, I think, after some consideration and on balance, unethical.

I think.

_____________________

Sources: The Hill, Real Clear Politics

72 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz: How Do We React Ethically To THIS?

  1. The reasonable and ethical response is we will offer to try to counteract the damage that has been done by eliminating penalties and mandates. This will serve to settle several questions that is creating fear and instability in the market place. If that is not an acceptable beginning point then we will have no choice but to continue our opposition to the plan and offer our own to the American people.

    I must say that I really liked the bolded Red and Black sections. That is how I feel but rationality must prevail.

  2. Ugh….do I have to pick just one? Anger and fury first. It’s not unethical to be angry and furious that we were lied to by people who aren’t supposed to lie to us. Then we have to get to work fixing the problem because that’s the ethical thing to do for our present and future generations. Sadly, it must be done with the mutual cooperation of those responsible for this mess which is also the ethical thing to do. But that doesn’t mean we trust them. It’s not unethical to distrust those who’ve proven themselves untrustworthy. In fact, it’s pretty darn smart.

    • I’d be really surprised if the people responsible for the mess will be cooperative in any way shape or form, and furthermore I won’t be at all surprised if they dig in, double down, and refuse to ever address it honestly. The one single degree of trust I have in them is trust that they will never back down and never admit a mistake and will always obstruct any efforts by others to do it.

  3. Hmmm . . . “Because grabbing an ax and running amuck in Congress dispatching as many Democrats as I can before I am brought down in a hail of bullets is, I think, after some consideration and on balance, unethical.” I am not sure that it is unethical, but assuming without deciding that it is, I would suggest that we run them out of town on a rail. Perhaps the 2014 mid-term elections will have that result, though I am not confident about that given our collective memory is pretty shallow.

    • Well using an axe is unethical because inefficiency is unethical- really, for the average person, a bat would do just as well. Maybe a bat with a nail in it.

  4. Channeling Glenn Reynolds: “Tar, Feathers: Some assembly required” Ok, so I wouldn’t be willing to use hot tar for it. I still can’t decide if Debbie Wasserman Schultz or Nancy Pelosi is more deserving as a dishonest Obamacare booster. Both have revealed themselves longs since to be unfamiliar with reality.

    • I wanted to add, after reading her discussion with Stewart: Neither of them actually understood what they were asking for. As a computer tech, I routinely deal with people making decisions without understanding. It does not work well. People’s intuitions about what is easy and what is hard are badly wrong.

      • Pelosi, as a legislator, is in fact not responsible for administering the law. She is responsible for foisting a bad law that she didn’t do her due diligence on, using false representations. Stewart was, I think, pointing out that she accepted no further accountability, and was infuriating incurious about how the law she captained was faring.

        • Sometimes what legislators pass amounts to trying to alter reality. She wasn’t responsible for implementing it. She was responsible for passing a law that wasn’t actually implementable in the real world. I think the line that stuck out was: ” ‘Okay, we are going to set up a health care web site that is an exchange. People are going to come to it.’ Why is it so hard to get a company to execute that competently?” The law required so much more than that. A site which links together private information from numerous sources for verification, handles payments, allows appeals, does so securely, and handles millions of people is hard. Not saying it’s impossible, and Obama is much more responsible for the failures, but they seemed to assume it was an easy task that was failed.

          • Man, I wish there was an edit function, even a temporary one. Wanted to indicate that it may have been impossible to implement with the time and budget provided, even if it’s nominally achievable without those constraints.

    • That’s highly debatable. No work, no taxes, no growth. The main point is still that the projections were wrong, we knew it, and yet the lie that they would be accurate carried the day.

      • I’m not a huge fan of Obamacare as it stands today, I was much more in favor of single-payer myself. However, with that said, since the law has been implemented, I do know more than a few working poor who could never have afforded insurance before, and now can. One person I know in that situation, during her first routine checkup in years, just found a cancerous mole, which they have hopefully caught in time. The law isn’t perfect, I personally would change many things about it, but it is better than the system we had before, and it is saving lives.

        • “Saving lives” is only a good deal if there aren’t more costs than that number of lives are worth. The argument that the law is doing some good, and that’s good enough regardless of everything else, is pretty stunning. Bad policy too. There are individual stories of the loss of insurance, jobs, affordable options costing lives. Yes, it was dishonest, and yes, it’s badly managed, and yes, its going to cost a trillion dollars we don’t have, and yes, people are going to lose jobs and coverage and pay more, but some people will get insurance that wouldn’t have anyway, so its all worth it. That’s really rational to you? I have a hard time believing that.

          • What’s more, simple expansion of Medicare and Medicaid would have accomplished most of this “they have insurance when they didn’t before”, without massive increases in governmental power, vast over-reach, and burdensome, crushing mountains of regulations, mandates, and taxes.

          • The CBO report actually found that Obamacare will reduce the deficit by a trillion over the next twenty years, and cover a net 25 million with insurance over the same time period: http://cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/45010-Outlook2014.pdf

            It also found that that Obamacare premiums were cheaper than originally predicted. People who previously were chained to jobs because they had a pre-existing condition, and knew that if they left that they could never find insurance again now can leave jobs they don’t want, go into business on their own, or retire early. People who are still looking for work can avail themselves of those newly opened spaces. Seems like win/win all around.

            • The CBO report actually found that Obamacare will reduce the deficit by a trillion over the next twenty years,

              That is 50 billion a year, or (if you assume 2011 spending rates which, btw, they won’t be that low) about 5 days of federal spending.

              Oh, and insurers have had to narrow networks to reduce costs and increase their bargaining power. They have had to do so by some 70%, meaning the odds are very good thatthe specialist you have been seeing for years on the insurance you have magically been able to keep isn’t covered any more. So now you will pay more. Congrats.

              It also found that that Obamacare premiums were cheaper than originally predicted.

              If I tell you that something you are required to buy is going to cost 4 times what you would otherwise pay, and it ends up only costing 3 times more, it isn’t exactly honest to say “it was cheaper than predicted” – you are still paying a fuckton.

              And the “cheaper” part comes from, btw, the fact that fewer doctors are in your network.

              Your “win-win” sucks dong.

    • Also, you are suggesting that people ceasing to work, and thus becoming a net drag on the system is somehow a good thing.

      The people have dropped from the “I contribute to the pool” side to the “I require the government thing” side and are thus a net negative.

      Don’t praise the people who have knowingly become a burden.

  5. Well the British Parliament by and large couldn’t say no to Mad King George (aside from a few lonely voices). Hopefully as The Who sang “We won’t get fooled again!” Time for the Republicans and thoughtful Democrats to take a chain saw to the dead oak of Obamacare.

    • He wasn’t mad, he had a pre-existing condition (porphyria, which sometimes affected his grip on things – though not until later in his reign). And parliament responded quite sensibly by getting an Act of Regency passed.

      • Porphyria, which causes paranoia, depression, occasional hallucinations, and other general uncontrolled mental disorders and disturbances.

        And the 1st definition of mad is: disordered in the mind.

        So, “Mad King George” is way easier to say than “Porphyritic King George” and just as accurate.

  6. “What is the proper, reasonable, ethical response of critics who were attacked and mocked for their accurate claims that the promised benefits of the Affordable Care Act were lies, hopes, smoke and mirrors?”

    To say “I was right but can take no pleasure in it”.

      • Followed by venting to friends, and after the emotion subsides applying reason to the public business.

        Frustrating? Nobody said being a good citizen was going to be easy.

        The CBO report is surprisingly easy to read and actually undermines both sides’s narratives. Reading it is a good start.

  7. We make sure the truth gets out, we educate those we can, and we vote against those who voted for this foolishness. Unfortunately we are stuck with Obama until 2017, but there is no way his chosen successor should be allowed into power with these facts known. The fact that this passed the SCOTUS nd that the people were gulled into voting him back into power means not a damn thing in the long run.

  8. The job loss numbers need to be looked at as part of the larger picture. What if we truly came up with clean, renewable energy? Should we not embrace it because WV will suffer? What about government contracts? Should we still order 1000 obsolete missiles each year to protect jobs? I personally feel that an entire industry built to do nothing but deny or approve payment for medical treatment is immoral — it hurts doctors, hospitals, and citizens. The only societal benefit is that it is a massive jobs program. But hey, I’m not anti-jobs programs, but useful ones would be appreciated.

    • “The job loss numbers need to be looked at as part of the larger picture. What if we truly came up with clean, renewable energy? Should we not embrace it because WV will suffer?”

      Not analogous. If the market wants clean renewable energy, the market will jump on it, and WV’ers will move elsewhere. The government mandating ‘clean’ renewable energy on a market that doesn’t want it? That’s more analogous.

      “What about government contracts? Should we still order 1000 obsolete missiles each year to protect jobs?”

      Nope. Subsidies are generally no good for the general market either, nor is unholy marriage between government and contractors that Ike so prophetically warned us about. Of course, if you don’t like government imposition on business and the market and the government being in bed with certain industries, you really ought not to kike the idea of the government being in bed with the medical industry… so this isn’t really a good point to mention for your stance…

      ” I personally feel that an entire industry built to do nothing but deny or approve payment for medical treatment is immoral — it hurts doctors, hospitals, and citizens. The only societal benefit is that it is a massive jobs program. But hey, I’m not anti-jobs programs, but useful ones would be appreciated.”

      Let’s see, an entire industry that decides what to approve or deny is immoral… but the government isn’t of it were in that role. You have a funny set of inconsistent values…

      Here’s a solution: the free market. Proven time and time again to REDUCE costs, INCREASE quality, and EXPAND supply to the lower socio economic strata….

  9. If there’s one thing we need to learn: whatever the CBO projects, it will be worse than that.

    Also, Jack, I don’t know of you plan on commenting on that joke of an interview by Bill O’Reilly with the President…

    Where it’s essentially Fox News’ fault the Presidemt has scandals….

    • I read it before. I went back and read Nancy’s statements in 2009, too. The ACA was going to grow the economy, add jobs, and reduce the deficit. The Post is just spinning one part of the report to distract from the rest. The bottom line is—and I went around and around with Barry on this—as everyone should have known, the ACA will increase, not decrease (as promised) the deficit.

      When someone gets fired, we say that they lose their job. When someone quits, they no longer have a job. Yes, the distinction is real, but fewer workers, which the CBO says will result, means fewer jobs. A job with no one in it isn’t a job until someone is working.

      Honestly:

      “…the CBO declares that “there is no compelling evidence that part-time employment has increased as a result of the ACA,” though it notes the data may be murky because the employer mandate was delayed until 2015.”

      Ya think???

      “All things being equal, in a normally functioning economy, the total demand for jobs would equal 95 percent of the supply of jobs. So advocates of the Affordable Care Act should not jump to the conclusion that departing workers will be simply replaced by other workers. In fact, competition for workers will initially lead to upward pressure on wages. But over time, the nation does end up with a slightly smaller economy.”

      ???? The ACA was NOT sold as leading to a SMALLER economy. Not at all.

      Finally, we should note that the figures (2 million, etc.) are shorthand for full-time equivalent workers — a combination of two conclusions: fewer people looking for work and some people choosing to work fewer hours. The CBO added those two things and produced a hard number, but it actually does not mean 2 million fewer workers. (This is also off a base of more than 160 million people, meaning the number of fewer workers is a relatively small percentage of the overall pie.)

      Nevertheless, fewer workers and fewer jobs. So what if they were not “killed”? This is not the result that was arrogantly, abrasively, defiantly and insultingly sold to the public. Was it?

      “In fact, no one really knows what percentage will leave the work force entirely and what percentage will shift to part-time work, making it difficult to predict how this will shake out in the end.”

      Right. I think, frankly,Kessler was ordered to carry the Administration talking points because he was so hard on Obama’s SOTUM. This is political spin, Charles. Just enough to give bitter enders something to hold on to. Eventually, there won’t be anything. I’m just wondering what it will take for true believers to admit to themselves, “Yes, I was hornswoggled.”

      • Jack,

        You say, “fewer workers, which the CBO says will result, means fewer jobs.”

        No, it doesn’t.

        Economics 101. Workers = supply; jobs = demand.

        If there are 100 jobs in an economy, and 110 workers, and a law reduces the willing worker population to 105, that has absolutely no impact on jobs. The CBO report, as the article notes, takes great pains to make this distinction, which you’re nonetheless driving over with a bulldozer.

        Fewer workers means lower unemployment and/or higher wages (in our currently under-employed economy, the former is much more likely).

        You’re falling into the trap that deficit-mongers have been making in recent years, the belief that somehow supply drives demand. It doesn’t, never has, never will.

        The right criticism based on the CBO report is to suggest it enables free-loading. (I think it’s minimal, but unquestionably any subsidy drives things in that direction). That would at least be a viable criticism.

        The belief that fewer workers willing to work somehow means that General Motors or Microsoft is going to pull their help wanted ads is just backwards. If anything, they’ll increase the effort to find workers to find the same jobs.

        • Workers as in “people who are working,” not workers as in “people who want to work.” We are simply looking at the same coin from different sides. As far as the number of people actually working in actual jobs, and how much tax revenue can be collected from those workers, how many ads GM runs is irrelevant. In a tiny country with just one job to be done and all the tax revenue dependent on that one job, if the one worker retires and nobody takes his place, the tax revenue drops 100%. Would you say “It makes no difference—the job is still there?”

          • Jack, you’re not applying the brainpower you have to this one.

            You say: ‘ if the one worker retires and nobody takes his place, the tax revenue drops 100%.” Yes, and if pigs could fly, rainbows would come out your butt.

            That is NOT our situation. You describe a situation with 110 jobs and 100 workers. In such a situation, you’d be right. But today, we have an excess of workers – not jobs. We have 110 workers, and 100 jobs. In the real world we’re living in, if one person drops out of the workforce, there are hundreds others to take their place.

            The net tax loss is nowhere near 100%. Conceivably there is a tax loss, but it’s limited to the difference between the subsidy available to a less-than-full-time worker and a full-time worker. Not trivial, but nowhere near 100%.

            This is not a hard concept to grasp, Jack; I see people getting drawn into the furious, non-thinking headlines on this issue just as much as on Christie-gate. Relax; take a deep breath; read the actual CBO report again. They took great pains to write it precisely so that people would NOT fall into the trap you seem to be falling into.

            • Your statement would be accurate if employers were hiring to replace those workers.

              But they aren’t.

              We know they aren’t because they tell us that they aren’t. Or they replace someone with a part-time person that doesn’t contribute in taxes what a full-time worker would.

              But hey, it is totally awesome for the government to incentivize people to work less. There is no way that could end poorly.

              • Scott,

                I have no idea how to respond to someone who baldly asserts a falsehood with no backup data.

                “f employers were hiring to replace those workers. But they aren’t.”

                A falling unemployment rate and a rising employment level says they are. That’s my data. Where’s your proof that they’re not?

                For that matter, where’s your proof of specific employers not replacing those who quit? The few who claim to do so are either lying (they’ll turn around and hire back after they’ve spewed their ideological venom) or are terrible capitalists, because they let their hiring be done by workers choosing to work, or not work. (I’d love to find such an employer, one who lets me have a job or not, depending solely on whether i want it – can you point one out to me? I suspect they’re unicorns.

                Seriously: what employer do you know lets their employment level be determined solely by whether a particular worker wants to keep a job or not?

                • A falling unemployment rate and a rising employment level says they are.

                  We have a falling unemployment rate because we have a labor force participation rate that is worse than it was in 1978. When you have millions and millions leaving the labor force entirely, you get a drop in unemployment. That is the only reason we have such a low unemployment rate.

                  Think on this – if the unemployment situation were actually improving as Obama lies says it is, why would we need to yet further extend unemployment benefits? Both conditions cannot be true.

                  Seriously, do you even think about the bullshit you spout, or is it like a trance? I’m just wondering.

            • What trap, Charles?

              Here’s the same sources—the Post, today—on the CBO report:

              “The CBO figures that by 2024 a combination of ACA-related factors will discourage some 2.5 million people from working full-time. Workers will limit their hours to stay eligible for government health-care subsidies. Employers who have to pay penalties for declining to offer insurance will restrain paychecks, making it easier for people to decide to stay home. The cumulative effect is slightly slower economic growth over the next decade. This trend is not good, but it’s far from the highest hurdle the economy faces. It’s also not a matter of millions getting fired: “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.” But the ACA is not about maximizing economic growth; it is about maximizing a different factor in human welfare: the health-care coverage rate.”

              Here we have a blatant rationalization (Comparative virtue–yes, it makes things worse, but things are already bad) and a shameless misrepresentation: “But the ACA is not about maximizing economic growth; it is about maximizing a different factor in human welfare: the health-care coverage rate.”

              Excuse ME? It was sold on the basis that it would do BOTH, and very explicitly too.

              Your defensiveness is confirmation bias. You are focusing on nit-picking terminology rather than admitting the key fact: the ACA, based on the current CBO report, and who knows how accurate THAT is–makes the economy worse, not better…a little, a lot, I don’t care. The happy projections I (and others) were mocked for being dubious about were, in fact, wrong, as anyone could have predicted they would be if they were honest and realistic.

          • Jack,

            Your favorite Nobel economist has chimed in on this, and of course he completely contradicts you.

            In your first paragraph, you say the CBO report talks about 2 million jobs lost. It doesn’t, of course; it talks about 2 million workers lost. And like Austrian supply-side thinkers, you fall into the trap of thinking that one always causes the other, regardless of economic conditions. Which is false.

            Here’s Krugman, whom I know you love to hate:

            CBO, wich has been burned before on this sort of thing, really needs to be more careful in how it states things — a lot of the press ran with the headline “Obamacare costs 2 million jobs”, and it will become part of what everyone on the right “knows”, yet is totally untrue. First of all, we’re mainly talking about reduced hours rather than quitting the work force. Second, as Greg Sargent and Jonathan Cohn try to explain, we’re talking about a voluntary, supply-side response here — people choosing to work less — not about job destruction.”

            Please don’t fall into the trap of merely insulting Krugman for the Nth time; try to listen to what the man is saying, namely “a voluntary supply-side job response here, not about job destruction.”

            Less workers. Not less jobs. Workers. Not jobs.

            Only in a time of overheatred economy would less workers mean fewer jobs. In today’s economy, fewer workers only means slightly less longer lines at the postings for the few that are hiring.

            Seriously, you are letting the tone on this one sound like the Daily News on Chris Christie.

            • And the CBO’s Elmendorf told the House Budget Committee that Obamacare “creates a disincentive for people to work”.

              Which is, in fact, not good.

              Why you think it isn’t bad is beyond me.

              No, wait. It’s because you’re a moron. When your position is supported by Krugman, you need to reconsider your position.

              • Scott, you ask a question but you’re clearly not serious.

                “Why you think it isn’t bad is beyond me.”

                First, I said it may be partly bad and explained why. Rather than proudly proclaiming your ignorance, you might try reading the answer.

                Second, it’s nowhere near as bad as you seem to think it is, as is explained by Krugman. Who, typically, you also refuse to read, on the apparent general principle that it is better to engage in ad hominem attacks than to ever descend to actual content.

                If you’ve actually got a point to make, make it.

                Calling people morons is at best tasteless, at worst the last resort of the feeble-minded. Leave name-calling to the second-graders.

                • I don’t read Krugman because he’s an idiot. I don’t watch Michael Moore movies either, but I’m pretty sure I can reliably predict what he says, how he will say it, and how he will unethically frame what few opposing views he does include.

                  Krugman’s “reduced hours” means less tax revenue from wages.

                  And the “people choosing to work less” is due to the ACA – from the mouth of a man at the CBO testifying in front of a Congressional Committee – creating “a disincentive for people to work”.

                  • “I don’t read Krugman because he’s an idiot.”

                    Being uneducated is a condition which can be remedied. Willful ignorance is a moral failing.

                    For you to call him “an idiot” in one sentence, and then in the next sentence purport to explain why he’s in error on the piece you refuse to read, is just willful ignorance. Krugman in fact deals directly with your (misinterpreted) claim. But then, you’ll never know that because you already know better.

                    I’m done with this sham of a “dialog.”

              • “And the CBO’s Elmendorf told the House Budget Committee that Obamacare “creates a disincentive for people to work”.”

                And… that is a feature not a bug. Net receivers are part of the far-left’s core constituency.

  10. I think I’m going to stick with a combination of smug fury and wounded pride. I had a gaggle of geese tell me I was clearly brainwashed by the teabaggers for insisting that a law which increased demand and reduced supply of actual medical care could in NO WAY cut costs for said medical care. I’m still following Ben Carson’s work in fixing the problem – I don’t know if he’ll make any headway, but I figure he’s got the best chance of anyone I’ve seen to come up with a workable solution.

  11. OK, the MSM has finally lighted on “removes 2.3 million full-time workers from the economy,” or at least that’s how Dana Milbank, rising and reigning WAPO liberal mouthpiece, is putting it. Now, I’m not even going to keep asking Charles how removing 2.3 million full-time workers from the economy, can be accomplished without also removing their jobs from the workplace too, until someone fills them–but if one is filled, then statistically only 2.3 million minus ONE is missing, but never mind, never mind—the best spin possible has been bestowed on what is STILL, damn it, not one of the results that the dewy-eyed Pete Seeger-ditty-singers who rammed this monstrosity down America’s bloody throat promised or, in their own incompetence and laziness, expected. Is THAT fair?

    • Jack, you are completely around the bend on this one. I’m going to come back in a few months when things have calmed down to talk with you about it, but I’ll vainly make one last attempt.

      If 2 million people leave jobs they only took to get insurance benefits in the first place, they will still get the benefits (kind of the whole point of the law), the jobs still exist, someone else from the many-more-millions-unemployed will take their jobs. The payment for the insurance is shifting, that’s the whole point – but the JOBS are not going away.

      You STILL seem to believe, in this last comment, as you said in your first paragraph, that the CBO is predicting the loss of 2.3 million JOBS. I don’t know how to say it more plainly: you’re WRONG, it DOESN’T SAY THAT, it beggars logic to think it would say that, THINK IT THROUGH. Or just READ IT again, whatever.

      WHY is this so hard to get? If I quit my job (that I took only to get benefits anyway) – then what in the world is preventing my employer from replacing me? Nothing!! (I suppose you could argue my employer was functioning as a charitable institution all along; 2.3 million cases of charity, funded by your generous private sector, finally relieved of the burden…but come on…)

      There is this whole right-wing updraft of hysterical rush to condemn, that occasionally gets out of control. This is the worst I’ve seen. And you, Jack, who I know to be an intelligent and discerning, very sharp, person, it has gotten you to be literally asking the following nonsensical question, and I quote you:

      “How removing 2.3 million full-time workers from the economy, can be accomplished without also removing their jobs from the workplace too?”

      Read that again Jack. It’s obvious. Someone quitting a job doesn’t mean a job goes away. Ten people quitting jobs doesn’t mean ten jobs go away. Ditto for 2 million.

      Suppose a thousand workers died in a horrible accident. Does that destroy a thousand jobs? No. Suppose ten thousand workers retire. Does that mean ten thousand jobs have suddenly disappeared? No. Suppose 2.3 million people who worked only to get insurance suddenly don’t need to, and they quit. Does that mean 2.3 million jobs are lost? NO!! And the CBO never said so either, go back and READ IT.

      The big picture of Obamacare is that we’re at least moving from the post-WWII linkage of employers and healthcare that got accidentally put in place. We’re linking it now directly to people, and we’re saying everyone has to get it. That, plus income cross-subsidies, means a whole lot of people who took jobs only to get healthcare are not going to stay in those jobs; and by the way, a whole lot of employers are not going to have to pay for those expensive employees either. The burden has shifted from employers to the public – again, kind of the whole point!

      The one argument someone COULD have with all this is that income cross-subsidization encourages freeloading. Inevitably there is some of that, and reasonable people can argue about how many of us are prone to moral lassitude, but it’s clearly some. That’s the ongoing debate with any form of social welfare distribution.

      But that has nothing to do with this faux debate. It’s not a debate, it’s a ridiculous misunderstanding of words, fueled by an awful lot of emotional energy determined to sweep facts, logic and the dictionary in its way.

      Ah well I fear I’ve wasted my breath yet again.

      • So you really believe, contrary to every report I’ve read, that what the CBPO is saying is that no change in the net jobs and income will take place, and every inidividual who moves out of the workplace will be replaced? If so, why mention it at all, then? Why is that even important or interesting?

        That’s not how I read it, and its not how most are reading it. Here’s ACA-booster Dana Milbank in the Post yesterday:

        For years, the White House has trotted out the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to show that Obamacare would cut health care costs and reduce deficits:

        “CBO Confirms Families Will Save Money Under Health Reform.”

        “CBO Update Shows Lower Costs for the New Health Care Law.”

        “CBO Confirms: The Health Care Law Reduces the Deficit.”

        Live by the sword, die by the sword, the Bible tells us. In Washington, it’s slightly different: Live by the CBO, die by the CBO.

        The congressional number-crunchers, perhaps the capital’s closest thing to a neutral referee, came out with a new report Tuesday, and it wasn’t pretty for Obamacare. The CBO predicted the law would have a “substantially larger” impact on the labor market than it had previously expected: The law would reduce the workforce in 2021 by the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time workers, well more than the 800,000 originally anticipated. 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.

        This is grim news for the White House and for Democrats on the ballot in November. This independent arbiter, long embraced by the White House, has validated a core complaint of the Affordable Care Act’s critics: that it will discourage work and become an ungainly entitlement. Disputing Republicans’ charges is much easier than refuting the federal government’s official scorekeepers.

        White House officials rushed to dispute the referee’s call – arguing, somewhat contradictorily, that the finding was both flawed and really good news if interpreted properly.

        Press secretary Jay Carney quickly issued a statement saying that the CBO report was, by its own admission, “incomplete” and “does not take into account” some favorable effects of the law.

        Carney postponed his daily press briefing, then arrived with Jason Furman, head of the Council of Economic Advisers, who argued that the Affordable Care Act couldn’t possibly be a job killer because 8.1 million jobs had been created since it became law. This is true, but irrelevant to the CBO finding.

        Meanwhile, Gene Sperling, Obama’s top economic-policy adviser, walked to the White House lawn and told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he rejected the finding. “When you have two parents and they’re both working full time to provide health care and they don’t feel they’re there to do homework with their kids and this allows one of [them] to work a little less because they have health care, that’s not costing jobs,” Sperling argued.

        Sounds nice, except the CBO said its more pessimistic workforce view had been shaped by recent studies, “in particular” those looking at “expansions or contractions in Medicaid eligibility for childless adults.” In general, the CBO explained, phasing out subsidies to buy health insurance when income rises “effectively raises people’s marginal tax rates … thus discouraging work.”

        And the CBO is claiming that the net result will be fewer people working (though not necessarily 2.3 million fewer), and less Tax revenue as a result.

        But who in their right mind would trust THIS projection either? In a couple of months, when you return to the issue, the CBO is likely to be projecting that the ACA will cause flying monkeys, shingles and rainbows. Projections that are unreliable are worthless, and misleading by definition—which is why I objected to the supporters of the bill acting as if they were the gospel truth in the first place.

        • Jack, you know better.

          I did NOT say, nor did ANYONE say, that there will be zero decline in jobs. Youre trying to change the subject to what I am claiming from what you were claiming, and youre falsely attributing in so doing.

          What YOU said which is what I was arguing with was that there was a one-for-one relationship between jobs and workers. What I then said was that you were dead wrong. There is NOT a direct link between jobs and workers.

          What YOU said which is what I was arguing with was that the CBO was projecting a 2.x million decline in jobs. What I then said was that the decline was in workers, nob jobs.

          What I THINK is that the vast majority of workers who choose to leave the workplace will be replaced. Why? Because it beggars the imagination to think that all those employers were running charitable institutions all along. If the 2 million workers were really working, then the work will still need to be done.

          Will there be some frictional loss along the way? Sure! I identified the source of some of it moral lassitude. Therell be some more because in fact a few employers really were operating charitable institutions out of (tax-advantaged) sympathy for their workers. But we still live in a capitalistic enough society that I doubt theres too much of that.

          So do I really believe? I believe what I said, that therell be minimal impact on employment, though not zero. I do NOT believe, nor did I say, what you claim I believe, that theres zero impact.

          As to every report youve read, maybe you need to broaden your reading. For example, heres Greg Sargent: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/02/04/what-the-cbo-report-on-obamacare-really-found/

          … Republicans erupted in applause today when the Congressional Budget Office released a new report on projected deficits and on the impact of the Affordable Care Act. They widely claimed the CBO report had found that Obamacare will cause the loss of over two million jobs. That isnt what the report found at all. …The CBO report actually says that the impact of the ACA will be almost entirely due to a decline in labor that workers choose to supply. It says explicitly that the ACAs impact will not be felt as an increase in unemployment or underemployment… the response from many Republicans to the report suggests they are so wedded to their Obamacare is a job killer talking point that they will misrepresent what it actually says in order to continue making it…

          Or if thats not direct enough, read this article by The Fact Checker titled, simply, No, CBO Did Not Say Obamacare Will Kill 2 Million Jobs. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/wp/2014/02/04/no-cbo-did-not-say-obamacare-will-kill-2-million-jobs/

          All making a single, simple point: voluntary withdrawal of a worker from the workplace does not destroy a job. More typically, it opens up a job for someone who really wants it.

        • Jack,

          What’s worse, is hidden in Charle’s justification for the ‘goodness’ of this outcome — that fewer people will want those jobs, because they took them for health care to begin with — is that those people no longer want the jobs or will no longer want full time jobs, because they have figured out the system where they can work less, to keep their income level low enough, to qualify for the subsidies to get *supposedly* free or reduced medical insurance.

          Yup, obfuscated by Charles’s spin, is the fact that the reduction of these workers is so they can freeload off of others.

          Great system Charles. Great system.

          • Texagg,

            “Hidden?” Go read my comments again, my friend; I called it moral lassitude, and of course some of it WILL appear. As I said. Some of it always appears in any social program (as I also said, un-hidingly).

            You seem to think this is some moral absolute, however, which I find scary. Would you also say that:

            –Someone who retires at age 72 because they can get social security is a “freeloader”?
            –Someone who went to college on the GI bill was a “freeloader”?
            –A company that takes an investment tax credit on their income taxes is a “freeloader”?
            –An 80-year-old retiree who takes a senior citizen discount at the movies or on the metro bus is a “freeloader”?
            –A company that pays health insurance benefits and takes a tax deduction for it is a “freeloader”?

            You’d better say so if you want to be consistent. However, if you want to be sensible and live in the real world, you might start asking questions like, “Where do we want to draw the tradeoff line between charity and freeloading?” And the answer probably varies by issue, and by time in history. I’d suggest that right now, with respect to health care for citizens, we are well behind the curve of history, certainly as measured against other so-called civilized societies, and a great many not so-civilized.

            So where would you draw the line? And did you take a deduction for your kids on your tax return this year – you freeloader you?

            • Hey – Obama fixed your problem of not having quite the term to describe the blissful freedom these 2.3 million are experiencing. They’ve been freed from “Job Lock!” Now, free of the need to trudge daily through hell in exchange for health benefits, people are finally free to pursue their true callings! Isn’t our Big Brother just ever so kind and loving?

            • I’d almost be convinced, if any of that made logical sense. But it doesn’t.

              “Hidden?” Go read my comments again, my friend; I called it moral lassitude, and of course some of it WILL appear. As I said. Some of it always appears in any social program (as I also said, un-hidingly).”

              Some? If 2.3 million is ‘some’ you may wanna rethink your standards.

              “You seem to think this is some moral absolute, however, which I find scary. Would you also say that:”

              Yes, I do think gaming a system in order to freeload off the efforts of others, is absolutely wrong. That you don’t is scary.

              “–Someone who retires at age 72 because they can get social security is a “freeloader”?”

              My opinions on the grossly inefficient AND IN THE RED social security system are known. Yes, it is a freeloading system. If someone wishes to retire (a right) and wishes to have money (not a right) after retirement off of which to live, then there a easily identifiable ways to achieve that *more efficiently* than compelled wealth redistribution.

              Of course, logic didn’t keep you from playing an emotion card — “oh Texagg you meanie, won’t you please think of the elderly” “you just don’t care about people who want to retire, but didn’t get their act together in preparation to retire and therefore can’t retire with the means to live the kind of life *I* would want to retire with”.

              Crock.

              “–Someone who went to college on the GI bill was a “freeloader”?”

              You mean part of the benefits package that came as part of the government’s half of the contract, and therefore is part of the compensation PAID to soldiers for rendering the service stipulated in the soldier’s half of the Contract?

              Sorry, this isn’t a counterexample. I’d expect the Government to PAY it’s soldiers as it’s promised.

              “–A company that takes an investment tax credit on their income taxes is a “freeloader”?”

              Not sure how tax avoidance is equitable to freeloading. You may need to demonstrate further.

              “–An 80-year-old retiree who takes a senior citizen discount at the movies or on the metro bus is a “freeloader”?”

              Private transactions on the free market in response to payment schemes established by sellers are not analogous to compelled redistribution of wealth systems. No one is compelled to buy from a company that offers such discounts to seniors. However, we are compelled to pay into the grossly inefficient SS system, while never possibly expecting the same in return.

              4 down, 1 to go.

              “–A company that pays health insurance benefits and takes a tax deduction for it is a “freeloader”?”

              Already addressed. Tax avoidance is not the same as freeloading.

              “You’d better say so if you want to be consistent.”

              So much for that comment.

              “However, if you want to be sensible and live in the real world, you might start asking questions like, “Where do we want to draw the tradeoff line between charity and freeloading?””

              This assertion is immediately invalidated. Government programs ARE NOT CHARITY. Can we please be intelligent adults and not conflate the VOLUNTARY MARKET action that IS charity with compelled government redistribution programs? Please?

              “I’d suggest that right now, with respect to health care for citizens, we are well behind the curve of history, certainly as measured against other so-called civilized societies, and a great many not so-civilized.”

              Oh yes, the ever-touted Leftist “you’re on the wrong side of history” argument. Christ. The biggest, dumbest, and most horribly crafted “Everybody Does It” rationalization coupled with the “It’s Gonna Happen Anyway (suppressed premise of “because we’re gonna force it on you”) So Get on Board”. Please. Did you really take yourself seriously when you typed that?

              Speaking of History: please tell me you are read well enough to know that Western Civilization painfully tore itself away from Collectivist mindsets to get to the Political and Economic independence of the modern age, only now to be told that the “right side of history” is back in a shitty Collectivist mindset? I suppose those reformers and free-thinkers were on the wrong side of history when they liberated the West…

              What a self-righteous and full of it argument… “wrong side of history”.

              Crock.

              “So where would you draw the line? And did you take a deduction for your kids on your tax return this year – you freeloader you?”

              Would we like to discuss the terrible and *only constitutional* because of an Amendment income tax?

              But we don’t need too, because as already indicated, tax avoidance is not freeloading. Nice try.

              • Well TexAgg, I guess if it weren’t for the absolutist true believers at either end of the spectrum, the rest of us might have a hard time finding the middle. So perhaps I should thank you.

                • The belief that government isn’t a charity is not absolutists, it’s simple definitions.

                  The belief that government is way less efficient than private means to distribute the goods of beneficial causes OR to ultimately give higher quality services for less price also isn’t absolutist: it’s supported historically and empirically.

                  • TexAgg, I have an MBA from Harvard Business School, and even there we know that Kool Aid you’re peddling is bogus. If you want to take comfort in saying you’re to the right of Harvard Business School, then you just proved my point.

                    • Appeal to authority and appeal to popular sentiment (from a Keynesian business school). Somewhat invalid argument.

                      Argue the merits or don’t argue.

                      Also, I like how you failed to acknowledge that none of your ‘objections’ were demonstrated to be fallacious, just brushed off with a harumpf of “you absolutist”…

                      well poisoning.

  12. The CBO itself, in case anyone missed it, has weighed in on this, and unambiguously.

    To all those who thought the CBO report said we’d lose 2.5 million jobs, here’s what the CBO itself has to say for you:

    Q: Will 2.5 Million People Lose Their Jobs in 2024 Because of the ACA?
    A: No, we would not describe our estimates in that way.

    In case that’s too subtle, the entire CBO article can be read here:
    http://www.cbo.gov/publication/45096

    • The CBO itself, in case anyone missed it, has weighed in on this, and unambiguously.

      To all those who thought the CBO report said we’d lose 2.5 million jobs, here’s what the CBO itself has to say for you:

      Q: Will 2.5 Million People Lose Their Jobs in 2024 Because of the ACA?
      A: No, we would not describe our estimates in that way.

      In case that’s too subtle, the entire CBO article can be read here:
      http://www.cbo.gov/publication/45096

      Oh, well then. I guess that settles tha…

      We wrote in the report: “CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce the total number of hours worked, on net, by about 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent during the period from 2017 to 2024, almost entirely because workers will choose to supply less labor.” The reason for the reduction in the supply of labor is that the provisions of the ACA reduce the incentive to work for certain subsets of the population

      Oh.

      Yes, I can see how that might be too subtle for you.

      And this is even when we know that the CBO is only scoring based on a set of assumption it was told to make, and using nothing else, like historical trends, independent forecasts, or even logic.

      And you wonder why I think you’re a fuckwit.

      • “CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce the total number of hours worked, on net, by about 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent during the period from 2017 to 2024, almost entirely because workers will choose to supply less labor.” The reason for the reduction in the supply of labor is that the provisions of the ACA reduce the incentive to work for certain subsets of the population.”

        My understanding of reality and English still leads me to conclude that however the CBO would prefer to frame it, this is STILL indistinguishable from losing 2.5 million jobs.

        • Oh, and let us not forget that, in order to make sure that these pesky “jobs lost due to Obamacare” numbers don’t keep going up, or get revised down…

          Consider what administration officials announcing the new exemption for medium-sized employers had to say about firms that might fire workers to get under the threshold and avoid hugely expensive new requirements of the law. Obama officials made clear in a press briefing that firms would not be allowed to lay off workers to get into the preferred class of those businesses with 50 to 99 employees. How will the feds know what employers were thinking when hiring and firing? Simple. Firms will be required to certify to the IRS – under penalty of perjury – that ObamaCare was not a motivating factor in their staffing decisions. To avoid ObamaCare costs you must swear that you are not trying to avoid ObamaCare costs. You can duck the law, but only if you promise not to say so.

          Source

      • Sorry, Scott, even a fuckwit (to use your endearing term) can tell the difference between “jobs” and “workers.”

        The very reason the CBO wrote that clarifying piece, leading off precisely with the quote I cited, is because too many people insist on missing it. Astonishingly (or maybe not) you STILL insist on not grasping it.

        What part of “no” don’t you understand coming from the authors of the piece you claim to understand?

        The CBO is talking about FEWER WORKERS choosing to continue working – in small part a function of income disincentives, but far more greatly a function of people no longer having take jobs they hate solely to get insurance. ENTIRELY DIFFERENT from employers cutting jobs.

        If jobs were cut, there would be 2.5 million less jobs available for workers. If workers opt out, there is NO NET DECLINE in the number of jobs.

        Get the difference? Your scenario means net job loss. The CBO’s scenario means net decline in workers. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME.

        Which is why the why the CBO wrote that clarifying piece.

        Which you, amazingly, still can’t seem to get through your head.

        Since you so enjoy insults, here’s one for you from John Stuart Mill:

        “I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.”

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