The title of this blog post is accurate. But you won't see it on Fox News or other right-wing sound machines, which have been screaming falsities today like, "Obamacare to cost 2.3 million jobs over 10 years."
The Congressional Budget Office report that has gotten Affordable Care Act haters into such a mad dog frenzy actually has good news for the country: now that most people have access to affordable health insurance that isn't tied to employment, they have more latitude to decide how much to work.
Full-time. Part-time. Not at all.
Matthew Yglesias offers up some fictional, yet realistic, examples.
John is 59, has had a good career as a mechanical engineer, has saved pretty diligently his whole life, and also has a chronic heart condition. He's got the cash to retire early, but he's not yet eligible for Medicare. So he needs to keep working more than he wants to for a few more years. Or at least he would have if not for the Affordable Care Act, which makes it feasible for him to buy insurance on the private market and get a jump start on his fishing plans.
Mary is 27 and pregnant. She'd like to start working part time once the baby is born. But even though her husband's company is doing OK it's too small to provide health insurance to its employees. So the family really needs Mary to put in enough hours to qualify for benefits at her office. That is, they would need her to work full time if not for the Affordable Care Act, whose small-business tax credits are going to let her husband's boss start offering insurance.
Those are good stories, right?
Sure seems so.
Yglesias goes on to point out that the Affordable Care Act kills jobs in the same way that Social Security or Medicare kills jobs. Beneficiaries have more freedom to decide whether to keep working after becoming eligible for these programs.
It's not really news when Republicans distort facts. Or conjure up their own twisted view of the world.
But I'm glad the Washington Post fact-checker called them out on this issue, giving them three "Pinocchios" -- a signficant factual error. Check out "No, CBO did not say Obamacare will kill 2 million jobs."
Look at this way: If someone says they decided to leave their job for personal reasons, most people would not say they “lost” their jobs. They simply decided not to work.
The CBO, in its sober fashion, virtually screams that this is not about jobs. (Note the sections in bold face.)
“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).”
[to be clear: boldfaced text is what is not happening with Obamacare]
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.)
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.
...Once again, we award Three Pinocchios to anyone who deliberately gets this wrong.