The headlines are abuzz: Obamacare will result in 2 million fewer full-time jobs, they alarm. The GOP, desperate to hang onto any thread of controversy against the president as their party's brightest stars burn out in flames of corruption, is tripping over their own to pounce on it and say, see we told you Obamacare would be a jobkiller! Ohhh Emmmmm Geeeee!!! People are going to lose jobs!!!
As usual, of course, the truth is almost the polar opposite of the media and Republican song and dance. The reportage and the Republican line dance are crafted to insult the intelligence of the American people and misrepresent a report from the Congressional Budget Office on the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the labor market. Contrary to the message being spread by the GOP and its witting media accomplices, the impact is simple: the ACA will result in workers catching a break, and no one is actually losing jobs because of Obamacare.
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—given the new taxes and other incentives they will face and the financial benefits some will receive. [...]The CBO even reiterated the point for the thinking impaired, categorically rejecting the psychobabble that Obamacare would result in increase unemployment, underemployment, or even discouraged workers:
The reduction in CBO’s projections of hours worked 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.
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).I will translate one more time for our ethically challenged media and the intellectually handicapped GOP: Obamacare means that working people - especially low-wage workers - will be able to re-assert some control over the labor market, by having the choice to work fewer jobs or slightly less hours than the current insanity of having to nearly kill oneself picking up extra hours just so a single mom can visit the doctor. There will be less hours worked total - but not because there will be fewer jobs or less demand for work, but because workers will no longer need to be slaves to their job-provided health insurance.
Partly because of the old health insurance system that trapped workers, Americans work longer hours than any other nation on earth even as our productivity has soared. With Obamacare, there is a little relief for the hardest workers on planet earth.
The fact that Republicans are going bonkers over this news (as well as the sad truth that the media is reporting this as anything other than a win for workers) is reminder of the simple yet terrifying fact that the goal of the Republican party is not to make the lives of working people better but work the working class to the bone for as close to zero compensation as possible. The faux outrage in the Republican party over this report is not just a political stunt. It comes from their deep-seated contempt of the middle and working classes, and their irreplaceable devotion to the moneyed elite and multinational corporation class.
Let's face it: according to the CBO, the only "negative" impact of the Affordable Care Act is that the lowest-paying yet most-profitable corporations that treat their employees like trash because they know those workers have no place else to go if they want their children to be able to see a doctor may no longer have workers as eager to suit them. They might - if they want to attract workers to perform the most back-breaking tasks - have to pay those workers a more decent wage (shocker of shockers!).
Freed from the shackles of health plans tied to crappy jobs, unappreciative employers and bad working conditions, working people of America may be able demand a living wage, better hours, good working conditions and the respect of their bosses in exchange for their hard work. And the political Right in this country really can't stand that.
Without the fear of the loss of health coverage hanging over their heads, employees may choose to take another job or start their own small businesses. Small businesses, free from the tyranny of their health insurance companies on one hand and the unfair market advantage the old system gave their larger competitors on the other may actually present a serious challenge to big business and a better choice to the consumer. That is anathema to the Republican vision for America.
The bottom line is simple: the Affordable Care Act is on track to create a more equitable, economically just society - not just for workers but for consumers, small businesses, and even large businesses who have always chosen to do the right thing by their employees rather than sell them out in the name of the quarterly report. That is what is terrifying to the Republican party. Their very vision of America - a nation not just run like big business but run by big business and the economic elite - is in jeopardy thanks to Obamacare. This is why the GOP - old and new - is having a fit. They are waging a war on the working class, and they are losing.
That that is why Obamacare is the most significant socio-economic progress made in America since the advent of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It has the power to reshape the established socio-economic order in favor of people who wake up every day and go to work to earn a living. And this is the reason Barack Obama's contribution to economic justice will be remembered by history alongside the likes of FDR.