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This excellent article by WP's Greg Sargent, does a fine job of explaining what the today-released CBO report actually says regarding Obamacare.

From the article:  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 ACA’s impact will not be felt as an “increase in unemployment” or “underemployment.”
The relevant passage of the CBO report is below the squiggle.

From page 117 of the report:

Although CBO projects that total employment (and compensation) will increase over the coming decade, that increase will be smaller than it would have been in the absence of the aCA. The decline in full-time-equivalent employment stemming from the ACA will consist of some people not being employed at all and other people working fewer hours; however, CBO has not tried to quantify those two components of the overall effect. 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 business’ demand for labor, so it will appear almost entirely as a reduction in labor force participation and in hours worked relative to what 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).
CBO director Douglas Elmendorf is testifying before the House budget committee tomorrow. Let's hope there are clarifying questions asked that take away the 2.5 million jobs lost R talking point.

The major papers already have the 2.5 million jobs lost R talking point out there. Can we turn it around and get the nuance of the report clearly expressed?

Update: As noted by DK poster More Questions than Answers, the WP's Glenn Kesslerhas issued three Pinocchios any claiming that the ACA will reduce the number of jobs by  2.5M. What the report says is that 2.5M fewer will participate in the workforce, but there will still be essentially the same number of jobs.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I am not sure this helps in the argument we want (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David PA, annecros

    to make...

    Although CBO projects that total employment (and compensation) will increase over the coming decade, that increase will be smaller than it would have been in the absence of the aCA.
    Can we afford to have it any smaller than it is or has been??? This is all the R's need to run with this!
  •  It looks like employers will have to hire (9+ / 0-)

    2.5 million people to replace that manpower. That's how it reads to me, anyway.

    "Two of my favorite things are sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp, and playing my Hohner harmonica." -Abraham Lincoln

    by hotdamn on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 03:24:37 PM PST

    •  Moreover, they need to provide better jobs (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That's the take I have on it. People are quitting these jobs because they only work them for the health care. Now that they have affordable options, to be able to say "Take this job and shove it" with their feet, suggests that this will work towards better work environments or those companies will be shut down by an exodus to companies that do provide better opportunities. And some of those 2.5 million hired will be those who leave in the first place because of their new found economic freedom.

      Perhaps this will also mean that without the reliance of having a job to get health care, companies will be more likely over time to either provide platinum care at competitive prices, or, especially for small businesses, not be required the HR and profitability burdens of carrying it. Because for the most part, I don't see why in the 21st century that should be a requirement for most employers unless it's a real perk. It shouldn't be a responsibility unless an employer chooses to willingly offer it. This is a step towards single payer.

  •  Washington Post fact checker (8+ / 0-)

    has already given his own paper (Jennifer Rubin, no less) 3 Pinnochio's for its characterization of this as jobs lost.  

    So, it should be fairly easy for the Democrats to get ahead of this.  And let's hope the other media outlets will make corrections as well (but don't hold your breath). has a great article up with examples of some of the WORST misreporting today.  Headlining the tweeted section are none other than Luke Russert and Chuck Todd with their misinformation.

    The only way to stop these corporate shills is to shame them.  Democrats have to start calling them out right to their face like President Obama did to Billo.

  •  Baby Boomers Are Retiring (5+ / 0-)

    They plus others who will be able to get health insurance without being employed are probably the explanation.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 03:29:47 PM PST

  •  I do not recall a media feeding frenzy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David PA

    when major employers decided to go Galt and not hire workers for more hours, fewer hours or any hours, in the days after the bailouts and during the fledgling recovery from the Great Recession.

    But now, the notion that workers may reject job lock and choose to work fewer hours, has caused the media to become apoplectic today.

    Each of them are falling over themselves to come up with a more erroneous headline.

    What the CBO really found was that the numbers of hours worked would decrease under Obamacare, by roughly 1.5 percent to 2 percent between 2017 and 2024. The report then translated those lost hours into the equivalent of 2.5 million jobs. But that doesn't mean 2.5 million jobs are going to disappear from the U.S. economy.

    The CBO report, in fact, specifically undermines that claim. Those lost hours will "almost entirely" be the result of people choosing to work fewer hours because of Obamacare -- not because they lost their jobs or can't find a full-time job.

    This is not a story about jobs lost. It's a story about freedom gained.

    "I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights." (From "You Said a Mouthful" by Bishop Desmond Tutu - South African bishop & activist, b.1931)

    by FiredUpInCA on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 03:42:36 PM PST

  •  CBO report suggests higher pay due to Obamacare (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David PA, Linda1961

    [Talking Points Memo] spoke with two other top economists who agreed with Marron's analysis: People choosing to work less because of Obamacare, as CBO projects, would mean higher wages.

    "That stands to reason. You get this sorting effect," Dean Baker, co-founder of the left-leaning Center for Economic and Policy Research. "You have a lot of people working now who don't want to work. The only way they can get insurance is through their employer."

    Those people retire or cut back their hours or otherwise lower their participation in the labor market -- a possibility that CBO raised itself -- reducing the labor supply. Over the long term, that drives up wages. Baker said that CBO said as much in its analysis: The report projected that total hours worked would drop by as much as 2 percent by 2024 because of Obamacare, but total compensation would fall only 1 percent.

    That disparity suggest that wages would be increasing, Baker said.

    "I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights." (From "You Said a Mouthful" by Bishop Desmond Tutu - South African bishop & activist, b.1931)

    by FiredUpInCA on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 03:57:45 PM PST

  •  The NYT has revised its story (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Linda1961, FiredUpInCA, CFAmick

    about the report twice -- and still has it wrong.

    And now, apparently in response to all the complaints about its erroneous coverage, the revised article snarks that the CBO report is "putting Democrats on the defensive."

    No, NYT, the CBO report is not the problem.

    I'm a Christian, therefore I'm a liberal.

    by VirginiaJeff on Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 07:14:22 PM PST

  •  Why I retired early (0+ / 0-)

    Great article!--- I retired early for several reasons. The two most important - arthritis that affected my ability to do my job - and the need to assist family members with the issues of aging. I suspect that the ACA has allowed people of lower and middle income to retire early, or reduce their hours, or be self-employed for similar reasons. There are many in these situations. That is one of the great things about the core of the ACA.  

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