Ross Douthat is one of the few right-wingers who acknowledged that the recent Congressional Budget Office report didn't really say that Obamacare was going to kill two million jobs. Douthat knows that the CBO report was talking about voluntary departures from full-time work. However, he's profoundly troubled by these departures, and he thinks his fellow conservatives are as troubled as he is:
... liberalism has a very important choice to make. It's possible to defend Obamacare's overall goals while also recognizing its potentially perverse effects, and conceding that we should try to minimize the number of low-skilled workers exiting the labor market.Hey, conservatives: you think work is "essential to dignity, mobility and social equality"? You think a reduction in full-time work should "be fiercely resisted"? Then why aren't you angry at employers, who aren't providing this work? Why doesn't it upset you that big companies are sitting on piles of cash but aren't creating any jobs?
On the conservative side, ... [b]oth "rugged individualist" right-wingers and more communitarian conservatives tend to see work as essential to dignity, mobility and social equality, and see its decline as something to be fiercely resisted.
The question is whether tomorrow's liberals will be our allies in that fight.
And if your deep distress at the possible damage indolence might cause to poor people's souls won't inspire you to ask your precious job creators to actually create a few more jobs, why aren't you supporting -- no, demanding -- a massive New Deal-style government-funded make-work program, which could easily happen if you backed it because it would also be supported enthusiastically by liberals?
Douthat says conservatives believe in the value of work. Maybe that's true. But what's undoubtedly true is that conservatives believe the failure of poor people to work is a swell object lesson, a demonstration that society's losers deserve to be losers, never mind the fact that their loser status is the result of hiring decisions made by society's winners. Conservatives don't fiercely resist any change in the marketplace for labor, even if the change would give poor people all that work-generated dignity. They'd much rather keep the poor poor, so they can point and them and sneer.