Thursday, February 06, 2014


A few right-wingers, instead of arguing that Obamacare will actually kill two million jobs, are accepting what this week's Congressional Budget Office report actually said and have moved on to a second, marginally less dishonest line of attack: that even if Obamacare merely encourages two million workers to make the choice of cutting back work hours, that's a disgrace, because one must never, ever discourage work. And so we get harangues like "Obamacare's Attack on the Work Ethic" by National Review's Charles C.W. Cooke -- which, amusingly, is accompanied by a vintage photograph:

This is an odd photo to use if you preach small government the way NR does, because the worker depicted, "Big Pete" Ramagos, is working on the construction of Tennessee's Douglas Dam in 1942, under the aegis of FDR's Tennessee Valley Authority. (You can see the photo, by Alfred T. Palmer, here, here, and here.) The TVA was, of course, established and financed by the government, and was created to put the unemployed to work while performing useful services for the region and the country; it was part of an effort that was a much larger version of the economic stimulus efforts President Obama fought to put in place shortly after his inauguration, and the ones he continues to propose.

Yes, President Obama actually thinks it would be good if some people in the future work more than they do now while others work less! That's really not so hard to grasp -- after all, in establishing old-age insurance as part of the Social Security program, didn't FDR and Congress encourage older workers to retire earlier, while also creating a number of jobs programs?

It's also worth pointing out that right-wingers were for urging some people to work less before they were against it:
... "De-linking health insurance from employment has been a big theme in conservative proposals ...," said Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

In Oct. 2008, the conservative Heritage Foundation called this phenomenon "job lock" and "[a]n obstacle to labor mobility." A Heritage research paper praised then-presidential candidate Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) health care plan for addressing the problem by proposing adjustments to the tax treatment of health care, among other reforms.

"Today, leaving a job or changing jobs means leaving behind the health insurance provided at the place of work," wrote authors Robert E. Moffit and Nina Owcharenko. "Individuals who wish to take a better job, change careers, or leave the workforce to raise a family or to retire early take substantial risks."

... A Sept. 2006 research paper by the conservative American Enterprise Institute argued the tax preference for employer-based insurance created a "lack of choice" that can "disadvantage employees."

"Those who buy their health insurance through their employers may find themselves locked into their current employment for fear that they might lose coverage," wrote author Joseph Antos. "If the worker or a family member develops a serious health condition, a job change could mean the total loss of insurance or exclusion of that condition from coverage." ...
In other words, right-wingers have advocated freeing some people from their jobs while being pro-work -- a contradiction! (Or maybe not -- they seem to be very much against anything that would create more jobs now. So maybe they don't believe in work after all.)


Victor said...

The believe in only one thing - they believe that they have to be categorically against any and every thing that President Obama, or any other Democrat, Liberal, or Progressive, wants to do, or thinks of doing.

And Jesus.
And, American exceptionalism, and the exceptionalism of Modern Conservatism - Aka: Plutocratic Fascism.

trnc said...

It never fails to drive republicants crazy when dems actually implement ideas to which repubs only pay lip service.

Mallard Filmore said...

"one must never, ever discourage work"

Its ok for rich people to work less by taking long vacations, but its not ok for the poor to work less to preserve or improve their health.

Is that the message?