January 6 2011

The ObamaCare Jobs Report

Hadley Heath

Disclaimer: This blog entry contains some very depressing information. 

Today the House Majority Office released a 19-page report on ObamaCare's effect on the American economy, with a specific focus on jobs.  Here are a few bullet points. 

ObamaCare:

  • Penalizes employers for failing to offer coverage deemed acceptable by the government;
  • Imposes burdensome mandates on small businesses, including new paperwork requirements; and
  • Compounds the uncertainty employers and entrepreneurs are facing amid a challenging economic climate.

Oh, but we knew all that already.  I wrote a policy paper in October making very similar points.

So what's new?  2010 was a year consistently plagued by high unemployment.  What will be the health reform's impact jobs in the U.S. in 2011 and beyond?  According to today's report, ObamaCare will only compound our work force woes:

Speaker Pelosi's estimates were derived from a Center for American Progress (CAP) analysis showing that the health care law would lead to the creation of 250,000 to 400,000 jobs over ten years. This study relies on cost estimates that are widely viewed as unsubstantiated. An analysis by Americans for Tax Reform [ATR] and the Beacon Hill Institute using CAP's methodology, but with what was deemed more realistic cost estimates, finds that the law will destroy between 120,000 and 700,000 jobs over the same ten-year period.

I've only lived in Washington for about six months.  But that's long enough to learn this:  It's hard to know who to trust around here.  This might seem like a difference of opinion between the left and the right.  The Center for American Progress says "there will be more jobs."  But then other groups on the right say "There will be fewer jobs." 

I love the Mark Twain quote about lies: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."  It's impossible to know the exact number of jobs that will be affected by ObamaCare, but that won't stop groups in Washingotn from making their educated guesses.

But the ObamaCare/Jobs story is not just a difference of opinion.  This is bad logic versus good logic.

So now you can choose with whom to agree, but let me be clear, one set of statistics (from CAP) would lead you to believe that taking money out of the private sector (about $500 billion in new taxes) will create jobs.  The other set of statistics (from ATR and Beacon Hill) indicates that these new taxes, new paperwork, government limitations on employer's choices, and continually increasing overhead costs will hurt the job market.  Which seems logical to you?

The numbers are depressing.  Even the more conservative side of the estimate - 120,000 lost jobs - will mean 120,000 families losing valuable sources of income in the midst of a painfully slow economic recovery. 

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