What Fresh Hell Is This?

February 13, 2014

The Trib and the ACA - Getting It Wrong. Again

From today's Thursday Wrap at the Tribune-Review:
There's another way to look at the deleterious economic effects of ObamaCare. Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee, using CBO data, say the health care law “will reduce compensation by more than $1 trillion between 2017 and 2024,” reports The Weekly Standard. And the largest decline is expected among lower-wage workers. Another “progressive solution,” eh? [Bold in original.]
It references this "report" in the Weekly Standard that says this:
"The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that Obamacare will “cause a reduction of roughly 1 percent in aggregate labor compensation [wages, salaries, and fringe benefits] over the 2017-2024 period, compared with what would have been otherwise” (see page 117 of appendix C of CBO’s February 2014 Budget and Economic Outlook). CBO also suggests that the largest effect will occur among lower-wage workers who were the target of the law’s subsidized coverage expansion," says a statement from the Republican-side of the Senate Budget Committee, explaining their methodology.
Ah, the stuff they leave out.

Let's take a look at page 117 of the CBO report, shall we?  And yes, it does say what the Standard and Scaife's braintrust says it says:
Specifically, CBO estimates that the ACA will cause a reduction of roughly 1 percent in aggregate labor compensation over the 2017-2024 period, compared with what would have been otherwise.
But what about the impact on lower-wage workers? That comes in the sentences or two before. Note what's being left out of their discussion:
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.  because the largest declines in labor supply will probably occur among lower-wages workers the reduction in aggregate compensation (wages, salaries, and fringe benefits) and the impact on the overall economy will be proportionally smaller than teh reduction in hours worked.
A few things there. You'll note, I hope, the part that starts with the phrase "almost entirely workers will choose to supply less labor."  It was only last week that the editorial board at Richard Mellon Scaife's editorial board said that the ACA will:
...force the equivalent of more than 2 million workers out of the labor market.
Now I know I'm not an editorial writer for a billionaire-owned propaganda page, but I am of the humble opinion that "force" and "choose" are antonyms of sorts.  Aren't they?

More importantly, did you see that the total number of hours worked will decline by a greater percentage than the aggregate labor compensation?  If I am reading this correctly, that means that people will be making more per hour, though choosing to work fewer hours.

And getting health care on top of that.

I guess Scaife's braintrust is right.  That IS a "progressive solution"!

Oh, and something else they left out.  In the next paragraph on page 117 of the CBO report, we read:
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.
An increase in employment and compensation in a post-ACA world - though a smaller increase than in a non-ACA world.  The cost of that gap?

Affordable Health Care for millions more Americans.

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