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February 06, 2014

No, no, you don't understand: the CBO report is actually *good* news

I've known for a while that the wackiness of Liberals is virtually unlimited, but this may well be a new record. 

Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors Jason Furman told reporters that Obamacare allowed greater “choice” not to work. Jay Carney followed. And soon left-wing media followed.  

Or as Matthew Yglesias helpfully explains:

All things considered, I still think this is a happy story. Obamacare will kill jobs in the same way that Social Security kills jobs. By making it easier for people in certain circumstances to get by without a job.

I love that Liberals have now decided that what individuals voluntarily choose--regardless of the consequences for the rest of us--is fine. Question for them: shouldn't we therefore allow individuals to choose whether or not to have health insurance and if so, what kind?

Two comments I like:

1. Glenn Reynolds linked to Groucho Marx. "Wages? Do you wanna be wage slaves . . . No, of  course not. Well, what makes wage slaves? WAGES!"

2. The editors of National Review Online:

We are happy to see that the White House seems finally to have stumbled upon the concept of economic incentives — give people less reason to work and they will work less. But the administration still does not seem to be able to get its collective head around the fact that American workers are not just hungry mouths that have to be filled with paychecks: They are people who provide economically valuable goods and services. Those 2.5 million out of the work force may be happier at their leisure, but the economy as a whole will be substantially worse off without their contributions. We could, in theory, simply have the federal government deliver checks to every household and allow each and every one to follow his bliss as he sees fit, but the shelves of the grocery stores soon would be empty. The depth of the Obamacare crater in the labor force isn’t some abstract unemployment rate, but the lost value of the work those Americans would have done.

UPDATE: Keith Hennessey today has an excellent post, the best I've seen.

ObamaCare’s defenders are taking two tacks today. First, they are emphasizing the significant financial benefits of those subsidized premiums to the people who receive them. That’s totally fair. They are also trying to argue that, when people choose not to work after the government increases their [effective] marginal tax rate, that’s OK because it’s the person’s choice not to work. That is Orwellian. . . . 

If you choose to work less because you want to spend more time with your kids, that’s a good thing. If you choose to work less because the government raised your marginal effective tax rate and made work less financially rewarding, that’s a bad thing.

Comments

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Luis Enrique

there's nothing wacky about an economist thinking in terms of maximizing utility being more important that maximizing GDP statistics

Ted Craig

This is the best analogy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It%27s_a_Good_Life_(The_Twilight_Zone)

Patrick R. Sullivan

Luis, this is not a question of maximizing utility. If it were, well, there are a lot better ways to attain that goal than by the Rube Goldberg device of Obamacare.

Tom Dougherty

Obama: "You should be thanking me. By raising your implied marginal tax rate above 100%, I am making it easier for you to choose not working."

Yglesias: "Thank you, Obama. This IS a happy story."

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