Fewer Americans Want To Work: An Obama Success?
First, let me be clear about wh
atI’m not saying.
I’m not announcing gre
atnews about the unemployment r ate dropping, or “job cre ation” suddenly taking-off.
No, I meant wh
atI said in the title. Fewer Americans want to work.
It’s not th
atfewer Americans are searching for work. There are, to put it simply, less of us who want to work and to produce, and even among those of us who still want to work and produce, many of us are choosing to work fewer hours and to produce less.
And the reason for this is simple: because of the generous federal entitlements provided in the new “Obamacare” law.
According to none other than the Congressional Budget Office, many of us have decided we no longer will have to work as much as we once did, given all the “assistance” we can get via Obamacare.
This is not just political “spin” or partisan punditry. It comes directly from Douglas Elmendorf, the Director of the non-partisan C.B.O., a federal agency within the legisl
ative branch of our government th atemploys people to analyze government policies, and consider their impact on the federal budget, and on the economy. The C.B.O. likely produces some of the most objective, “fair,” and non-politicized d ata th atwe receive from our government.
ata little-noted event atthe Universityof Southern California’s for Health Policy and Economics, Mr. Elmendorf noted th Leonard D. Schaeffer Center at, outside the healthcare sector of our economy, the gre atest impact of the Obamacare agenda will be in the labor market. It was October 22nd, just days away from the big midterm election, and Elmendorf’s presence atthis conference, and his remarks atthe conference, did not receive nearly the amount of press attention th atthey deserved.
Mr. Elmendorf st
ated th at, in some cases, Americans will simply choose not to work, because their needs for healthcare will be provided by the enhanced Medicaid funding th atis provided for in the Obamacare law. As Journalist M att Cover noted atCNSNews.com (he was one of few journalists th atactually reported on this event), this assessment of Obamacare by Mr. Elmendorf coincides with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s remarks last May. Back then, Speaker Pelosi insisted th atObamacare would allow “artists” to “quit their day job” and pursue their art, free from the constraints of having to provide for one’s self, because the government would now take care of artists’ healthcare needs.
atall sounded so good, right? It seemed like President Obama was making good on his agenda of, as he likes to say in his folksy fashion, “gettin’ people some help…”
But notice the gravity of wh
atMr. Elmendorf is describing. He’s talking about Medicaid, a social care program from our federal government th atis intended to offer short-term assistance to poor and lower income households. And the head of the C.B.O., the individual described as the “top accountant to Congress,” is making the observ ation th atwe have, as a result of Obamacare, given increasing numbers of Americans a reason not to work (or to “not work as much”), and to choose instead to avail themselves to a government welfare program.
In short, our federal government has incentivized (some) people to consume more than they produce. And this is a very destructive thing.
ately, this is also a common thing. When government tells people “you don’t have to provide for yourself, you can instead choose to subsist off of somebody else’s effort,” it is inevitable th atsome people will choose the l atter. And when people make this type of choice, it does long term damage to themselves and their families and to the broader society as well.
So why couldn’t the President of the United St
ates and members of the U.S. Congress have anticip ated this problem? There are atleast a couple of different answers.
For one, naivety may have been the culprit. In the rigid and ideologically narrow worlds of liberal academia and politics (worlds in which Barack Obama has lived most all of his life), the lessons of history are usually ignored, and the possibility of government welfare programs “failing” isn’t even considered.
It is also possible th
atless productivity in may be a part of President Obama’s actual agenda for “change.” If, for example, the President desires to not only elev America ate the “poor” in America, but also to “lower” the “wealthy” – perhaps as a means of, as he often says, “leveling the playing field” and bringing the “rich” and the “poor” closer together – then Obamacare would seem to fulfill his economic agenda. In this scenario, our n ation as a whole becomes less prosperous (which in the minds of many would make for a “more fair” world), yet such a scheme purports to prevent people from “failing” too much, while preventing others from being “too successful.”
So is this an “Obama success,” or an unintended failure for the President? We may never know wh
atis truly in the heart and mind of Barack Obama, but it is bad news for the n ation he leads.
Austin Hill is a Talk Show Host
at Boise, Idaho's 580 KIDO Radio, and a frequent guest host at 's 630 WMAL Radio. He is the Author of "White House: Confidential - The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and the Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets. Washington, DC
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Unintended Consequences of Obamacare
When a nation loses its will to work it is moving down the path of its demise. Obamacare is already producing a host of unintended and destructive consequences. We better wake up as a nation.