One Big Reason Why You Can't Debate the Left On Obamacare

obamacare sm

One of the reasons I long ago stopped trying to debate the left is that it is a waste of time. For a political movement that claims to be “reality based,” the most striking characteristic of the left is the use of the casual and premeditated lie to further their agenda. Take for instance gun control. When Sally Kohn says that “10,ooo” children are killed or injured by firearms each year, she knows that the only way she can get that number is by calling 17- and 18-year old gangbangers “children.” When she makes her analogy to crib safety, the data actually shows that a child of crib-using age was much, much safer in a home with firearms than in a home with that particular brand of crib. None of this matters because Kohn’s agenda is gun control and she will relentlessly and shamelessly lie and deceive in order to make her case.

The same is true with Obamacare. On its face it is an unmitigated failure. The increase in the number of insured persons has been achieved by the expansion of Medicaid. The Medicaid expansion is unsustainable. State exchanges are crashing. Half of all insurance co-ops created under Obamacare have failed. Many of those who enroll for Obamacare never pay premiums and elect to pay the tax. Top flight hospitals refuse to deal with Obamacare patients. Nearly a quarter-million doctors are refusing to accept Obamacare patients. But when it comes to discussing Obamacare, the left is as unable to address the subject with resorting to blatant and sophomoric lies as they are when discussing any other subject.

Into this comes a couple of left-wing ideologues/hacks named Jared Bernstein and Ben Spielberg. Berstein has been a political appointee under Democrat presidents. Spielberg, the intellectual heft behind the duo, is a high school teacher who comes from a very privileged background. He has no background in government, health care policy, or economics. He has no advanced degree. And he has negligible life experience. Together they write this article which demonstrates that the Washington Post will print anything if it supports a Democrat: Yet another inconvenient truth for its opponents: Obamacare is not ‘killing jobs’.

Within last week’s strong jobs report was yet another good month for the health-care sector, which added 45,000 jobs. The growth of jobs in this sector is a long-term trend, driven in no small part by our aging demographics. Even when we were hemorrhaging jobs in the depths of the last recession, health care was an outlier, never experiencing even one negative month of job growth during the downturn.

Yet House Republicans are still trying to repeal parts of the law, claiming that “many of the key elements of Obamacare [are] harming individuals and families [and] hurting job creation.” Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly maintains that, “While some of the poor benefit, other Americans are punished because the job market is smaller.” Some presidential candidates agree: Jeb Bush calls the ACA “the president’s job-destroying health-care law” and [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ]’s Senate Web site asserts that “Obamacare is causing millions to lose their jobs.” Cruz and [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] aren’t even content to repeal parts of the law — they want to repeal the entire thing.

Even if we’re generous here and assume that those shouting “job killer” mean that the gains in the health-care sector are coming at the expense of the rest of the job market, there’s no evidence to support that claim, either.

See what they did there?

No one ever said Obamacare would “kill” healthcare jobs.

This simply a lie. Under different circumstances I could think of it as a mistake but as it is the central thesis of their article they lose the benefit of the doubt. Again. No one ever said healthcare jobs would suffer. To the contrary it was really obvious that those jobs would increase based simply on the increased reporting requirements. And, as predicted, those jobs being created are low-wage and low-skill jobs. They are part-time and temporary jobs. The fastest growing segment of the increase in health care jobs is home health care aids. Medical schools and community colleges haven’t increased their output of health care professionals. What has increased is data entry work and medical record transcribers and administrators to ensure compliance. And, this will be a surprise to Bernstein and his Mini-Me, someone has to pay for this increase in jobs. Who? Anyone with health insurance. The 60% is health insurance premiums will have the net effect of more people enrolling in Obamacare exchanges, or whatever is left in the smoking hole after these exchanges close, and increasing enrollment numbers but decline to pay the premiums and stealthily increasing the number of uninsured persons.

Overall job growth is spotty and anemic.

What does the left wing Economic Policy Institute say about job growth?

Dramatically falling employment in the Great Recession and its aftermath has left us with a jobs shortfall of 5.6 million—that’s the number of jobs needed to keep up with growth in the potential labor force since 2007. Each year, the population keeps growing, and along with it, the number of people who could be working. To get back to the same labor market we had before the recession, we need to not only make up the jobs we lost, but gain enough jobs to account for this growth.

The chart below projects out the potential labor force into the future. In December, the economy added 252,000 jobs; average monthly job growth in 2014 was 246,000 jobs. This is a clear improvement over the last several years, but the reality is that if we add 246,000 jobs a month going forward, it will take until August 2017 to hit the employment level needed to return the economy to the labor market health that prevailed in 2007.

To put it in context, Barack Obama has created fewer jobs than Jimmy Carter though the population of the United States under Carter was 70% of today’s total.

job creation

Something happened to jobs under Obama.

Under Barack Obama, workforce participation has cratered. We are now at approaching a 40-year low in workforce participation. This takes us back to an era when women made up less than 40% of the workforce.

workforce participation

Notice when workforce participation began its death dive? Right about the time Obamacare began implementation. Unlike the dynamic duo who wrote this bizarre little screed, I won’t say correlation is causation. But something happened after January 2010…

Lies and the lying liars that tell them.

Getting back to the major point. It is a sad commentary on the state of our civil society that you can’t even have a policy debate with left because of their use of the Big Lie as a first resort. In this case 1) no one, as far as I can find on Google, has ever said Obamacare would “kill” healthcare jobs, 2) the intentional confusing of healthcare jobs with jobs is a monument to dishonest hackery,  and 3) all the evidence indicates that the only reason the unemployment rate is down is because about 90 million formerly employed workers have opted out of the workforce. It is one thing to be wrong or simply have a different perspective on the facts of an issue. But why would you bother to engage on any level with people who hold the truth, itself, in contempt?

Did Obamacare “kill” jobs. I don’t know, but what the data show as an incontrovertible fact is that Obamacare did not help job growth and no number of dishonest op-eds in the Washington Post will change this.