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ObamaCare Job Loss Fact Check: How Statistics Are Abused in DC

Merc

Problematic Shitlord
V.I.P.
Source

WASHINGTON – Republicans pushing to repeal President Barack Obama's health care overhaul warn that 650,000 jobs will be lost if the law is allowed to stand. But the widely cited estimate by house leaders is shaky. It's the latest creative use of statistics in the health care debate, which has seen plenty of examples from both sides.

Republicans are calling their thumbs-down legislation the "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act." Postponed after the mass shootings in Tucson, a House vote on the divisive issue is now expected Wednesday, although Democrats promise they'll block repeal in the Senate.

A recent report by House GOP leaders says "independent analyses have determined that the health care law will cause significant job losses for the U.S. economy."

It cites the 650,000 lost jobs as Exhibit A, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office as the source of the original analysis behind that estimate. But the budget office, which referees the costs and consequences of legislation, never produced the number.

What follows is a story of how statistics get used and abused in Washington.

What CBO actually said is that the impact of the health care law on supply and demand for labor would be small. Most of it would come from people who no longer have to work, or can downshift to less demanding employment, because insurance will be available outside the job.

"The legislation, on net, will reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by a small amount _roughly half a percent_ primarily by reducing the amount of labor that workers choose to supply," Budget Office number crunchers said in a report from last year.

That's not how it got translated in the new report from Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other top Republicans.

CBO "has determined that the law will reduce the 'amount of labor used in the economy by.roughly half a percent.,' an estimate that adds up to roughly 650,000 jobs lost," the GOP version said.

Gone was the caveat that the impact would be small, mainly due to people working less. Added was the estimate of 650,000 jobs lost.

The Republican translation doesn't track, said economist Paul Fronstin of the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute. "People voluntarily working less isn't the same as employers cutting jobs," he explained.

For example, CBO said some people might decide to retire earlier because it would be easier to get health care, instead of waiting until they become eligible for Medicare at age 65.

The law "reduces the amount of labor supplied, but it's not reducing the ability of people to find jobs, which is what the job-killing slogan is intended to convey," said economist Paul Van de Water of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The center advocates for low-income people, and supports the health care law.

In theory, any legislation that increases costs for employers can lead to job loss. But with the health care law, companies can also decide to pass on added costs to their workers, as some have already done this year.

To put things in perspective, there are currently about 131 million jobs in the economy. CBO projects that unemployment will be significantly lower in 2014, when the law's major coverage expansion starts.

A spokeswoman for House Ways and Means Committee Republicans pointed out that CBO's report did flag that some employers would cut hiring. "The CBO analysis does not claim that the entire response is people exiting the labor market," said Michelle Dimarob.

The law's penalties on employers who don't provide health insurance might cause some companies to hire fewer low-wage workers, or to hire more part-timers instead of full-time employees, the budget office said. But the main consequence would still be from more people choosing not to work.

That still doesn't answer the question of how Republicans came up with the estimate of 650,000 lost jobs.

Dimarob said staffers took the 131 million jobs and multiplied that by half a percent, the number from the CBO analysis. The result: 650,000 jobs feared to be in jeopardy.

"For ordinary Americans who could fall into that half a percent, that is a vitally important stat, and it is reasonable to suggest they would not characterize the effect as small," she said.

But Fronstin said that approach is also questionable, since the budget office and the GOP staffers used different yardsticks to measure overall jobs and hours worked. The differences would have to be adjusted first in order to produce an accurate estimate.

Said Van de Water, "The number doesn't mean what they say it means."
This is part of our country's political problem, amongst many of course. People are far too ill informed and people don't question the numbers and facts democrats and republicans throw at them. It's like they're okay just listening to their favorite color and taking their words as law. It's really a nonpartisan issue, it's something I think both sides can agree on.

What do you think of this? Is the number fair?
 

SmilinSilhouette

Registered Member
I don't pay much attention to estimated numbers, statistics are used to reinforce a point and are usually created for just that purpose.

You know, just like Obama claiming to have "created or saved" X number of jobs.

But I do know that this legislation has a chilling effect on hiring due to raising the cost of adding employees for whom employers must be provide comprehensive health insurance or pay an additional tax.
 

Merc

Problematic Shitlord
V.I.P.
I don't pay much attention to estimated numbers, statistics are used to reinforce a point and are usually created for just that purpose.
Isn't that a great reason to check those numbers?

But I do know that this legislation has a chilling effect on hiring due to raising the cost of adding employees for whom employers must be provide comprehensive health insurance or pay an additional tax.
Did you read what the CBO said? The majority of their projected 'job loss' is from people who will work less time since obtaining health care will be easier. Anytime you raise any costs, you run the risk of job loss.
 

SmilinSilhouette

Registered Member
Isn't that a great reason to check those numbers?
No, because I consider them manufactured numbers to reinforce opinion and don't give them much credibility as a predictor of the future. I'm sure the opposition could cite their own created statistics to "prove" their point.

Did you read what the CBO said? The majority of their projected 'job loss' is from people who will work less time since obtaining health care will be easier. Anytime you raise any costs, you run the risk of job loss.
Yes, and so what? I didn't need the CBO to tell me what I already know.

Did you read what Smilin' wrote? :lol: My opinion comes from working with business owners who now have another bureaucratic maze to deal with for having employees.

What you are dealing with here is a sales technique designed to convince. I am not greatly influenced by sales techniques.
 

Merc

Problematic Shitlord
V.I.P.
No, because I consider them manufactured numbers to reinforce opinion and don't give them much credibility as a predictor of the future. I'm sure the opposition could cite their own created statistics to "prove" their point.
Yes, that's you. We're talking the average American here. The fact that most of us are aware that these numbers are fake should be plenty reason to question them.

Yes, and so what? I didn't need the CBO to tell me what I already know.

Did you read what Smilin' wrote? :lol: My opinion comes from working with business owners who now have another bureaucratic maze to deal with for having employees.
Here's the problem. The CBO is a full fledged institution made up of plenty of people to make these kinds of projections while you have just a personal opinion. I'm really not calling one better than the other, but surely you see that the credibility is a bit in the CBO's favor here. Nevertheless, I'm sure it will create some sort of hassle for business owners, but this is just a step in a direction this country needs.
 

CaptainObvious

Embrace the Suck
V.I.P.
It's funny that an article would claim someone is misusing the statistics then somewhat misuses the statistics themselves.

The article uses as an example people working less or retiring earlier because they no longer need to purchase insurance. They separate that from people actually losing jobs. But fewer taxpayers means less tax revenue generated, which could lead to an increase in taxes. An increase in taxes means less discretionary income, meaning less consumer spending. Less consumer spending means more jobs lost.

My point isn't that I agree or disagree with the article, only that, as SS points out, it's a sales job either way. Paul Fronstin seems to be manipulating the stats also, in other words.
 

SmilinSilhouette

Registered Member
Here's the problem. The CBO is a full fledged institution made up of plenty of people to make these kinds of projections while you have just a personal opinion. I'm really not calling one better than the other, but surely you see that the credibility is a bit in the CBO's favor here.
That doesn't matter to me.

Nevertheless, I'm sure it will create some sort of hassle for business owners, but this is just a step in a direction this country needs.
That's your opinion.
Mine is that obamacare is an unconstitutional expansion of federal powers, and that is a step in a direction that this country does not need. So it doesn't matter to me if it does or does not create or kill jobs.

But your comment makes me wonder why you support something that you know so little about? Is it just the idea of government run healthcare you support or because democrats say that the law they didn't read and don't understand themselves is good?
 

CaptainObvious

Embrace the Suck
V.I.P.
I agree with the notion that an unconstitutional expansion of federal power is not what this country needs. I think what it needs is the opposite actually.
 

Merc

Problematic Shitlord
V.I.P.
That doesn't matter to me . . . That's your opinion.
Amusing how your opinion is valid and okay as a debate point, yet mine isn't? Just aiming for some consistency here.

But your comment makes me wonder why you support something that you know so little about? Is it just the idea of government run healthcare you support or because democrats say that the law they didn't read and don't understand themselves is good?
I'm going to just say this right now.

If you can't have this discussion without resorting to partisan bashing, then please don't respond. I'm not engaging in it and you're starting it. It dies now and here. And as a matter of fact, no, I don't side with it for any stupid reason like political loyalty, I think a lot of Americans have been screwed over by the private sector especially due to its relationship with the US Government. The US Government themselves get premium, tax-payer fueled health care and the sudden thought of sharing that or seeing Americans gain that same ability frightens them.

@CO: See, I think the federal government's size is a problem, but at the same time so is the same with the private sector. They're so deep in bed with our government that you need a delicate plan to fix it and when people get screwed endlessly by these massive insurance companies that get to dance around their customers while those in support of such business practices hum "Let the buyer beware" in blissful ignorance, then you have a real problem.

My view has always been the government is there to help keep things in check. They're not our nannies, they're not our mothers, they're guardians plain and simple. The security and health of its citizens should be a governments' top priorities. I understand the "Earn it" standpoint a lot of those against healthcare speak about, but I'll give one contradiction I don't get. Those against healthcare tend to be republicans, correct? Well, aren't these the same people that voted in the Patriot Act? What kind of invasive and perverse power is that? Yet they decide to get angry at healthcare?

I only wonder if anyone has given thought to what some of these politicians stand to lose if big insurance companies take the hits they're expected to.
 
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maat

Registered Member
I think a lot of Americans have been screwed over by the private sector especially due to its relationship with the US Government.
The private sector has gained favor and power from the government that neither should have. Government healthcare only promotes more of the same.

The US Government themselves get premium, tax-payer fueled health care and the sudden thought of sharing that or seeing Americans gain that same ability frightens them.
Every individual in this country should have incentive(tax deductable) to shop for healthcare and health insurance, but no government employee(with exception of military) should recieve these as benefits and no companies should be given incentives to provide health insurance. Group plans are promoting too much insurance and not enough consumer price shopping/bill scrutiny.

The rest of your statement is rediculous.
@CO: See, I think the federal government's size is a problem, but at the same time so is the same with the private sector. They're so deep in bed with our government that you need a delicate plan to fix it and when people get screwed endlessly by these massive insurance companies that get to dance around their customers while those in support of such business practices hum "Let the buyer beware" in blissful ignorance, then you have a real problem.
The governments role is to establish fair rules and inforce them, not play quarterback. Insurance should only be used to protect wealth and debt liability. Individuals shopping for insurance will naturally find a plan that suits them, rather than settle for a cookie cutter plan.


My view has always been the government is there to help keep things in check. They're not our nannies, they're not our mothers, they're guardians plain and simple.
The federal government has specific duties of which my personal healthcare, retirement, food, clothing, shelter and education are not of them. It is the states that should implement welfare and low cost health options.

Those against healthcare tend to be republicans, correct? Well, aren't these the same people that voted in the Patriot Act? What kind of invasive and perverse power is that? Yet they decide to get angry at healthcare?
I as a conservative am against both.

I only wonder if anyone has given thought to what some of these politicians stand to lose if big insurance companies take the hits they're expected to.
Insurance should be just any other free market product which is fairly regulated by state and federal government.
 
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