WINGNUT LIE-BRARY: Journal Sentinel columnist Schneider pumps GOP claim that Affordable Care Act to cost millions of jobs | WisCommunity

WINGNUT LIE-BRARY: Journal Sentinel columnist Schneider pumps GOP claim that Affordable Care Act to cost millions of jobs

If the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's own Politifact operation were to rate the latest opus from Christian Schneider, the paper's shrill shill, it would in a just world go for "pants on fire."

Schneider, a Journal Sentinel columnist and former operative for the right-wing Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, is in print today dutifully passing along the Republican meme of the moment -- namely, that the Affordable Care Act (oh, sorry, "Obamacare") is going to cost the country more than 2 million jobs. Two million!

Or not. Schneider, like Sen. Mitch McConnell and lately everyone else in the Republican Party hierarchy on down, is twisting a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which, Schneider wrote, "estimated Obamacare could effectively reduce the number of American workers by 2.5 million over the next decade."

That weasel word "effectively" is big stuff, because what it really stands for here is "in our fevered imaginations." Because the CBO report says no such thing. In a column entitled "Republicans double down on another Big Lie about Obamacare," the Washington Post's Greg Sargent writes:

Indeed, even CBO director Douglas Elmendorf  of jobs being “lost” during yesterday’s House hearing, noting that when people decide to ease up on work for good reasons, “we don’t sympathize. We say congratulations.” Elmendorf  that those impacted this way could include older people who decide to retire earlier than they otherwise might have, or spouses who choose to reduce work hours to stay home with a new baby.

It’s worth appreciating the perverse nature of the lie on display here. Because Republicans are absolutely wedded to their “Obamacare is a job killer” talking point, the CBO report’s findings are being distorted into proof that the law will inflict job losses on millions of workers who, in this telling, become Obamacare’s helpless victims — a labor demand argument. In reality, the report actually found it would impact the choices workers receiving the law’s benefits make — a labor supply argument.

Here's what Schneider slyly avoids writing: If every single one of the people estimated in the CBO report actually do over the next decade opt out of work after benefitting from better health coverage, that wouldn't "cost" the country a single one of their jobs. Their decisions would OPEN UP those jobs to new applicants. And in an economy where three or four people are chasing every job opening, that's a huge plus. Some people retiring early or moving on to more preferred employment thanks to the Affordable Care Act, with an equal number filling their former jobs thereafter? That's a good thing.

But to Schneider and the other propagandists who see hitting on "Obamacare" as their ideology's best path to further electoral success, a more robust job market and better health care choices are "socialism." And you can tell they're struggling with that, because not only are they becoming more shrill about it, the meme isn't even that new. It's just a re-tread of a previously dismissed GOP talking point. A year ago, Republicans were screaming that "Obamacare" was costing part-time jobs in particular and all employment in general. Nope. As wrote:

Obamacare critics have been pointing to several companies’ claims that the law is  as proof that the health law is bad for businesses and employees. But a new report finds that employers were cutting health benefits and workers’ hours long before Obamacare was even an idea... .

Even employers with full time workers have been shifting the cost of medical care onto their employees  and bare bones health plans — something that industry experts expect to continue. Over the last decade, average annual health insurance premiums rose by approximately 97 percent — but workers’ contributions to those premiums increased by an outsized 102 percent in the same time span.

This reflects  in which employers are the major providers of Americans’ health coverage. Recent history suggests that companies would have continued slashing workers’ benefits and hours anyway — Obamacare has just given them a convenient excuse.

Indeed, the CBO's new report suggests that "Obamacare" is giving financially supportive choices to millions of workers who were trapped in jobs they didn't like and couldn't afford, thanks in part to health-insurance handcuffs.

One other point here: Schneider's column was unbalanced in today's Journal Sentinel opinion section. It's unlikely even the increasingly conservative editors of the paper believe what he's writing. But neither do they rein him in. And so the froth and drool of over-the-top GOP nonsense continues to stain the pages of the state's largest and most influential newspaper.


February 9, 2014 - 8:39am