In response to your recent claim that the ACA is a job killer, Doug Elmendorf replies
"On Wednesday, Congressional Budget Office (CBO) director Doug
Elmendorf refuted the claim that the Affordable Care Act is a job killer
— a misleading takeaway from his agency’s new report that is being touted by Obamacare critics.
Testifying before the House Budget Committee on the CBO’s newly released economic projections
for the next decade, Elmendorf addressed the report’s finding that the
Affordable Care Act will reduce the labor participation rate and the
total number of hours worked by an equivalent of 2 million jobs in 2017.
According to Elmendorf, that statistic is being taken out of context to
suggest that Obamacare will eliminate jobs.
“The reason we don’t use the term ‘lost jobs’ is there is a critical
difference between people who like to work and can’t find a job — or
have a job that’s lost for reasons beyond their control — and people who
choose not to work,” he explained. “If someone comes up to you and
says, ‘The boss says I’m being laid off because we don’t have enough
business to pay,’ any other person feels bad about that and we
sympathize for them having lost their job. If someone says, ‘I decided
to retire or stay home and spend more time with my family and spend more
time doing my hobby,’ they don’t feel bad about it — they feel good
about it. And we don’t sympathize. We say congratulations.”
Even Budget Committee Chairman and former GOP vice presidential
nominee Paul Ryan conceded that point in part. “Just to understand, it
is not that employers are laying people off,” said Ryan at the beginning
of the hearing.
In fact, the CBO report explicitly states that the estimated
reduction in labor “stems almost entirely from a net decline in the
amount of labor that workers choose to supply, rather than from a net
drop in businesses’ demand for labor” and that “there is no compelling
evidence that part-time employment has increased as a result of ACA.”