We haven’t done much this week on the CBO report on Obamacare which says it will cost the equivalent of 2.5 million jobs, permanently, over the next 10 years. A lot of other things intervened and caught our attention, and that might be something of a shame.
Because the CBO report is devastating. It’s an objective analysis of Obamacare which exposes what an economic disaster it is for the country and how the Obama administration and its lickspittles among Democrats in Congress have hamstrung the nation’s prosperity.
What’s worse, though, is the reaction to the news from that side this week. Starting with Nancy Pelosi and progressing through the New York Times editorial board to Jay Carney, the Democrats are now spinning the CBO report as a good thing because it frees people from the tedium and drudgery of jobs they don’t enjoy – getting laid off from a job you wish you could quit but for the health insurance you have through it, and then going on government-subsidized health insurance, is a feature rather than a bug, you see.
Pelosi’s statements were her typical insanity. But Carney, who speaks for the president, was just as bad…
“Opportunity created by affordable, quality health insurance allows families in America to make a decision about how they will work, or if they will work.”
That’s a bit of a departure from the old-fashioned American ethic which says that if you’re able-bodied and not independently wealthy, you’re expected to work. Now we’re told by the Democrat Party that work is more of a choice, and choosing not to work without a viable means of support is just fine.
Amid 50 million people on food stamps, and 1.6 million people on unemployment for more than 99 weeks. And 14 million people under 65 who are drawing disability payments from the federal government.
Carney makes this statement yesterday, and Charles Krauthammer picks up on it on Fox News…
“Of course in the free society you can decide if you want to work, but what ObamaCare does, in sort of the essence of liberalism, is that you can then choose not to work and the people who do work end up subsidizing you. Those people have to send the money to the government and it’s then shifted to the people who chose, in this ideal new opportunity society, not to work.”
At a hearing Wednesday, House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., questioned CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf on the long term impact on growth, particularly on already economically disadvantaged Americans: “getting the dignity of work, getting more opportunity, rise in their income, joining the middle class? This means fewer people will do that. That’s why I’m troubled by this.”
Krauthammer seconded that concern saying: “Ryan is right, it’s particularly in the one place where you want the incentive because it is the only way out of the ladder, of people who are unsuccessful in society is to work, get the training and the habit, and the dignity of work, and this does exactly the opposite.
“Now, you can argue it’s an inevitable side effect of any kind of benefit of this sort, but that’s not the argument the administration is making. This is a benefit, a wonderful thing that we’re giving people the opportunity not to work and to live off the sweat and the work of other people. Is that the American way? That sounds odd to me.”
The Democrats have proven they can go a long way in electoral politics by casting themselves as the party of free stuff from the government. It is of decidedly less strategic value to them to be cast as the party of people who choose to live off the sweat of others. Even in Obama’s economy there are more people working than not, and people who work are generally not pleased with people who don’t.
Being the party of layabouts is not particularly smart politics, but that’s what the Democrats officially became this week with the CBO report and their reaction to it.
It does mean many workers will have less incentive to work. Some will gain welcome flexibility — if they have clung to jobs just to keep employer-based health care, they will have access to coverage that’s not conditioned on holding a job.
But, and here’s where the impact is likely pernicious, some will quit or work less precisely because they’ll now qualify for Medicaid or for subsidies under the law. In effect, they’ll have a government incentive to be less productive. Some higher-income workers also will have a disincentive — higher taxes under Obamacare — for providing more labor. That is, a disincentive to work.
Government subsidies that persuade people to be less productive are not healthy for the nation. They’re also costly. Which goes to the more alarming news that came out of the CBO this week.
The CBO — as close as you’ll get in Washington to a nonpartisan source of information — released its federal budget projections for the next 10 years. The prospect is bleak:
The agency projects that annual deficits will stabilize through 2017 but then will launch into a long rise. By the most useful measure — debt as a percentage of our gross domestic product — the CBO sees that number rising from 72.1 percent in 2013 to 79.2 percent by 2024. That would be the highest U.S. debt burden since the years after federal borrowing spiked to fight World War II.
The question is this: how many of the lower-level Democrat politicians, particularly those in purple or red states, will stay on board with this? Or how many of them will go down with the ship?
Karl Rove’s American Crossroads isn’t exactly what you’d call the oracle of Senate elections, as they’ve bankrolled more losers than anybody over the last few cycles, but they can read polls. Here’s what they found looking at the most recent round of them…
- In Arkansas, Republican Tom Cotton leads incumbent Democrat Sen. Mark Pryor 42-36. Pryor’s job approval is upside-down, with 37% approving and 40% disapproving of the way he is handling his job as senator.
- In Alaska, Democrat Sen. Mark Begich trails both major GOP candidates, Mead Treadwell and Dan Sullivan, by six points (47-41). Begich is also upside-down, with 47% disapproving of his job as senator, and 41% approving.
- In Montana, GOP Rep. Steve Daines leads Democrat Lt. Gov. John Walsh by 14 points (43-29) – and leads former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger by 43-32%.
- Louisiana voters do not like Mary Landrieu. 51% disapprove of the way she is handling her job, with only 40% favorable. AMAZINGLY, while she generates 42% support on the initial ballot in Louisiana (Louisiana has an open initial ballot where if no one gains 50% support, a two-candidate ballot follows) she only moves to 44% in a head-to-head against likely GOP candidate, Rep. Bill Cassidy. Cassidy leads a head to head 45-44, with 11% not sure. (Fully 46 percent of voters don’t have an opinion on Cassidy.)
- In Michigan, Republican Terri Lynn Land leads Democrat Rep. Gary Peters 42-37 – while President Obama is underwater in his approval rating 38%-52%.
- In North Carolina, Democrat Kay Hagan is viewed by 37% favorably and 49% unfavorably. She ties likely GOP candidate Thom Tillis 44-44.
- Finally, in New Hampshire, Democrat Sen. Jean Shaheen leads former Sen. Scott Brown 40-35% in a hypothetical matchup – even as she is one of the few democratic incumbents with a net positive impression among her voters. Dragging her down to 40 in the head-to-head? The 22% net disapproval for President Obama (57-35) and a staggering 28% disapproval of the Obamacare law, with 60% disapproving of it and only 32% approving of the law.
What they didn’t mention was that Ken Buck, the Tea Party-backed Republican frontrunner in Colorado, is neck-and-neck with Democrat incumbent Mark Udall…
With large gender gaps, Colorado voters approve 45 – 41 percent of the job Sen. Mark Udall is doing, but are divided 42 – 42 percent on whether he deserves reelection this year. Women approve 51 – 32 percent and say 48 – 31 percent he deserves reelection. Men disapprove 49 – 40 percent and say 52 – 36 percent he does not deserve reelection.
Looking at the 2014 U.S. Senate race in Colorado, Sen. Udall gets 45 percent to 42 percent for Republican District Attorney Ken Buck. In other possible matchups:
- Udall gets 43 percent to 41 percent for State Sen. Randy Baumgardner;
- Udall edges State Sen. Owen Hill 44 – 39 percent;
- Udall has 43 percent to State Rep. Amy Stephens with 41 percent;
- Udall tops businessman Jaime McMillan 45 – 38 percent.
“Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Mark Udall may be the front-runner, but he can hear the footsteps of three challengers, all within a few percentage points of him,” Malloy said.
They can’t hold the Senate if they’re the party of people who don’t work.
We hear a lot about the rift between the GOP establishment and the party’s base, and that rift is real. But how does this pivot toward “you don’t have to work if you don’t want to” among Democrats in Washington not open up a similar chasm?