Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drunks

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

When Work Force Shrinkage Is Good News

Posted by on Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 6:00 AM

A report says the U.S. work force could shrink by 2 million as a result of Obamacare. Horrible! Right? Wrong:

The nonpartisan budget office’s analysis, part of a regular update to its budget projections, was far more complicated than the Republican attack lines it generated. Congressional Republican leaders called the findings “devastating,” “terrible” and proof that the health care law was a job killer.

The report did say that the law would reduce hours worked and full-time employment, but not because of a crippling impact on private-sector job creation. With the expansion of insurance coverage, the budget office predicted, more people will choose not to work, and others will choose to work fewer hours than they might have otherwise to obtain employer-provided insurance. The cumulative reduction of hours is large: the equivalent of 2.5 million fewer full-time positions by 2024, the budget office said.

The report “rightfully says that people shouldn’t have job lock,” said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader. “We live in a country where we should be free agents. People can do what they want.”

Americans already work more hours with less vacation than people in other wealthy countries, often just to keep the health insurance that comes with a full time job. Maybe this will help give more Americans more of that precious thing Republicans sometimes claim to be all about: family time.


Comments (11) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Ernie1 1
And the other thing Rebublicans claim to be all about... Freedom!
Posted by Ernie1 on February 5, 2014 at 6:48 AM · Report this
I think this report is missing something. When people don't work because they don't have to, usually whatever they did still needs to be done. Most of the time their employer will replace them when they quit or reduce their hours. When some people are locked into keeping jobs they don't want for healthcare, and other people want those jobs that's bad for everyone.

I have known a few people who worked way longer than they should have when they had a good pension, just because they had a preexisting condition and needed the insurance. It looked like they died shortly after retiring, and they shouldn't have retired. The truth is they should have retired a long time ago but couldn't because of healthcare costs.
Posted by wl on February 5, 2014 at 6:57 AM · Report this
Per usual, repubs will wildly distort reality for their precious sound bites!
Posted by pat L on February 5, 2014 at 6:59 AM · Report this
sloegin 4
People leaving the workforce because they can would mean lower unemployment and rising wage pressure.

Devastating news to Rs and the people they represent.
Posted by sloegin on February 5, 2014 at 7:18 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 5
This is some good news: what would be better though is to lower the age for Medicare eligibility down to 50 or 55 years old. THAT would really free up jobs since many of the older work force would retire earlier if they didn't have to worry about medical insurance.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on February 5, 2014 at 7:36 AM · Report this
Sir Vic 6
Is the number of people who can now voluntarily leave the workforce greater than the number of people who are going to see their hours cut by ACA-dodging employers?
Posted by Sir Vic on February 5, 2014 at 7:40 AM · Report this
Original Andrew 7
Congress should just drop the age restrictions on Medicare so that we have universal coverage. Taxes would have to increase, but people would still save money by dropping their rapacious private health insurance policies.

No way anything that benefits the public is getting through our sadistic, psychopathic, face-eating KKKongress, of course.
Posted by Original Andrew on February 5, 2014 at 7:53 AM · Report this
Westlake, son! 8
I quit my job because of Obamacare. Removing the risk of medical bankruptcy is a strong incentive towards self-employment. I contribute more to the GDP now and less to enriching the 1%. Awesome.
Posted by Westlake, son! on February 5, 2014 at 8:40 AM · Report this
I'm working towards starting my own business, and thanks to the ACA I don't have to worry or stress about getting a job just for the benefits (which would suck all my time away from pursuing starting my business in the first place). I'm not a corporate slave now!
Posted by PistolAnnie on February 5, 2014 at 8:45 AM · Report this
Julie in Eugene 10
Obviously, some of those people will leave the workforce entirely (freeing up their position for someone else), but some of them might start their own business and become one of those job creators that Republicans like to go on about. I left my corporate-job-with-insurance some years ago to start a business -- even though I was young and relatively healthy the insurance piece was a huge factor in the calculus of whether to do it. Imagine how many more people will start businesses, now that they don't have to worry about insurance coverage....
Posted by Julie in Eugene on February 5, 2014 at 9:50 AM · Report this
fletc3her 11
When unemployment is high a reduction in the current work force actually provides job opportunities for those who would like them.

I'd also agree with @10. I'm an entrepreneur and living in Washington with its individual health insurance market was a factor in making it possible for us to set out on our own. If we hadn't been able to provide health care for the workers of our tiny company we may have had to get "real" jobs.

Interesting story idea... why does Washington not have any small business offerings in the exchange outside of those offered by Oregon in Vancouver and other border communities?
Posted by fletc3her on February 5, 2014 at 10:02 AM · Report this

Add a comment


Want great deals and a chance to win tickets to the best shows in Seattle? Join The Stranger Presents email list!

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy