February 5, 2014

Spinning the CBO report.

The Wall Street Journal: "The Jobless Care Act/Congress's budget office says ObamaCare will increase unemployment."

Talking Points Memo: "The Best Of The Bad Reporting On Obamacare, The CBO And Jobs."

The White House: "Statement by the Press Secretary on Today’s CBO Report and the Affordable Care Act."

L.A. Times: "Why the new CBO report on Obamacare is good news."

And here's an effort at disciplining the spinners, from Glenn Kessler, the WaPo Fact Checker, who "takes no position on the implications of the CBO’s analysis" and — because there must be a Pinocchio rating — gives 3 Pinocchios "to anyone who deliberately gets this wrong."

85 comments:

Herb said...

29 hour work week of course its a drag on the economy, the President complaining about the wage gap is only making it wider with the his signature accomplishment of his presidency.

rehajm said...

"People respond to incentives"

Assuming the statement is true, who's more more likely to be lying?

rehajm said...

So according to the administration, CBO is the end all arguments arbiter of fact and truth, until it isn't.

jacksonjay said...


"Heads I win, Tails you lose!" BHO

PB Reader said...

The previous CBO report on Obamacare was wildly optimistic based on wildly optimistic assumptions. While certain reality is creeping in, there are still wildly optimistic assumptions in the current report.

The next CBO report on Obamacare will be even worse.

Ipso Fatso said...

I would link to it but I am not able to, The NYT's has a remarkable editorial today essentially saying that losing 2.5 million jobs to Obamacare is a good thing. Remarkable.

Edward Lunny said...

And "unexpectedly", well, except to those of us with a lick of commonsense. A rousing " we told you so, asshole ! " to everyone who voted for that fascist shit.

Jimmy said...

No matter how thinly you slice it, it's still baloney.

I pity the "journalists" and commentators who twist themselves into impossible pretzels trying to defend the indefensible.

When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'

garage mahal said...

So people won't have to work at a shit job they hate solely because they need health insurance? That sounds freedom-y. Employers will now have to compete a little harder for talent, which should raise wages. No wonder Republicans hate it.

Paul said...

So Obama wants to turn us into France.

But then from the way he manages his office and takes so many vacations I guess he is already on the 30 hr. work week himself.

Paul said...

So Obama wants to turn us into France.

But then from the way he manages his office and takes so many vacations I guess he is already on the 30 hr. work week himself.

Grimstarr said...

Kessler screwed up more than people realize. In his article he admits that "food stamps or other social services" are a disincentive to work. Expect the liberals to smack that down hard as soon as they understand he has let the cat out of the bag and given conservatives another arrow to put in the quiver.

AReasonableMan said...

garage mahal said...
So people won't have to work at a shit job they hate solely because they need health insurance? That sounds freedom-y.


As usual Garage provides a voice of reason.

rehajm said...

A more instructive The New York Times editorial on the situation.

Brennan said...

I have a chance to ask Doug Elmendorf a question. I've been thinking about what I would ask, but what would Althouse readers like to ask CBO Director Doug Elmendorf?

Ipso Fatso said...

"That sounds freedom-y. Employers will now have to compete a little harder for talent, which should raise wages. "

Just like all those "Green Jobs" or "Shovel Ready Jobs" that your Savior promised, ha Garage?

Like everything else you belive in, complete BS.

gerry said...

Ah, the wisdom of Chief Justice Roberts: he took the advice of the ghost of Charles Evans Hughes and is forcing the administration, the Democrat Party, and the Democrat-majority Senate to choke down its own food. It's getting tough, eh?

Henry said...

Kessler's writeup is pretty good.

I really love the way government incentives and disincentives are transmuted into a Switzerland of neutral behavior.

In other words, the nonpartisan agency is examining whether the law increases or decreases incentives for people to work.

The concept is easily extended.

In other words, the U.S. First Army is examining whether invading France increases or decreases the incentives for Nazis to fight.

It's all so scientific. You "examine" something and see if it increases or decreases "incentives".

jacksonjay said...

Employers will now have to compete a little harder for talent,...

No, the "talent" will be selling art works, music, writings and photographs!

rehajm said...

but what would Althouse readers like to ask CBO Director Doug Elmendorf?

Have you ever been asked or told to alter a CBO report by a member of the administration?

Brando said...

Fewer people working and contributing taxes to pay for a larger number of beneficiaries, and the Administration speaks as if this is a feature, not a bug.

I would think any progressive with conscious thought would recognize that if you want a generous yet costly set of benefits for the needy, it is imperative that you have far more taxpayers making far more money, and as few beneficiaries as necessary. Such progressives would see this study as nothing but bad news for this program.

These people are not progressives--they are nothing more than a hacktocracy. Anything to support and justify their mistakes, regardless of the real world consequences.

The upshot is that if this thing continues to snowball into an ever increasing disaster, no one outside of the Ezra Klein left--that is, those that are reality-challenged and must never stray from fidelity to their savior--will support the creation of any major government benefit like this again.

Brennan said...

rehajm: That is an excellent question. It's one already on my list since my expectation is that the CBO Director would decline all invitations to the White House to discuss CBO analyses specifically to avoid compromising the integrity of the CBO.

rhhardin said...

It's worse than everybody is saying.

It reduces the number of possible voluntary exchanges, which lowers the standard of living of the nation.

Voluntary exchanges are the only source of wealth.

rhhardin said...

Check out Richard Epstein on regulation, back in 2010. (podcast)

It's not as if this is a big surprise.

The Drill SGT said...

CBO evaluations of public policy always go from good to bad. It's because of their rules.

When the legislation is under consideration and they are asked to forecast the impacts, they are required to consider all the favorable assumptions that the writers out in... How a future Congress will allow the Doc rate cut to happen. How the Keynesian multiplier will mean jobs, jobs, jobs, etc

After the law is passed and unicorns don't fart gold bars, the CBO attempts to regain credibility.

The ACA will get an even worse score from CBO when they can no longer avoid scoring the:
- employer mandate
- lost docs
- rise in uninsured
- increased ER visits
- rise in cost (based on actuals, not rosey scenarios)

rehajm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SGT Ted said...

So people won't have to work at a shit job they hate solely because they need health insurance?

Now they will have to work at that shit job at reduced hours and pay more thru the exchanges, if they can afford it at all.

The shop where I work will have to cut all the hours for the full-timers to part time, because they will have to close if they have to pay for the shit sandwich called the ACA. The owners are already not taking salary to keep it open. Those soon to be part timers cannot afford the ACA on the exchanges, based on the prices I have researched.

How is that good?

garage pretends he is for working people. Working people are getting fucked by the ACA.


Working people cannot afford to pay what is essentially the legalized theft of their money by the Government that then gives it to their rich buddies in the insurance industry, so that a bunch of CEOs can continue to live large and funnel some of that money to Democrat Party election campaigns.

Care to address that, garage?

This is an administration full of casual liars and scam artists. I don't buy their claims of political neutrality one bit.

The Obama regime is continuing to ignore and trying to hide all the other lies and incompetence that were revealed during the rollout last fall.

This is turd polishing. It may be shiny, but it's still a turd.

SGT Ted said...

Yes, actual blue collar working people are getting fucked by the ACA.

People that garage claims he supports, over the rich guys in the insurance industry and Government.

Oh that's right, we're not union, because if we were, the shop would have closed long ago. So, we don't count in the world of people like garage mahal.

Progressives are such douchebags.

rehajm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rehajm said...

Brennan said...
...my expectation is that the CBO Director would decline all invitations to the White House to discuss CBO analyses specifically to avoid compromising the integrity of the CBO.


I've wondered this as well. Rather than arm twisting, it seems more likely to me this type of interaction involves a number of What if we present the data to CBO like this? scenarios, essentially giving the pol doing the questioning the keys to the CBO kingdom.

rehajm said...

So people won't have to work at a shit job they hate solely because they need health insurance?

At the margin, as you earn more, you receive less healthcare subsidy, which is a strong incentive to work less, stay in that "shit" job or not accept a promotion.

garage mahal said...

At the margin, as you earn more, you receive less healthcare subsidy, which is a strong incentive to work less, stay in that "shit" job or accept a promotion.

People will be able to retire earlier, quite a full time job to start a business, switch to part time and raise their kids or attend school, etc. That is a feature not a negative side effect.

Why does giving a subsidy to a lower income person discourage them while giving subsidies to the wealthy inspire them?

Anonymous said...

It's not like we've already got a problem with declining labor force participation or anything.

SGT Ted said...

Why does giving a subsidy to a lower income person discourage them while giving subsidies to the wealthy inspire them?

I dunno, garage. You supporting Government forcing the payment of subsidies going from working class people to the white collar Insurance and Medical industry.

You tell me why working stiffs forced to give subsidies to the wealthy 1%ers in those industries inspires someone like me, a lower income person? After all, it's what YOU are supporting.

Unknown said...

Can't emphasize enough: CBO analysis is based on assumptions specified by the requestor.

So if you specify analysis assumptions that favor the result you want, CBO is probably going to echo back the results you want out.

CBO is non-partisan like a calculator is non partisan, GIGO.

alan markus said...

ARetardedMan said:

garage mahal said...
So people won't have to work at a shit job they hate solely because they need health insurance? That sounds freedom-y.

As usual Garage provides a voice of reason.


Must be ManCrushWednesday or ARM is Garage Mahal or ARM is just easily wowed.

A few other reasons to work a shit job:

Mortgage/Rent payments
Auto Payments
Cell Phone Bill
Food
Children in the family
Cable Bill


TosaGuy said...

That Talking Points Memo piece is all kinds of horrible. The author and the commenters seem to think that everyone impacted by this has all of these entrepreneurial options that they can't exercise because they need to work at crappy jobs for health insurance. They don't seem to get that people getting their hours cut is a bad thing if you need the hours.

This is typical of the growing Prog elite who don't realize that most people punch a time clock for their job. Their utter disconnectedness is growing leaps and bounds.

garage mahal said...

I dunno, garage. You supporting Government forcing the payment of subsidies going from working class people to the white collar Insurance and Medical industry.

Actually the rich are paying for this through a Medicare payroll tax, taxes on medical device manufacturers and drug companies, and savings from Medicare payments to insurers and hospitals. Link

TosaGuy said...

Progs: "In order to make an omelet you need to break a few eggs."

Omelete = Prog political power and payoffs to corporate cronies.

Eggs = Real jobs and hours worked by regular people.

SGT Ted said...

The author and the commenters seem to think that everyone impacted by this has all of these entrepreneurial options that they can't exercise because they need to work at crappy jobs for health insurance. They don't seem to get that people getting their hours cut is a bad thing if you need the hours.

They are floating this raft of bullshit for their partisans to parrot in the press and to be able to continue to ignore the damage the ACA is doing to peoples lives and mollify the guilty feelings the credentialed white elites that voted for Obama.

They don't care whether or not it's the truth. Just like they don't care who it hurts.

The guys in my shop need the hours to pay their bills, and not a crappy health plan that sucks money out of their bank account and gives it to the already wealthy.

SGT Ted said...

Actually the rich are paying for this through a Medicare payroll tax, taxes on medical device manufacturers and drug companies, and savings from Medicare payments to insurers and hospitals

Bullshit, garage. That's not what's happening to my friends.

They cannot afford the subsidized plans on their wages and their hours are being cut even more.

Quit pissing on my back and telling me its raining. Quit parroting the lies.

SGT Ted said...

Man, garage, for someone that claims to be for the working class, you sure don't seem to know any.

Tom Gallagher said...

garage has been reduced to a stain on the sidewalk and responds in Monty Python fashion, "I'm not dead yet!"

SGT Ted said...

Ah, what am I thinking?

Garage is a progressive. He doesn't care about actual workers. He only cares about his political desires.

Actual workers whose lives are harmed by the ACA forcing them to buy a shitty plan they cannot afford is to be ignored and dismissed with comforting lies, for the Greater Glory of Progressive Vision.

Humperdink said...

Garage your logic mystifies me.

Created incentives for people to work less so they can receive a subsidy is a good thing? Where does the subsidy come from?

Creating incentives for employers to reduce headcount (keep it under 50 employees) and hours (keep it under 30 hours) is good thing?

Wowee!

SGT Ted said...

Maybe if the "rich" were actually paying for it, would it be a benefit for lower income workers. But, that's not what's actually happening.

EMD said...

taxes on medical device manufacturers and drug companies

Hmmm... I wonder where those end up.

TosaGuy said...

What the Progs are saying with regard to opening up options with access to health insurance is not necessarily untrue. Such a panacea may exist for those already with means to make the leap. I am within a few years of making it myself.

The arrogance in their logic is that you have to have a whole bunch of more important things lined up and very few people in our non-saver culture have done those things. Essentially, the road to get to affluence has just gotten more difficult.

Despite what popular culture implies, not every 20-something is a hipster who can't write the next great novel because they are stuck working at Starbucks.

Cutting hours and killing jobs hurts real people who don't give a damn about the fantasy that Progs dream up to hide from the reality they created.

khesanh0802 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andy Freeman said...

> So people won't have to work at a shit job they hate solely because they need health insurance? That sounds freedom-y.

Freedom's just another word for making someone else pay....

Why should I work so someone else doesn't have to do a shit job?

I think that all govt aid should come with a shit-job requirement. Being on the dole should be unpleasant.

And no "corporations get govt benefits" isn't an excuse to make aid programs pleasant. The crony deals (including pretty much every farm bill) are wrong too and should be eliminated.

Michael said...

SGT Ted. You are correct. The rich arent paying for it. My costs went up a lot but not enough to count for the very real increase that a middle class person is facing, especially in the deductible and co-pay areas. The low information Democrat will expect something from insurance that insurance does not provide. This is a total clusterfuck of a law. It will collapse or there will be a revolt of the insured which will make the tea party of 2010 look small. I qould feel better if I were among thise who see the law as part of a sinister plot to take our freedom. Rather I believe it is the product of stupid thinking by stupid people who believe that good intentions are all that is required to "fix" things. People who believe a great management trick is to chant "failure is not an option."

cubanbob said...

My fear is that the CBOs projection is the best case scenario. Now if those two million plus jobs lost were public sector jobs Garage would be singing a different tune.

khesanh0802 said...

In 2010 Labor and HHS predicted that Obamacare would have a negative effect on 120 million people: policy changes, premium increases, etc. How the CBO winnows that down to 2.5 million is beyond me.

I have been thinking about Garage's comment. First think about those whose hours get reduced. Let's say a person was working 35 hours @ $10 and is reduced to 29 hours to avoid Obamacare. That's a salary reduction of $240 per month. On top of that the mandate requires that person buy health insurance. Most of the anecdotes I have seen have that person buying insurance that costs $150 - $200 per month after subsidies. So these employees comes out about $390 to $440 behind. At a minimum that's a reduction of 27% in the employee's income.

What about the people whose hours aren't reduced, but whose employer closes his plan and "throws" them on the exchanges? (See Best Buy, Target, IBM, et al.) Those people may be luckier because they can still work their 40 hour weeks - $400. However it is likely that their subsidies will be reduced; let's say they pay $200 per month to avoid the mandate. Their salary reduction is only 12.5%.

What about those people who hate their job and quit because they can now get subsidized health coverage. They only have to pay $150 per month, perhaps. Of course they have taken a 100% pay cut and may have some problems paying for life's other basic needs. Unless you and I are coerced into paying for their food and housing.

I really don't think the numbers work in the real world.

Broomhandle said...

Garage,
All of those taxes are passed on to the consumers. You can't be as ignorant as you appear to be. I'm beginning to think you're a moby.

Tank said...

What are these people complaining about. Less hours at work means less time at some meaningless crappy job, and more time to travel, play golf, go to the opera, or attend the Super Bowl. I mean the options are endless.

cubanbob said...

Why does giving a subsidy to a lower income person discourage them while giving subsidies to the wealthy inspire them?"

Since when is being able to keep more of your money a subsidy? Garage believe it or not but most people aren't socialists.

garage mahal said...

What about those people who hate their job and quit because they can now get subsidized health coverage. They only have to pay $150 per month, perhaps. Of course they have taken a 100% pay cut and may have some problems paying for life's other basic needs.

I think you're assuming those people would just sit around watch soaps all day? How about taking of their family, starting a new career by attending school, start a new business, etc. ObamaCare strengthens worker's bargaining, by design, and that is a good thing.

Brennan said...

People will be able to retire earlier, quite a full time job to start a business, switch to part time and raise their kids or attend school, etc. That is a feature not a negative side effect.

I agree with you on the context of this "feature", but this isn't really what was pursued in the ACA. I was expecting health care reform to really move the chains on the field so health care is attached to me and not some benefit from my employer. Regardless, this "feature" does have costs that the CBO is projecting result in reduced labor hours which will reduce incomes, which reduces tax receipts, which increases the deficit.

Anonymous said...

Funemployment is back!

garage mahal said...

Hammocks for everyone!

Rumpletweezer said...

No matter what happens, garage, I still like you. You make me laugh.

Brennan said...

How the CBO winnows that down to 2.5 million is beyond me.

CBO actually factors that the labor hours lossed is equivalent to the loss of 2.5 million jobs. These are hours that are spread out over a large number of laborers. They will simply work fewer hours, choose not to work for incentive pay, sell less to reduce commissions, and just avoid productive work because the benefits change their eligibility for ACA support.

It's really exactly what was predicted by all those racist taxed enough already citizens.

cubanbob said...

I think you're assuming those people would just sit around watch soaps all day? How about taking of their family, starting a new career by attending school, start a new business, etc. ObamaCare strengthens worker's bargaining, by design, and that is a good thing."

With what money? As for bargaining you must be kidding. With high unemployment and flat revenues the only "bargaining" will praying you still have a job.

donald said...

It's awesome that your bosses don't take a salary to keep their doors open.

Rich fuckin bastards.

Seeing Red said...

Tampons were going to be classified a "medical device" until Congress got scared.

GM is just spreading the talking points. There's no point in arguing. His fingers are in his ears and he's singing to himself.

Obamacare strengthens workers bargaining? Lololol

Christy said...

From all I've read, the individual plans people had to buy this year cost more than last year's plans and have big deductibles. Obama touts that his ACA provides subsidies so those higher prices don't matter. Does anyone know if the subsidized plans cover the deductible?

SGT Ted said...

Myself, I am SOOOOOOO lucky. I have my military benefits.

I ran the numbers.

If I had to go to the exchanges, I wouldn't be able to afford insurance. I wouldn't get a subsidy. Even with a subsidy I wouldn't be able to afford the premium. Or the deductible or co-payments.

If were to try to be able to afford them, I would have to live like a pauper in a shitty apt in a dangerous neighborhood. I would have to downsize my life significantly, just to send a huge chunk of my middling wages to fund white collar and professional jobs in the insurance and medical industries and government, many of whom live privileged lives and have college degrees.

The ACA is a crony payoff system that rips off the lower to middle classes money for the benefit of corporations run by millionaires. It is evil, like all collectivism becomes evil.

The ACA is a wealth transfer from the lower and middle classes to the Urban White Collar college educated professional class, known for their wealth, using government as the enforcer.

Out of touch elitists like Obama and his supporters don't get it and they don't care to get it, because they simply don't care about anyone anything but their precious ACA law remaining on the books. Because Legacy!

Fuck you for what you are doing to my friends.

Seeing Red said...

Or they'll just do more with less like Barry wants us to. At this point, start your own business all cash or cash barter.

Turning us into Russia.

richlb said...

I foresee an unmitigated disaster next year. Even if the Repubs take the Senate (I put it at 50/50, mainly because these guys are simply idiots in playing the hand that they are dealt) nothing will change with the ACA with Obama in the White House. Next year when employers take full advantage of the ability to bounce employees from their health care teats, the masses are going to be royally screwed. And sadly I feel it's too late to do anything about it. Bandaids may be applied legislatively, but the damage will be done to the economy.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Good to see Garage and the leftist finally come around to realize that wages rise when labor is in more demand.

Next they'll be arguing to deport all the illegals who are driving down wages for the poorest workers.

Oh wait they arent? Then they are lying pieces of shit

CWJ said...

For many, health insurance affordability before = an employment benefit.

Health insurance affordability now = a federal government subsidy.

Even taking the spin at face value. Before, you worked at a crappy job to keep your insurance. Now, you must vote for crappy fiscally irresponsible politicians to keep your subsidy.

As I've commented before, this is nothing more than another vote buying scheme.

Fen said...

Fewer people working and contributing taxes to pay for a larger number of beneficiaries, and the Administration speaks as if this is a feature, not a bug.

It is a feature. The goal is to enslave more people to the State, not to provide health insurance.

BTW, any woman who expects a hip replacement in her winter years - make sure you are registered as a Dem, and don't say anything on the phone or net thats critical of Our Dear Leaders.

Fen said...

Then they are lying pieces of shit

I've been on this blog since Valenti posed her boobs for Clinton.

I can't recall a single time that Garage has strayed from the Party Line.

Garage?

khesanh0802 said...

@ Garage

Typical liberal response. They lost their jobs and the numbers don't work so let's change the assumptions.

Unless these are second or third jobs these people are going to need to get their hands on $ somewhere and soon. They won't have time to think about alternative life styles. You must be in academia to think that the majority of people react to losing a job by saying "Oh boy, an opportunity!". Most respond by worrying about where their next car payment is gong to come from.

khesanh0802 said...

@ Garage

How the hell do you start a new business with no capital. These people will have no capital. And don't tell me credit cards because they won't have those either; or not for long.

cubanbob said...

richlb said...
I foresee an unmitigated disaster next year. Even if the Repubs take the Senate (I put it at 50/50, mainly because these guys are simply idiots in playing the hand that they are dealt) nothing will change with the ACA with Obama in the White House. Next year when employers take full advantage of the ability to bounce employees from their health care teats, the masses are going to be royally screwed. And sadly I feel it's too late to do anything about it. Bandaids may be applied legislatively, but the damage will be done to the economy.

2/5/14, 11:09 AM

I wish I could be as optimistic as you!

khesanh0802 said...

@ Sgt Ted

Well said!

Rusty said...

AReasonableMan said...
garage mahal said...
So people won't have to work at a shit job they hate solely because they need health insurance? That sounds freedom-y.

As usual Garage provides a voice of reason.


The dopeyness gells.

Rusty said...


It's really exactly what was predicted by all those racist taxed enough already citizens.

Told ya this would happen.

gadfly said...

Everyone needs to settle down. After all, this is a CBO report - and we know that their accuracy rate is right up there with the number of times that a stopped clock accurately gives the correct time daily.

geokstr said...

But unfortunately, the CBO's forecasts are always optimistic, even when they have to start factoring in reality because reality is now here. They always underestimate costs and overstate revenues, because they still base them on the "static" model, as if there are no incentives or disincentives of governmental action.

So the projections will just continue to get worse (unless the NSA gets to them.)

Rusty said...

Jells

Leit Bart said...

@rehajm said:

"At the margin, as you earn more, you receive less healthcare subsidy, which is a strong incentive to work less, stay in that *shit* job or not accept a promotion."

Precisely. And if your income inches one tick above 400% of the FPL, you lose your subsidy altogether. This is complete "wage lock." So much for the "upper mobility" Obama claims to crave for "the folks."

Instead, Obamacare crushes upward mobility. A family who makes $1.00 over 400%FPL loses its entire insurance subsidy. So what will "the folks" in the lower and middle classes do? They'll be damn sure they stay in their place -- which is the 400% FPL limit. Overtime, or a raise, or a job promotion? No thanks, boss -- gotta' keep my premium subsidy.

And income inequality? Obamacare widens the gap considerably and almost permanently. Because if you are at or under 400% FPL, you won't be going anywhere. No more hope of "breaking out" of the middle class for you.

And I wonder how many of "the folks" will simply quit because their employer offers them insurance (thereby precluding their spouse and children from getting subsidies on the exchange)? If I'm getting health insurance at work and netting $18k but my family would get $12k in subsidies if I had no job ... well, that math is not hard.

Forward, march!

Jane the Actuary said...

So I just spent a good chunk of time working through the report to understand what the CBO's logic was, which I invite you all to read at http://janetheactuary.blogspot.com/2014/02/reading-cbo-report.html but I'm now too tired to write a clever insightful comment.

But one quick note: the CBO report is about the total hours worked, not the number of workers. If an employer hires two part-time workers instead of a full-time worker, the net hours aren't affected.

Fen said...

Shorter Garage: "They can't get bread? Then let them eat cake!"