By Michael J.W. Stickings
Well, maybe "even" isn't the right word. Paul Ryan is a fairly smart guy, whatever you think of his atrocious views, and so one should expect him to understand the difference between the truth and partisan spin -- and his own party's dishonesty. He's no Louie Gohmert, after all, to name but one of his embarrassing colleagues. In a caucus full of morons, that is to say, Ryan does stand out as a man with some capacity for independent thought. Which isn't saying much, but still.
At least one Republican is setting the record straight on what the Congressional Budget Office actually said this week about Obamacare and its effect on jobs.
It's a pretty easy thing to understand. There are people who only work because they need the health coverage. With Obamacare, that is, with access to affordable health insurance, they won't need to do that. Ryan opposes Obamacare, but at least he seems to grasp that. The problem is that many in his party either don't or don't want to, and so what we're getting from Republicans and their allies in the media (and even some in the "liberal media" who are too stupid to figure it out or who just regurgitate GOP lies) is yet more distortion, yet more dishonesty, yet more lies, which is pretty much all they've got in their ongoing assault on Obamacare.
House Budget Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) explained in a Wednesday hearing with CBO director Doug Elmendorf that the health care reform law wouldn't cost the U.S. economy more than 2 million jobs, as many of his colleagues alleged, but that Americans would choose to work less.
"I want to make sure we accurately understand what it is you are saying," Ryan said, before leading Elmendorf through a series of questions to explain the report and its findings.
Ryan and Elmendorf combined to explain that Obamacare would lead to a decrease in the number of hours worked by up to 2 percent in 2024. Most of that drop, the CBO said, would be the result of Americans choosing not to work, for various reasons, but not because employers would want to hire fewer workers on account of the law. Translate those lost hours into full-time employment and it equals up to 2.5 million jobs by 2024. But that's not the same as jobs being cut.
"Just to understand, it is not that employers are laying people off," Ryan said.
"That is right," Elmendorf said.
That's a pretty direct contradiction for the attack adopted by many GOPers following the report's release. Senate Republicans blasted out an email, saying that Obamacare would "print more pink slips." Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and others alleged that the law would "cost" the country more than 2 million jobs. A number of conservative outlets framed the report as "pushing" Americans out of the workforce, rather than it being of their own volition.
It's a job-killer, they scream. Repeal, repeal, repeal!
That the truth is against them, as Ryan himself knows, hardly matters.
Labels: Affordable Care Act, CBO, Lindsey Graham, Obamacare, Paul Ryan, Republicans, U.S. Congress