Wednesday, November 26, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Is ACA undermining the American work ethic?

By
From page A11 | February 14, 2014 |

A new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the Affordable Care Act will reduce the effective size of the U.S. workforce by 2.5 million over the next 10 years.

The White House responded that the law is giving Americans more choices by removing the link between work and health insurance. But critics of Obamacare seized on the report as more evidence the president’s health-care reform law is doing more harm than good.

Is the Affordable Care Act hurting the work ethic? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the Red-Blue America columnists, weigh in.

Joel Mathis

There’s a lot to be said for work, in and of itself. A person who collects $10,000 in benefits and sits on the couch all day probably won’t find life quite as satisfying as the person who earns the same $10,000. Many of us find that our work gives us purpose and meaning, and that’s pretty great.

Before it can do any of that, though, work must give us a living. Increasingly, it fails to do so.

We have noted here before, and we shall note again: For 40 years, the productivity of middle-class workers has increased greatly even as their wages have stagnated — it often takes two full-time working parents to achieve the earning power that a single parent did a generation ago.

Problems for the middle class were exacerbated by the Great Recession, in which many workers lost lucrative jobs and replaced them with poorer-paying work that, often, doesn’t quite pay all the bills. Unless you’re rich, it’s not been a fun generation to be an American worker.

The irony in all this: Republicans have spent the Obama administration complaining about every small act that might put a dent in the earnings of America’s richest citizens. Those folks need to keep as much of their money as possible, the argument goes, or they’ll lose the incentive to work and create and produce new goods for all of us to buy and enjoy.

Apparently, incentives apply only to the rich. For the rest of us, conservatives apparently believe we should be grateful for what we have — witness recent arguments that iPads are so fun that income inequality shouldn’t matter – and that toil itself should be its own reward.

What’s this have to do with Obamacare? Conservatives worry that government is severing the link between work and reward. The private sector has done a fine job of that on its own. At least under Democrats, there’s still a reward.

Ben Boychuk

Watching defenders of President Obama’s foundering health-care reforms try to explain why a smaller workforce is a benefit of the law has been a wonder to behold.

It’s great, they say, that health insurance is no longer attached to employment. As White House mouthpiece Jay Carney put it, “Americans would no longer be trapped in a job just to provide coverage for their families, and would have the opportunity to pursue their dreams.”

That’s certainly one way of looking at it. But what the Congressional Budget Office report says actually underscores what conservative critics of the law have been warning about all along: Obamacare discourages productive work.

A spate of new economic research backs the conservative argument. As the federal government expands eligibility for Medicaid, people will have fewer incentives to work.

But that’s not all. The law’s tax increases and so-called “employer mandate,” which the Obama administration just decided to delay for yet another year, discourages employers from hiring people, because health care is terribly expensive – made more so by the new law’s requirements to cover just about everything under the sun.

More to the point, the law’s “individual mandate,” which penalizes people for not purchasing insurance, discourages people from working too much. Given a choice between working and working less, or working and not working at all, the law will nudge people away from work toward not working.

Bear in mind, the U.S. labor participation rate is already at historic lows. The sluggish economy has driven millions of otherwise productive people from the workforce. As Mercatus Center researcher Charles Blahous noted at the Manhattan Institute’s e21 blog, “With millions of baby boomers heading into retirement and unsustainable deficits on the horizon, that is a huge self-inflicted problem.”

How, then, is Obamacare progress? What kind of “dreams” does it inspire?

The kind of dreams that imagine millions of Americans living – subsisting, really – on government largesse, at the expense of an ever-dwindling class of productive citizens. The dream is a nightmare of dependency.

Ben Boychuk (bboychuk@city-journal.org) is associate editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal. Joel Mathis (joelmmathis@gmail.com) is associate editor for Philadelphia Magazine. Website: www.facebook.com/benandjoel. They wrote this for McClatchy-Tribune.

Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 31 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Mike KirchubelFebruary 14, 2014 - 6:07 am

    If the question is flawed, the arguments become meaningless. Did the C.B.O. actually say that the A.C.A. "will reduce the effective size of the U.S. workforce by 2.5 million over the next ten years?"

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Salty DogFebruary 14, 2014 - 1:15 pm

    Mike: if that is not what the CBO said then tell us what did they say?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mike KirchubelFebruary 14, 2014 - 2:13 pm

    Ok, monday. You guys may as well start sharpening your spears right now.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mike KirchubelFebruary 14, 2014 - 6:19 am

    Ben seems to think that unemployment causes a decrease in the number of people in the workforce, rather than the other way around. His cure would be to take away their access to healthcare. In the conservative mind, the more desparate the unemployed are, the more the wealthy job creators will create jobs. Hasn't worked yet.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • https://twitter.com/search?q=ACAValentines&src=hashFebruary 14, 2014 - 6:29 am

    Mike, your argument might make sense if the net result of ObamaCare was more people having health insurance. Unfortunately, that isn't the case. We now have over a half million less people insured in California alone as a direct result of the law. By continuing to support the law, apparently you don't care if people die.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Teach5thFebruary 14, 2014 - 7:06 am

    I love how the Dems. Keep referring to having health insurance as having health care. They're apples and oranges. You can have all the health "insurance" in the world, but if a doctor won't/can't afford to take your insurance, you have no health "care." I can see the next domino to fall - Obama's administration will force doctors to take Obamacare patients or they will face some sort of fine. Another thing to think about is what Schumer had to say last week . . . "If a single mother of 3 is (forced) to stay on a job in order to keep her health insurance, the ACA (Obamacare) will allow her to quit working. She'll have more time to spend with her children. That's a family value." WHAT??? She still needs to pay rent, electricity, etc. If she's not working, taxpayers will have to pick up the tab. Someone needs to point out to Schumer and to Pelosi (.who said something equally stupid) that having the self-esteem to be able to support those children, and thereby showing those kids why they need to work in school, instead of having grades handed to them, is the real family value.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The MisterFebruary 14, 2014 - 7:40 am

    Great points!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mike KirchubelFebruary 14, 2014 - 9:09 am

    Yeah, great, imaginary points. Now try using Schumer's actual quote.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mike KirchubelFebruary 14, 2014 - 9:03 am

    Great use of right wing "logic" mr/ms valentine google. It's plain to see why you are a repub. You care about people... in your mind.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Salty DogFebruary 14, 2014 - 10:01 am

    Mike: if not supporting obamacare makes you a republican then with your logic makes you a liberal democrat for supporting it.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mike KirchubelFebruary 14, 2014 - 11:02 am

    Another wun.8ner in the use of right wing "logic." And the hits just keep on coming. You guys deserve each other. Happy Valentine's Day.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksFebruary 14, 2014 - 2:07 pm

    Salty Dog, this is what you folks do, jump on the bandwagon without a clue then turn around and ask what's in something. If you don't know look it up and stop trying to get others to do the work for you. BTW, context is King...

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rudolph MadronichFebruary 14, 2014 - 5:17 pm

    CD: I guess Nancy Pelosi jumped on the bandwagon when she said we have to pass it to see what is in it. Voting on a bill without reading it is like signing a contract with out reading it. But i guess it is ok for her and all of you liberal democrates to force something on the american people.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksFebruary 14, 2014 - 6:06 pm

    Mr. Madronich, you and yours are going off the deep end. I know what Pelosi said, I printed it here. No. I have no problems with my party. Going to have a wonderful dinner with family. Enjoy your crow! :) Good evening.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Salty DogFebruary 14, 2014 - 6:27 pm

    CD You have a great dinner with the family and Happy Valentines day to you all. it is always fun to debate you in this blog.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895February 14, 2014 - 9:56 pm

    RM: Come back when you've actually read what Pelosi said in context and not what someone told you she said and what it meant. You're sheep being led to slaughter. Either that, or you own a piece of the slaughterhouse.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • https://twitter.com/search?q=ACAValentines&src=hashFebruary 15, 2014 - 5:46 am

    Pelosi's comment was irresponsible and patronizing to all Americans even in the correct context.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895February 14, 2014 - 9:59 pm

    Mathis gets the better of this argument. I can't believe Boychuk is so stupid. I just figure he has to write a counterpoint so he retreats to the junk the Right has in its playbook.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The MisterFebruary 14, 2014 - 7:39 am

    "Is ACA undermining the American work ethic?" Yes... by design.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithFebruary 14, 2014 - 2:07 pm

    Since the Dems have wrecked the economy and job market--mostly through Obamacare-- they have been forced to declare "work" a non-essential facet of modern-day American life. Their "war on work" is progressing nicely for them so far in 2014. This must be good news to the millennial generation. They can now pursue their inner creative muses without worrying about being that stultifying notion of "holding down a job."

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mike KirchubelFebruary 14, 2014 - 3:57 pm

    "Since the dems wrecked the economy, mostly through Obamacare..." what have you been smoking? Did you miss out pn G.W.Bush's two terms and the massive destruction of the American economy? You think that the last six years of misery was caused by something that is just now coming online??? How confused and misguided are you?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithFebruary 14, 2014 - 4:26 pm

    Not confused OR misguided, Mike. But please continue to wallow in your BDS/FDS (Bush and Fox Derangement Syndromes) and I will continue to comment on the events of the present day as I see them, especially the Dems War on Work and the effects of Obamacare on ALL of us.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. PracticalFebruary 14, 2014 - 5:24 pm

    Mr. Smith, Mike is the poster boy for the old Wrestling with a Pig analogy. Like many liberals he is ideological and superficial. He has no regard for reality or the negative impact that ObamaCare is causing. He refuses to respond to the fact that over a half million less people now have insurance in California because of the law. He can't things through to understand how the law is costing us jobs directly and thwarting job creation. He probably believes extending the extended unemployment benefits is also a good idea, in spite of the job loss it's responsible for.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Salty DogFebruary 14, 2014 - 5:39 pm

    MR. Smith The is how the Democrats fight the war on poverty. Let the people quit their jobs and we will take care of them.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mike KirchubelFebruary 14, 2014 - 9:33 pm

    MS, please DO continue to post here. It's better than Saturday Night Live.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Salty DogFebruary 14, 2014 - 5:51 pm

    Mike so tell us what has President Obama and the Democrats done in the last 6 years to improve the economy.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithFebruary 14, 2014 - 2:09 pm

    Strike the word "being." Dang!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithFebruary 14, 2014 - 5:38 pm

    Mr. P.: I have to chuckle when I see how Mike and some others here seem to think of the conservatives among us as ignorant, uninformed, or duped-by-Fox into believing what we believe. Not once do they question their own perceptions and biases. But, hey. To each his/her own.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithFebruary 14, 2014 - 5:43 pm

    Mr. P and Salty Dog: In Mike's comments, we are seeing the epitome of the mindset that produced modern day Europe. To me it's kind of repugnant.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. PracticalFebruary 14, 2014 - 5:50 pm

    Mr. Smith, Mike is also the poster boy for repugnancy.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. SmithFebruary 14, 2014 - 6:13 pm

    Lol!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Groups distribute Thanksgiving food

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
 
County fair proposal, budget topics of scrutiny

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

Police: Vehicle burglaries not new for Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Vacaville PD seeks VIPS program volunteers

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4

 
Fairfield police offer free gun locks

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
Fairfield police investigate shooting

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Library schedules soap-making program

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4

 
Science comes to libraries – for all to see

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

Soroptimists seek award applicants

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
 
Nichols plans free family concert in Napa

By Glen Faison | From Page: A7

Church’s holiday soiree on Vacaville calendar

By Glen Faison | From Page: A7

 
Fairfield police log: Nov. 23, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
Fairfield police log: Nov. 22, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: Nov. 23, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9, 2 Comments

 
Suisun City police log: Nov. 22, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: Nov. 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Weather for Nov. 26, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

.

US / World

 
Anger at Ferguson case based on emotion, evidence

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 11 Comments

Tough to make a case against police in shootings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 5 Comments

 
Protesters return to riot-scarred Ferguson streets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 8 Comments

In Seattle, tofu turkeys get Thanksgiving pardons

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

 
Los Angeles freeway sign unveiled with typo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Heirloom ring flushed; sewer workers retrieve it

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Ohio family recovers missing Sasquatch statue

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Auction fetches $28K for 1st batch of new bourbon

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Agreement: LA jails to improve wheelchair access

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Window washer fights for life after 11-story fall

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Lawmakers target Golden Gate Bridge sidewalk fee

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Cosby philanthropy shadowed by sexual allegations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Oakland police arrest more than 40 protesters

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

Arkansas, Mississippi gay marriage bans overturned

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
Calorie count to appear with many prepared foods

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

8 shoes of Holocaust victims stolen in Poland

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Activists: Syrian strikes kill 60 in IS-held city

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

AP sources: Top candidate for defense job bows out

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

 
WWII Museum opening new pavilion in New Orleans

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Police: Students ran high school prostitution ring

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
Wet basements in Buffalo as flooding fears ease

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Soldiers to spend Thanksgiving in Ebola isolation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
2 teen female bombers kill more than 40 in Nigeria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Official: Afghan president orders military review

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Nov. 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Nov. 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Today in History: Nov. 26, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Horoscope for Nov. 26, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

The man I’m seeing makes no effort to get to know my kids

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
A do-ahead cornmeal biscuit to sop up your gravy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Fresh take on an herb-roasted Thanksgiving turkey

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Turn turkey leftovers into a healthy dinner salad

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
‘Birdman’ leads Spirit Awards nominations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Vacaville Christian wins 3-0, advances to state quarterfinals

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Curry powers Warriors past Heat 114-97

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

49ers rookies shine in big roles, out of necessity

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Cousins, Kings beat Pelicans 99-89

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Red Sox bring in Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
NFL, union discuss personal conduct policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Bama, FSU, Oregon, Miss St keep playoff rankings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Messi sets European record with 74 goals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Judge OKs Hernandez trial delay in 2012 killings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kurt Busch wins delay of Delaware court hearing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Giants third base coach Tim Flannery retires

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
AP source: Left-hander Jon Lester, Giants to meet

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Pats are unanimous No. 1 in AP Pro32 rankings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

New iPhones push Apple’s market cap past $700B

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Twitter lets merchants offer deals to its users

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

US economy posts even stronger growth in Q3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Thanksgiving travel woes? There’s an app for that

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

US home price gains slow for 10th straight month

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Barbie dethroned by Team Elsa

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Rain, snow could mess up Thanksgiving travel

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
.

Obituaries

Glenita Reyes McLaughliin

By Daily Republic | From Page: A4

 
Leslie “Esi” Gros

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5