Lose Your Job and Feel Liberated

This week, a report from the Congressional Budget Office acknowledged that ObamaCare would reduce full-time employment by 2.5 million over the next ten years. And that is on top of news that 92 million Americans who could be working are not. What a devastating assessment for the unemployed or underemployed, particular millenials seeking to transition from internships and part-time jobs to career-building full-time jobs. Yet the predictable spin from the White House and major media outlets is that this is good news, liberating workers from the chains of employment.

To quote President Obama, from the 2008 campaign, "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig."

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney cheerily notes, "Individuals will be empowered to make choices about their own lives and livelihoods, like retiring on time rather than working into their elderly years or choosing to spend more time with their families." Oh happy day! Lose your job or cut your work hours and you can spend more time with the family. What's the starting salary for staying home? As for "retiring on time", many Americans are unable to afford retirement, due to present and future economic conditions. So those who cannot afford to retire will now retire earlier? I can't afford that BMW right now but if you raise the price a bit then I'll take it.

The Atlantic takes a novel approach, declaring "So what?" if Americans are a bit lazier due to ObamaCare. No big deal that, "More adults will simply decide to take it easy." Goods will be produced and services provided all by themselves if workers stay home and take it easy. Tax revenues will magically appear in the Treasury if fewer Americans are working, earning an income, and paying income tax. And everyone will be paying his or her mortgage, student loans, and credit cards by taking it easy. Never mind that average household credit card debt is over $15 thousand. The only ones who can "Take it Easy" and still pay their bills are The Eagles, earning royalties on their hit song.

Not to be outdone, the Editorial Board of the New York Times happily proclaims, "The new law will free people, young and old, to pursue careers or retirement without having to worry about health coverage." The NY Times believes that most of us stay in our present jobs solely because health insurance comes with it. Job lock is the newly coined term for this phenomenon. Yet according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker stays in his or her job less than 4.5 years, and will have 15-20 jobs over their lifetime. So much for job lock. Still, the NY Times promises that ObamaCare will allow you to pursue your dream career, free of health insurance concerns, as a novelist or NY Times editorial writer.

The reality is that 2.5 million more Americans will be out of the labor force within the next ten years due to the effects of ObamaCare. And most of those will receive government assistance, adding to the 1 in 5 households already on food stamps and other assistance programs. Economically this is tossing cement blocks into a sinking boat as a way to keep it afloat.

Yet this dismal economic news of another few million workers leaving the labor force is liberating and empowering according to the White House. President Obama, in his pre Super Bowl interview with Bill O'Reilly opined, " I think that what we have to do is make sure that here in America, if you work hard, you can get ahead." What a difference a week makes. It seems that the president was for hard work before he was against it.

Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based retina surgeon, is an advocate of smaller, more efficient government. Twitter @retinaldoctor.