Thursday, February 27, 2014

Robert Samuelson Calls Out "Propaganda" - Is Blinded By His Own


Neolib hack Robert Samuelson is on his high horse again ('Make Jobs, Not Propaganda') this time calling out Obama's Affordable Care Act  for bamboozling people by not giving the lowdown on how many jobs would be "lost".

According to the nattering Neolib, a denizen of the WaPo:

"An administration serious about job creation has to sacrifice other priorities to attain it. This President Obama hasn't done.  The CBO estimates that the health insurance subsidies in the Affordable Care Act would discourage people from working, resulting in the loss of an equivalent 2.5 million full time workers by 2024."

But again, either Samuelson doesn't get it or doesn't want to. After all, Neoliberalism dictates that at every turn the market rules over worker security and welfare. Hence, a dedicated Neolib would be purblind to any advance that benefits workers, as opposed to sacrificing their interests to the maw of the market.

The point is that the ACA  changes  will enable workers to be freed from the yoke of jobs they detest - merely to keep health insurance. This has been a monkey on the back of most ordinary workers since health insurance was linked almost exclusively to having a job after World War II. No more. Now, tens of millions of people who currently have insurance through their employers will  have the option to quit their job and get insurance through the exchanges.

This is the purview of a truly FREE WORKER'S MARKET!  The worker now gets to make his calls, as opposed to being an economic slave for some goober boss to lord it over him, knowing the poor guy has little choice other than to take it or be without health insurance.  According to the New York Times (Feb. 23):

This is a phenomenon that economists call “job lock”: when people stay in jobs they dislike, or don’t want, solely to keep their health coverage. A Harvard Business School study in 2008 estimated that 11 million workers are affected by this dilemma. Other studies show that when people don’t have to worry about health insurance, they are up to 25 percent more likely to change jobs.

The freedom inherent in this truly free worker's market doesn't end there. Millions of older workers, for example, will finally be able to tell "Boss Man"  to get screwed and retire, having access to affordable health care without fear of financial ruin- or having to stay in a suck-ass job just to have insurance.  The unspoken bounty not mentioned at all by Samuelson is how this change will leave many job openings for younger workers - who up to now have been shut out, because the oldies were forced to work longer.....mostly just for health least until Medicare kicked in a age 65. Now, no more.

Of course, the typical Neolib hates this! He hates that a worker or non-rich person has any kind of freedom of choice outside what the coercive market dictates or allows.  In this case, he abhors that a worker can be Scot-free with no job obligations, and can still get insurance. To this manner of economic brigand, it amounts to "cheating".

Other benefits also accrue from a truly free worker's market:

- People will be able to switch jobs, from those that suck the life and energy from them to those that better suit their talents.

- Parents will be able to downsize their jobs on their terms to be able to spend more time with families. This will be especially true for many parents of young children who would rather work less to spend time with their kids.

- People with serious health conditions will be more  likely to cut back their hours or quit work altogether since they will no longer need to work at a job that provides health care insurance.

THIS is where the 2.5 million jobs (not necessarily workers)  Samuelson claims the CBO asserts will be "lost" by 2024, will go.  Yes, in a manner of speaking, they will be lost to the Neoliberal coercive jobs market, but the people - the workers - will gain greater job autonomy. They will have the job choice - or no choice- they've always cherished but which the Neoliberal market denied.

This was the basis for the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) assessment that the ACA would reduce the supply of labor by 2 percent. CBO calculated that several million people would either cut back their work hours or leave the labor force altogether.

The other aspect the Neolib hates is that higher worker pay could result from the diminution in jobs.

While the CBO  report didn't specifically explore this issue, other things being equal, a reduction in the supply of labor would be expected to lead to a rise in its price. In other words, wages would rise. That would be good news for workers who've seen their wages stagnate since 1973.    The Neoliberal textbook story is that a rise in the supply of labor lowers wages, and this is exactly what happened. It happened for two main reasons: 1) steady reproductive rates that keep job production below population growth rates, and 2) the jobs- health insurance lock which forced more workers to stay in jobs than they otherwise would - artificially increasing the labor force beyond what it needed to be.
For all these reasons, Samuelson's challenge to Obama to "make jobs, not propaganda" rings hollow. Samuelson doesn't want Obama to "make jobs",  he wants the Prez to make jobs that conform to the dictates of the Neoliberal job market imperative!

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