IF THEY WANT TO TALK ABOUT ‘JOB-KILLING,’ WE CAN TALK ABOUT ‘JOB-KILLING’…. The House Republican effort to repeal the entirety of the Affordable Care Act is absurd from a variety of angles, not the least of which is that it’s actually a pretty good law.
On a substantive level, the GOP move would hurt consumers and increase the deficit. On a political level, the GOP is breaking its own rules to get repeal done quickly. On a practical level, Republicans realize this bill is a pointless stunt that can’t pass the Senate.
But then there’s the name of this dumb endeavor. As Paul Krugman noted, “The only lingering surprise I can muster is at the sheer tackiness of the bill’s title. The Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act? Really? Have they, at long last, no sense of shame?”
Actually, no, they don’t.
The choice in names, however, does have a larger significance. Republicans have been obsessed with throwing the words “job-killing” in front of all kinds of ideas — it’s arguably surpassed Giuliani and his affinity for 9/11 references — generally without making any sense at all.
This is especially problematic when it comes to health care because the GOP has it backwards. Steven Pearlstein had a terrific column on the larger dynamic today.
Ironically, the first order of legislative business in the new Republican House will be to repeal last year’s health-care reform law. Since the immediate impact of the measure will be to allow 30 million more Americans the chance to buy drugs and medical services from doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, it’s hard to imagine a more effective way to reduce employment in the one sector that is actually adding jobs.
Exactly right. The House GOP says it needs to gut America’s health care system in order to create jobs … and were they to succeed, it would cost America jobs.
At a certain level, Republicans just have to hope the public isn’t paying any attention to reality at all. Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, the private sector has added 1.1 million jobs. Roughly a fifth of that total — more than 200,000 — were jobs created in the health care industry.
If health care reform is bad for job creation, how did this happen?
Moreover, Igor Volsky reports today, “Aside from the fact that increasing access to health services will create thousands of jobs in the health care sector, Harvard economist David Cutler argues in new paper released this morning that repealing the health law would reverse these gains and could destroy 250,000 to 400,000 jobs annually over the next decade. Eliminating the law would increase health care costs and cause employers to reduce wages and cut jobs for those employees who already receive minimum wage or are in fixed contracts.”
The GOP arguments aren’t just wrong, they’re backwards.
And yet, they’ll continue to use inane phrases because, well, it’s easier than thinking. Pearlstein concluded today, “[T]he next time you hear some politician or radio blowhard or corporate hack tossing around the ‘job-killing’ accusation, you can be pretty sure he’s not somebody to be taken seriously. It’s a sign that he disrespects your intelligence, disrespects the truth and disrespects the democratic process. By poisoning the political well and making it difficult for our political system to respond effectively to economic challenges, Republicans may turn out to be the biggest job killers of all.”