CBO causes Democratic panic over workers versus jobs, as Republicans run with what they see as a political bombshell for 2014.

CBO causes Democratic panic over workers versus jobs, as Republicans run with what they see as a political bombshell for 2014.

The federal budget deficit has fallen sharply during the past few years, and it is on a path to decline further this year and next year. CBO estimates that under current law, the deficit will total $514 billion in fiscal year 2014, compared with $1.4 trillion in 2009. At that level, this year’s deficit would equal 3.0 percent of the nation’s economic output, or gross domestic product (GDP)””close to the average percentage of GDP seen during the past 40 years. [CBO]

THE CBO released a report today that sent the White House scrambling to rebut the immediate impression that quickly took hold after Republicans got a hold of the report. Republicans immediately said that Obamacare was costing workers to lose their job, when in fact the CBO is stating that because of portable coverage people aren’t tied to their jobs.

It’s all about whether you frame it in workers versus jobs. Part-time work isn’t impacted, because these workers don’t get healthcare at work. With Obamacare, people don’t need work to have healthcare, with many getting government subsidies. A good explanation by Zachary Goldfard over at the Washington post, but it won’t make the White House or Democrats feel any better.

Political reality for Democrats is that they’ll be explaining. Political reality for Republicans is that they’ll claim it costs jobs and the American taxpayer money. It’s already begun.

“For years, Republicans have said that the president’s health care law creates uncertainty for small businesses, hurts take-home pay and makes it harder to invest in new workers,” Speaker John A. Boehner said. “The middle class is getting squeezed in this economy, and this C.B.O. report confirms that Obamacare is making it worse.”

Glenn Kessler gave this kind of Republican caterwauling 3 Pinocchios, providing a list of erroneous tweets, featured one in particular, writing, “This tweet and dozens others were spawned in part by seriously flawed headlines on the Web:” [update]

It all coincides with the baby boomer retirement explosion, but it’s not about jobs.

From the New York Times, one analysis:

The nonpartisan budget office’s analysis, part of a regular update to its budget projections, was far more complicated than the Republican attack lines it generated. Congressional Republican leaders called the findings “devastating,” “terrible” and proof that the health care law was a job killer.

The report did say that the law would reduce hours worked and full-time employment, but not because of a crippling impact on private-sector job creation. With the expansion of insurance coverage, the budget office predicted, more people will choose not to work, and others will choose to work fewer hours than they might have otherwise to obtain employer-provided insurance. The cumulative reduction of hours is large: the equivalent of 2.5 million fewer full-time positions by 2024, the budget office said.

The report “rightfully says that people shouldn’t have job lock,” said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader. “We live in a country where we should be free agents. People can do what they want.”

Even the New York Times, however, fell into the Republican talking point when it first blasted it’s report. Here’s their correction:

Correction: February 4, 2014

An earlier version of a headline accompanying this article on the home page was incorrect. The health law is projected to result in two million fewer workers, according to the Congressional Budget Office, not two million fewer jobs.

Democrats in red states are in for the fight of their lives in 2014, because people don’t do nuance. They’d rather bet on not getting sick than pay more for healthcare to be covered when they do. Seeing less money in their pockets for coverage they’re not using isn’t a winner in the short-term.

I’m not sure what happens to the Affordability Care Act going forward, unless numbers start showing that it’s bringing down healthcare costs, which is the only thing that will save our economy.

Whoever runs in 2016 for Democrats will have to be able to campaign that she or he knows how to continue making ACA work better.

Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, who has embraced a number of bills to tweak the health care law, called disappointing enrollment figures and work-force declines the law’s “Waterloo.” “Pretty soon the numbers don’t line up and the math doesn’t equal out, and you have to make some adjustments,” he said. “You do it every day in your life. The government’s got to do it.” [New York Times]