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McCaskill to everybody who doesn’t work for her: Drop Dead!

The benevolence of our overlords on display today as Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri expresses her sympathy for those lowly prolitariat forced to abide by her legislative edicts.

As Lindsay Graham (of all people?!) actually shows some fortitude by insisting on a vote on the Vitter Amendment (which would subject all Hill employees, from the Senators and Representatives themselves to their most junior of staffers with the actual cost of Obamacare the rest of us have to suffer), the Rolla reprobate finds it within her generous heart to stand up for the less-fortunate. Er, or at least the less fortunate with whom she has the misfortune to have to be in physical contact on a regular basis. Her reaction:

“I don’t mind giving up mine,” Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill said of the federal contribution to her personal health insurance. “I’m in a much [better situation] than the young ladies and the young men that work for me that have just gotten out of college with large student debts and that are still trying to figure out if they can afford the rent in Washington, D.C., or the car payment in Columbia, Mo.”

What about those less fortunate who aren’t blessed with working for someone who actually has the authority to exempt them from this horrific law? If those freshly-minted college graduates who work for Senator McCaskill deserve better, how about their contemporaries who have chosen a career in something more productive than water-carrying for legislative tyrants?

So here you have someone who voted for Obamacare admitting how unaffordable the “Affordable” Care Act is…so much so that she wishes to deliver folks burdened with it from under its onerous requirements.

If only her sympathy and sense of service extended beyond the few hundred square feet of her Senate office.

Truly incredible.

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from an Undisclosed Location)

Obamacare Schadenfreude: April Jobs Report Edition

Something strange happened with the latest jobs report.  A few lamestream press outlets woke up from their Obama-induced daze long enough to recognize that although the unemployment figure is purportedly lower than it was in March, and lower than it has been in some time, things don’t seem quite right with the numbers.   Just seeing them grapple with the data and begin to recognize its implications has brought on my latest instance of Obamacare Schadenfreude.

Let’s begin with the National Journal.  Today its website ran a story entitled “Forget the Unemployment Rate: The Alarming Stat Is the Number of ‘Missing Workers.’”  The story begins by summarizing the “unexpected” state of affairs:

The federal government’s latest snapshot of the unemployment rate offered few bright spots Friday. The economy added 165,000 jobs in April—slightly better than March’s revised number of 138,000 jobs. Unemployment went down one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.5 percent; and health care, retail trade, and the food-services industry added positions.

The glaring caveat to this jobs report is the huge number of Americans who remain out of the workforce. Called the “labor force participation rate” in wonkspeak, that number held steady in April at 63.3 percent—the lowest level since 1979.

The story goes on to speculate about the causes behind the decreased labor force participation rate, explaining that some of the number–but by no means all–can be explained by the fact that the first of the baby boomers have now reached retirement age.  The article says that beyond retirees, “Roughly 3 million to 5 million of them left because they could not find jobs, economists estimate.”

But the article doesn’t stop there.  It recognizes that decreased labor force participation has serious economic implications for government because it decreases revenues coming in from taxes.  Suddenly, in other words, the decreasing labor force in the United States is much more of a matter of concern than it was a year ago when Obama was facing re-election, because it doesn’t bode well for the future of the economy or the budget (something that conservatives have been pointing out for years):

If these workers do not return to the labor market, their absence may alter the country’s budget picture. “One of the biggest problems we face with the baby-boomer bulge in retirement is having enough workers behind them to pay their bills,” says Harry Holzer, a professor at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute.

Missing workers can translate to a decrease in tax revenue, coupled with an increase in the use of government benefits, such as food stamps and disability insurance. The number of Americans collecting food stamps hit a high of 47.8 million people in December 2012. A similar spike has occurred in enrollments for the Social Security disability payments.

Since the start of 2007, the percentage of Americans in the labor market has dropped from 66.4 percent to 63.3 percent. In the 1970s and 1980s, the number of working Americans grew—because of the dramatic increase in women holding jobs outside of the home.

Nancy Cook ends her article by quoting a very optimistic prediction that unemployment will eventually fall to around 5.5% by 2017, but then she notes, ominously, “Only then can economists gauge if people have left the workforce because of the downturn in the economy, or if they’ve left forever because the economy fundamentally changed. If that’s the case, the U.S. officially will become a place where the labor market has little use for millions of Americans.”

The National Journal article, though, isn’t the only such piece by a lamestream press outlet today.  None other than the Gray Lady herself suddenly woke up and noticed the missing workers: (more…)

Obamacare Schadenfreude

Back in 2004, James Piereson coined the phrase “Punitive Liberalism” to describe a particular malady common in the days of severe Bush Derangement Syndrome.  James Taranto introduced many of us to the idea when he wrote:

Writing in The Weekly Standard, James Piereson offers a useful addition to the American political glossary: “punitive liberalism.” This “bizarre doctrine,” which found its fullest expression in the presidency of Jimmy Carter, holds that “America had been responsible for numerous crimes and misdeeds through its history for which it deserved punishment and chastisement.” Those who disagree “were written off as ignorant patriots who could not face up to the sins of the past.”  (Hat Tip: Ace; the original version of Taranto’s piece is only available currently at the Wayback Machine)

It is with some trepidation, therefore, that I describe some symptoms I have been experienced with increasing frequency over the last few months.

I first noticed the condition when I read, a few weeks after the election, that the Community College of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania was cutting “the hours of 400 adjunct instructors, support staff, and part-time instructors to dodge paying for Obamacare.”

“It’s kind of a double whammy for us because we are facing a legal requirement [under the new law] to get health care and if the college is reducing our hours, we don’t have the money to pay for it,” said adjunct biology professor Adam Davis.

My reaction?  When I read that, I could hear (to borrow a phrase from Taranto) one of the world’s tiniest violins playing in the background. I actually laughed and felt relieved about something in the political world for what may have been the first time since the disaster known as the 2012 Presidential Election.  Yes, I thought, even the leftists in academia will not manage to avoid paying for the mess that is Obamacare, and it will cost some of them far more than they imagined.

Then just a few days ago, I had an even stronger reaction when I heard that some unions were petitioning the  administration for special subsidies to defray the high cost of insurance under Obamacare.  Rick Ungar writes in Forbes:

Unhappy that important improvements in insurance benefits resulting from the healthcare reform law will now cost employers with union workers a bit more—improvements such as no longer permitting insurance policies to place the yearly and lifetime caps on benefits that leave beneficiaries high, dry and broke should they suffer a serious and expensive illness—some labor unions are now asking the government to change the rules to allow low-earning union workers access to the government subsidies so that their employers will not be disadvantaged when competing with companies who have non-union employees.

Yes, you read that correctly.  Becket Adams at the Blaze elaborates further:

No, really, union heads are acting like no one warned them that costs would go up.

“We are going back to the administration to say that this is not acceptable,” said Ken Hall, general secretary-treasurer for the Teamsters.

“I heard him say, ‘If you like your health plan, you can keep it,’” said John Wilhelm, chairman of Unite Here Health, the insurance plan for 260,000 union workers. “If I’m wrong, and the president does not intend to keep his word, I would have severe second thoughts about the law.”

Why? Why? Why didn’t anyone tell these leaders about the costs associated with “Obamacare”? (more…)