Thinking Is Hard. Bloviating Is Easy.

Paul Krugman gives us a succinct account of the “Jobless Care Act” flap, which of course we already knew was bullshit. But the Right fell too much in love with their new talking point to let go of it without a struggle. Mollie Hemingway writes at The Federalist:

When the Congressional Budget Office this week nearly tripled its previous assessment of how many people would stop working because of Obamacare, some in the media tried to change the story to one focused on how Republicans were too uncharitable about what this meant for the country and her economy. Obama and his water carriers in the media tried to spin it as spectacular news, really, that simply shows how Obamacare liberates some people to subsidize the lives of others. Yesterday, CBO director Douglas Elmendorf affirmed, though, that the troubled law creates a “disincentive for people to work.”

Because, you know, we can’t have people not chained to jobs, even if they can support themselves without them, and even if they’d rather stay home with children or take care of elderly parents, or purse their life’s passion of painting portraits of fish.

Never mind that all this workforce-fleeing is happening in the middle of a major “income inequality” class warfare push by Team Obama. Just set that all aside.


And if Alice voluntarily leaves her job, and Beulah gets hired in her place, this makes income inequality worse how, exactly?

Hemingway seems to assume all these people leaving jobs voluntarily will automatically be put on Medicaid or receive subsidies, which is not at all a given. In fact, my understanding is that if you are eligible for COBRA benefits, which most such people would be, you can’t get insurance through the exchanges or receive a subsidy until COBRA runs out in 18 months.

But what’s really got Hemingway’s panties in a knot is that Ron Fournier (who actually wrote a pretty good column about this) tweeted “The GOP argument on Obamacare has more than a whiff of Reagan-era racial “welfare queen” politics.” Well, yeah, a whiff. Republicans usually are pretty whiffy. Hemingway responds,

Le sigh. It’s not that some people think creating disincentives to work is unhealthy or unethical. It’s that they’re racist.

Poor baby. But I’m going to go even further than Fournier. I say that what Republicans really long for is a return of the so-called “black codes” that former Confederate states passed into law after the Civil War until the 14th Amendment said they couldn’t do it. The black codes took away the freed people’s freedom to make their own life choices and compelled them to work in a labor economy, for whatever wages their employers (usually former masters) were willing to pay them. If a black man chose to live on his own, raising vegetables and hunting for meat as some whites still did, he would have been afoul of the law. And, of course, allowing him the freedom to pursue some other line of work or open his own business would have been unthinkable to the old confederates.

The only difference is that, I assume, today’s black codes would apply to all races equally. So if Hemingway wants to argue that proves she’s not a racist, she’s free to do so. Anyway, Hemingway spends the rest of the article whining that it’s not really racist to think that people on welfare should work instead, and what that has to do with the CBO report is beyond me.

14 thoughts on “Thinking Is Hard. Bloviating Is Easy.

  1. It’s strange. At the same time Obama is disincentivizing work with his dastardly subsidies, he’s pushing for an increase in the minimum wage. I’ve even heard him talk about doing things to create new jobs! Maybe Mollie Hemingway could explain how creating well paying jobs disincentivizes honest labor.

  2. In hanging out on the comment threads, I don’t think your average wingnut sees this in terms of race. They see it in more basic terms, that it’s fundamentally wrong that those who work shouldn’t subsidize those who don’t.

  3. Look, for the most part, ordinary people in the country loved SS when it was first passed.
    Remember, many professions that African-Americans had – which were 2nd tier jobs, at best – were excluded from SS. It was mostly for white people.

    So, if you went Appalachia, or the Deep South, and told them that SS should be eliminated, or ‘privatized,” you might not have made it home alive.
    Ike’s letter to his brother, in which he said about the people who opposed it, as “they are stupid,” is proof of that.
    Ike was telling Conservatives in his party, and in the Democratic Party, “Hands-off!”

    It was only after LBJ expanded SS to ALL workers – as well as Welfare – and started Medicare and Medicaid, that Conservatives renewed their cries against SS – since it was no longer a ‘mostly-white’ program.
    And they painted Medicare, Medicaid and Welfare, as being programs that disproportionately gave assistance to black people (demonstrably untrue – but a GREAT wedge issue).
    And started to talk about SS in the same way – all, as “Entitlement Programs,” instead of “Earned Income” programs.

    So, whenever ANY Conservative or Republican tells you, ‘This isn’t about race.”
    You can bet, it surely IS about race!

  4. I guess whether it’s racist or not depends on whether you think some races are just more inherently incentivized to work than others. I agree with moonbat, though, I don’t think it’s all about race, although I would agree that more or less all wingnuts are xenophobes. But in this case the word I’m thinking of is paternalistic. Which can have racial dimensions, obviously, but a czar can have a paternalistic attitude toward his serfs, or a factory owner can have a paternalistic attitude toward his workers.

  5. I watched some of little Pauli (I collected SSI but you can’t) Ryan’s BS about the ACA giving incentive for people not to work. he doesn’t believe a word of it. In fact he is on camera saying exactly the opposite, these republicants don’t believe a word of any of this, they are desperate this is all they have. They just had their “retreat” this is the new script from now until November. 100% complete bullshit and they know it!

  6. The rule is that once you white folk can’t keep up with the pack economically for whatever reasons — you become whiggers. Sure it’s racist.. Not so much by the color of your skin but by the negative attributes and values that have stereotypically been unjustly directed at blacks.
    Money is the determining factor in your worthiness as a human being. You’ve got no money —you’ve got no value. It’s the science of conservative alchemy. Your bank balance hits zero and …poof.. you turn into worthless shit, regardless of color, in the eyes of the righteous conservative.

  7. +1 for joanr16 on bilingual whack down!
    And Moonbat, in the interest of fullness of explication, let me add a note: ” those who work shouldn’t subsidize those who don’t” is code for “black people should not get any of my hard-earned tax dollars”. Notice how only whites have “hard-earned dollars” as everyone else just gets them from Uncle Sam, who takes them from the Reteavangeliban’s “hard working” white fellow hate radio listeners.

  8. Do you have a source on the COBRA bit? I would believe the bit about not getting subsidies, but I thought the exchanges were just a market place – that just buying a policy was not a problem, but receiving subsidies might be. (I’m sure I’m ineligible for subsidies.) With the latest price increases, I think I can do better on the exchanges!

    • LHW — I could be wrong about COBRA, but I know it was one of the questions I had to answer when I went through the New York exchange.

      Update — OK, I figured it out. You can switch from COBRA to another plan on the exchange during the open enrollment period that ends March 31, and if you leave a job you can decline COBRA and go right to the exchange. Otherwise, you have to wait until the COBRA coverage runs out, unless you can get a waiver because of some “life event” that makes the COBRA unaffordable.

  9. It also seems that if older people will be able to retire more readily and perhaps, a bit earlier than they might have prior to the ACA, there would be a benefit to both younger people trying to get a start in life and to the enterprises employing them. There would be more open positions for the younger members of the work force to apply for and the employers would benefit from the better health and greater energy of the younger employees. I know older workers have something called “experience” which makes them valuable, but younger people have something to offer as well.

    I don’t know a lot of younger people, but those I do know, seem discouraged. They don’t see any way of “climbing the ladder.” It seems to me that their pessimism is well founded. So, to me, putting older workers, people my age out to pasture a little sooner and opening up opportunities for younger people, seems like a winner for everyone and for the country as a whole.

    On another topic, I am actively trying to improve my French and untangle it from Spanish. (I worked for a few years in a job that required me to speak Spanish all day long. Sometimes my mind hops from one to the other, so I am pretty lousy at both.) We have a pretty substantial latin community here so I can practice Spanish if I want. If you speak Spanish, you seem like a “stand up guy,” but, if you practice French within anyone’s earshot, they think you are showing off. The “le sigh” thing rubbed me the wrong way too, but probably because she had already pissed me off anyway.

    I know just enough to be careful when I am in a restaurant and want something with duck, in either language.

  10. goatherd…this might help you in practicing your French. My sister spent a year at finishing school in Cannes France after she graduated from high school. When she returned home she had a 45 rpm record with her that was a current hit in France at the time. I never got into the words of the song, but the title still remains as a part of my very small lexicon of French. Enjoy.

  11. Oh, forgot to mention.. A good place to practice your Spanish is at Walmart. Better yet is Miami airport.

    Checkout Duolingo.. a good teaching aid.

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