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CBO: Fewer fulltime workers under Obamacare.

Photo by Charles Ebbets New York Herald Tribune

Photo by Charles Ebbets New York Herald Tribune

Listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on KTBB AM 600, Friday, February 7, 2014.

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When Bill Coates, Kevin Simon and I finished work on Radio Row at the Super Bowl last Friday we took a little time in the evening for a New York City treat. We went to the top of the GE Building, the tallest of the 19 buildings that comprise Rockefeller Center, to take in the best view in New York. ($27 per head for adults and worth every penny!)

On the way to the elevator is a famous photograph taken by Charles Ebbets of the New York Herald Tribune. It shows 11 construction workers sitting on a steel beam 800 feet above Manhattan having their lunch – a photo that was made while Rockefeller Center was under construction. The men are sitting there casually talking and smoking and having lunch without an apparent care in the world that there is nothing holding them to the beam and nothing to catch them if they fall. The photo shows what was, for these men, a day at the office.

“Any chance that photograph could be made today?,” I asked rhetorically as we passed by it on our way to the elevator. “How many federal agencies would descend upon the general contractor if someone on the jobsite so much as Tweeted that photograph today?,” I asked. (They’d have gone after the guy lighting the cigarette first,” said one wag.)

As I got good and wound up I began a filibuster to the effect that those men – now long gone – are emblematic of the men and women to whom we owe a debt of gratitude for the big, brawny, prosperous nation that we spend our lives taking for granted. I remarked that these are the kind of people that built the America that saved the world between 1941 and 1945 and then went on to put men on the moon.

Keep the image of those workers in mind as you ponder projections released this week from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office saying that Obamacare will result in a net loss of 2.5 million fulltime workers by 2017.

The CBO explains that given the structure of the subsides in the Affordable Care Act, as many as 2.5 million workers will weigh up the benefits of working fulltime versus the benefits of deliberately minimizing income so as to maximize what they receive in health insurance subsidies – and wind up coming down in favor of the latter.

And then ponder that that’s a good thing according to the White House, the New York Times and other liberals. Liberated from the need to hold a job in order to have health insurance, says the White House, more Americans will be free to live a life of semi-permanent sabbatical, working only at what they choose when they choose.

Perhaps the men sitting on that girder would have preferred to have had their lunch inside a deli at street level rather than sitting exposed hundreds of feet in the air. Given the choice between eating the lunch that they paid for with wages earned doing hard, dangerous work, or eating a lunch given to them in return for no labor whatsoever, they might have chosen the latter. But had they so chosen, we wouldn’t have Rockefeller Center.

And the men in that photo would not be admired by visiting tourists 80-plus years later.

Work is more than simply a means to acquire money for food, shelter, clothing, transportation and health care. Work – even if it’s not the most desirable work – is nevertheless ennobling. Without work, one cannot have a true sense of self worth. Menial, low-paying work done well today paves the way for more rewarding and higher paying work tomorrow.

As a clergyman whom I admired greatly once explained, in order for a person to be healthy of body and spirit, he or she needs someone to love, something to hope for and something to do. For able-bodied adults, that something to do is called ‘work.’

The White House and liberal media spin of the CBO’s projection is appalling. Any public policy that serves to make idleness more profitable than work is bad for the republic.

And anyone with a lick of common sense knows it.


  1. R. Eagleman says:

    Paul, it is maddening to see what so obviously is happening to the work ethic and other cultural norms that made this country the greatest, most benevolent, creative, and prosperous place on God’s green Earth! We are moving headlong into becoming the lowest common denominator of those who inhabit our communities; while the hard-working and inventive immigrants are being outnumbered mainly with uneducated, non-contributors to our society. Of course, there are exceptions who manage to escape the Liberal/Socialist plantation; however, those brave souls are treated as outcasts in their own communities, rather than to be celebrated. It boggles the mind to see those who are constantly complaining about the injustices of slavery so willing to be enslaved by the promises of free stuff. After decades,one would think that at some point a light would come on that would expose the futility of delivering over 95% of their vote to such politicians who are anxious to exchange a person’s self-worth and work ethic for a permanent loyal underclass who depends on them for their basic needs. What kind of politicians would be so immoral as to use such tactics to “fundamentally transform” our representative republic into just another banana republic? I submit that a large majority of those who were so immoral as to spit on our brave servicemen returning from Vietnam, and show such disdain for our flag are some of the same people who are now running our country.

  2. Linda E. Montrose says:

    The whole objective of obamacare was NOT that people have low cost heath care but to destroy this country but making people have to rely upon government assistance. We have seen what welfare has done to this nation. That picture with those workers in it were the majority back then. They didn’t think if the danger, there was a JOB to do, so they did it. They took upon themselves to do what needed to be done. No so today. All you hear is..that’s not my job. That’s not in MY job description. People are unwilling to go the extra mile anymore. I came from a family who put value on strong work ethics…you give 110% to any job you have even if it is scrubbing toilets or whatever…DO it and DO IT WELL. In obama’s world, work ethics don’t matter. The lazier people become, the better off the liberals are. A lazy person is one who doesn’t take the time to think things through, which is exactly what the liberals want for their voter base. The more dependent upon government, the more liberals like it! VERY SAD, but TRUE!

  3. I went to a political meeting where they spoke about the people who have to “die” before the “REAL” new USA the Dems envision could happen.
    Those people who have to “die” are anyone over 35yrs. old today. That is all of us.

    The reason we all have to “die” is because only us “older ” people can remember the way things used to be or the history the way it was taught a while ago before the Progressives re-wrote it..
    Those under 35 have already been indoctrinated so those will be able to be molded in the way Obama( & the Progressives) want to make them.

    Therefore all of those above , including me too, are the only ones holding back the Progressives’ idea from implementation today.
    This meeting was hosted by our present (R) representative Louie
    G.. So you can call him for verification.

    It has been a plan all along, they said
    We can just watch it happen ….these people have long memories, they said & will implement it when it is ok to do so..

    Can we stop it??? Shall we move ???
    This feels like Ayn Rand.
    God help us.

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