Harry says the darndest things

Harry Reid and a free agent.

Art Linkletter used to have a feature on his radio show called “Kids Say the Darndest Things” — usually cute and funny.

When Harry Reid says the darndest things, they are seldom cute or funny or even comprehensible.

Take what he said in reply to the Congressional Budget Office projecting that the decline in hours worked due to ObamaCare would amount to the equivalent of 2.5 million full-time jobs by 2024.

According to Townhall.com, he commented:

“We have the CBO report, which rightfully says, that people shouldn’t have job lock. If they — we live in a country where there should be free agency. People can do what they want. And what they’re saying here is — and the fact checkers have already done this — the Republicans talk about losing millions of jobs simply isn’t true. It allows people to get out of a job they’re locked into, because of — they have healthcare in their job.”

So, don’t think of yourself as unemployed. Think of yourself as a free agent — with the emphasis on the free, as in no pay. Free to take that job as a greeter at Wal-Mart.

Here is what the CBO had to say about all those free agents:

“The reduction in CBO’s projections of hours worked represents a decline in the number of full-time-equivalent workers of about 2.0 million in 2017, rising to about 2.5 million in 2024. Although CBO projects that total employment (and compensation) will increase over the coming decade, that increase will be smaller than it would have been in the absence of the ACA. The decline in full-time-equivalent employment stemming from the ACA will consist of some people not being employed at all and other people working fewer hours; however, CBO has not tried to quantify those two components of the overall effect. The estimated reduction stems almost entirely from a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply, rather than from a net drop in businesses’ demand for labor, so it will appear almost entirely as a reduction in labor force participation and in hours worked relative to what would have occurred otherwise rather than as an increase in unemployment (that is, more workers seeking but not finding jobs) or underemployment (such as part-time workers who would prefer to work more hours per week).”

Meanwhile, Harry, who should have been made a free agent in 2010 but was saved by the unions who now don’t like ObamaCare either, is telling people that the Democrats will not “pay ransom” to increase the debt ceiling, according to ForexTV.com.

“Republicans are at it again,” Reid said, then asking, “Why don’t we skip the crisis this time?” and, “Let’s do the right thing and move on.”

But back in 2006, Harry had this darndest thing to say:

Harry protested increasing the debt to $9 trillion, but $17 trillion — no problem. Nothing to see here, move along.

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41 comments on “Harry says the darndest things

  1. nyp says:

    What Harry Reid said was 100% correct and is expressly supported by the very CBO statement you yourself quoted. People who previously had been working full-time almost solely in order to get employer-sponsored health insurance will now be able to get quality, affordable individual policies, and will therefore be able to reduce or eliminate their empliyment. That is precisely what the CBO quote says!! Health reform ends job lock, and allows people to move around easier or to reduce their work time.

    Think of a guy who is 61, has a heart condition, has enough saved up to retire early, who keeps working full-time because he isn’t yet eligible for Medicare and, because of his pre-existing condition, couldn’t afford insurance on the individual market. Now, he can. The CBO says many guys like that will choose to reduce or eliminate their hours. That is great news!

    It is incredible to me that you would attack Senator Reid for accurately summarizing the new CBO findings.

  2. nyp says:

    By the way – Senator Reid’s source for the statement about Romney’s taxes wasn’t a shoe-shine guy. It was Jon Huntsman, Sr.

  3. It would’ve been a lot easier and cheaper to de-link health insurance and employment.

    Allows people to move around and work fewer hours and get less pay. But that’s good thing in the alternative world of Democrats.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Huntsman continues to be a turncoat Republican and a Big Government GOP’er

  5. Milty says:

    A fry cook complains to President Obama that his work hours have been decreased because of Obamacare, so he’s having trouble making ends meet. President Obama responds that it’s important to raise the minimum wage to offset the lost hours that the fry cook suffered because of President Obama’s signature legislation.

    Now the CBO projects that the national workforce will decline by 2.5 million FTE’s by 2024 not because the jobs won’t be there, but because there’s an incentive in Obamacare for them not to work. But with the equivalent of 2.5 million fewer full time workers in the workforce by 2024, it would seem that there would be more competition among employers to go after the available workers, which would increase wages thru market forces, but we still need to raise the minimum wage.

    I used to chuckle when I read Winston Smith’s signoff on his postings, but with all these contradictions I’m beginning to give him more credibility.

  6. Milty says:

    Another thing I don’t understand is that the CBO report just issued reports that projected tax revenues for 2014-23 will be $1.4T less than it projected last year. If there are going to be so many people leaving employment to pursue their dreams, become entrepreneurs, etc., shouldn’t a lot of them become our future Bill Gateses and Steve Jobses, or at least starting successful businesses thereby increasing tax revenues?

  7. nyp says:

    ObamaCare “creates an incentive not to work” similar to the manner in which Social Security and Medicare create incentives not to work.

    Just think, if we had taken Ronald Reagan’s advice and not adopted Medicare, how many more FTEs we would gain!

  8. Milty says:

    You’re channeling Jason Furman pretty well, Nyp.

    Yesterday, Mr. Furman was asked, “Doesn’t that incentivize some people to do less because all of a sudden there is an incentive to do less because if their salary is less they still get a government subsidy and benefit?”

    Mr. Furman responded, “First of all, for many people, this potentially is an incentive to do more. An incentive for more entrepreneurship because they’re not locked into a job, there’s an incentive for employers to hire more people because the cost of health care is lower. The Affordable Care Act essentially solves that and creates a situation where you can be more dynamic.”

    But if this is the case, shouldn’t that increase tax revenues? The CBO report projects tax revenues for 2014-23 being $1.4T less than they projected a year ago.

  9. nyp says:

    Jason Furman is a smart guy, so I appreciate the compliment.

  10. Steve says:

    When servicing a minilab at a Walgreens years ago, the operator asked me if $2000 a day was good pay. To which I responded it was incredibly good pay and knowing Walgreens doesn’t pay that kind of money for lead photo operators I asked her about it. She told me she made that at her night job, almost every night.

    I asked her why she was working for Walgreens. She told me it was for the health insurance.
    I asked her why her (very) high paying night job didn’t have health insurance and she told me they pay her in cash. So the next question was (of course) how do I get a job like that! She answered it would be difficult for me cause I am a man.

    OK I said…. she told me her night job was stripping… ahh ha! That explained the money, the day job and the need for health insurance.

    Today that wouldn’t be an issue, would it? Obamacare requires her to buy her own health insurance and being paid cash she could report whatever she wants and that would get her access to those subsidies too. Pretty good deal for strippers swimming in money and drugs.
    (No kidding, many are hooked on that lifestyle. Its rare to find one like the lead at that Walgreens.)

    Conclusion? Obamacare is strip club support. Welfare for the rich and sinful! A libby dream if ever there were one.

    Nice. (the story is true, but she doesn’t strip anymore)

  11. Vernon Clayson says:

    Job lock??? Where the hell is a person to get a job if they leave one where they have seniority and a measure of security? Apparently in Harry Reid’s world if you have a job with seniority and security you are job-locked, someone should tell him that everyone can’t be a politician or civil service worker with their futures and finances locked in. For example, has anyone told him that Citibank is closing its doors out on Sahara Avenue here in Las Vegas and those hundreds of job locked workers are out on their behinds? It will take hundreds, if not thousands, of basic wage jobs to replace the incomes and taxes of that huge business, maybe there’s some comfort in 99 weeks of unemployment checks but in the real world it’s not the same as working. Harry Reid’s opinion in 2006 was no more heart-felt than anything he says today, it was a recitation, no different than Obama’s speeches, but I don’t know why they go to all bother, the Republicans will find a way to founder, it’s their nature, and the Democrats know it.

  12. Milty says:

    New York Times columnist Ross Douthat posted the following on Twitter this morning: “At 500,000-800,000, I wasn’t *that* troubled: http://nyti.ms/1exzxlm At 2-2.5 million, I am. Is there a # that would trouble @CitizenCohn?” The 500-800K number was based on a July 2013 study titled “Public Health Insurance, Labor Supply, and Employment Lock” that estimated that less than a million people would leave the workforce altogether as a result of Obamacare. He elaborated on his Twitter posting in a column he wrote later today.


  13. Nyp says:

    I’m morbidly amused by all this. Ending health insurance job lock is a centerpiece of conservative reform proposals.

  14. Milty says:

    “Ending health insurance job lock is a centerpiece of conservative reform proposals.”

    I agree, Nyp. To comment on Vernon Clayson’s “Where the hell is a person to get a job if they leave one where they have seniority and a measure of security?” I worked at a place in the late 1990s that had been in operation for 30 years. Of 500+ employees, about 10 had been employed there from day one. I don’t remember the count, but a large number had been there over 20 years. It was probably the most miserable workforce I ever experienced. The pay for hourly employees was really good. Everyone’s annual vacation allotment was based on seniority, one week per year of seniority capped at five weeks per year. Most of the people who worked there were miserable and wanted to leave, but they had the attitude, “I’m making $X/hour here, and I’m getting five weeks of vacation every year. If I leave and go to another job, I’ll be starting all over at a much lower wage, plus I’ll be getting one or two weeks of vacation the first year instead of five. I’m [45-60] years old, so I’ll just stick it out and be miserable and make everyone else miserable in the process.” And believe me, as the manager of a group of people like this I wasn’t exactly in the greatest state of emotional wellness either. So despite my attitude that it’s all a matter of choice and these people chose not to leave, I can definitely understand wanting to remove the obstacles from the decision making process.

    I guess my concern–and we’ll find out how this plays out in the coming years–is that a lot of these people are going to leave their jobs, not go to new jobs that they can do happily, not become entrepreneurs, not become artists, not take care of children or aging parents, but instead be unproductive members of society living on the dole. Sorry to sound so cynical, but that’s what I’m afraid a huge chunk of the 2.5 million are going to end up doing.

  15. Milty says:

    Jon Ralston has an article in Politico about a potential Obama-Reid rift over trade agreement fast track authority. Ralston does acknowledge Senator Reid’s “fantastic, now-disproven claim that Republican nominee Mitt Romney had not paid any taxes for 10 years.” I doubt anything is going to come from this supposed disagreement between President Obama and Senator Reid.


  16. Steve says:

    “Sorry to sound so cynical, but that’s what I’m afraid a huge chunk of the 2.5 million are going to end up doing.”
    That is what CBO is predicting.

    I worked for Eastman Kodak until September of last year. I know what you mean Milty, except I liked the job and I like the company. You won’t see me say a bad thing about them and I wish them well. However, it was no fun working for a company downsizing since 2006.
    Meanwhile I can say being above that level of benefit from Obamacare is a good thing. I would not be happy being a recipient of that particular need.
    It is good being able to choose the doctor from a large network.

    Conversely I am not happy at what it has done to the costs of my current coverage with my new employer. On the other hand Eastman Kodak raised their employee contribution even higher than what I am paying now with my new job.

    Those who say it isn’t effecting them are not looking close enough. And I think it is going to get more invasive come October.

  17. Rich Galen: “A government program that makes it better for people to work less or not work at all is a government program that is terribly flawed.”

  18. nyp says:

    No, it isn’t. That is such a dumb statement.
    Most people (apart from Thomas Mitchell) think that Medicare is a very good program. Yet it very clearly makes it “better to work less or not at all.” Same with Social Security. Same with the special tax benefits given to retirement plans. Without those government programs people would be forced to work more, and for a longer period. Should they be abolished?

    By the way, Thomas Mitchell’s tells us in this very same thread that we should completely de-link health insurance from employment. That is much stronger way of de-incentivizing employment for people who work solely for the purpose of having access to employer-sponsored health insurance plans.

  19. Milty says:

    It would be good to de-link health insurance from employment if it results in people having the freedom to move to another job or being able to start a business without fear of losing their insurance. It wouldn’t be so good to do it in a way that allows them to just drop out of the workforce and not be contributing members of society.

    Also, Jason Furman’s statement earlier this week was pretty extreme. “This is a choice on a part of workers. I have no doubt, if for example, we got rid of Social Security, and Medicare, there are many 95-year-olds who would choose to work more to avoid potentially starving or to give themselves the opportunity to get health care, I don’t think anyone would say that’s a compelling argument to eliminate Social Security and Medicare.” As far as I know, no one who’s citing the CBO report to criticize Obamacare is advocating that 95 year olds be forced to go to work.

    So the two issues are allowing freedom to leave your job while still remaining productive or leaving the workforce and becoming unproductive, and leaving the workforce because you’ve become unable to work (age or illness) or leaving the workforce while still having the capability to work. And I think the CBO report concludes that there will be a lot of able bodied people who are going to take advantage of Obamacare to avoid work.

  20. The role of government is not to provide incentives.

  21. nyp says:

    I freely conced that there will be “able bodied people who azre going to take advantage of Obamacare to avoid work.”

    That is a good thing!

    Think of a young couple that is expecting to have a baby. The husband’s company is too small to provide health insurance. The wife wants to either switch to part-time hours or even quit work in order to raise her child. But she can’t do that, as she needs the employer-sponsored health insurance offered to full-time employees at her job.

    ObamaCare gives that able bodied woman an incentive to leave work. She and her husband can buy subsidized insurance through nevadahealthlilnk.com or some other marketplace.
    Or, her husband’s small business can get ObamaCare credits to offer insurance through the workplace. Either way, ObamaCare makes it easier for her not to work.

    But for the derangement created by the three syllables Oh–ba–ma, most conservatives would consider this to be a good thing.

  22. nyp says:

    Why isn’t it the role of government to provide incentives?

  23. Milty says:

    “I freely conced that there will be ‘able bodied people who azre going to take advantage of Obamacare to avoid work’…That is a good thing!”

    I think that pretty much says it all regarding this issue. Thanks for the illumination, Nyp.

  24. nyp says:

    If you accept the example I use to illustrate the point, we are indeed concluded.

  25. Milty says:

    If you’re saying that 2.5 million couples are going to have babies, and that 2.5 million mothers to be are going to drop out of the work force to have their babies, and that all 2.5 million mothers to be would have been forced to stay in the workforce prior to Obamacare because their husbands all worked for employers who didn’t provide health insurance, then yes, I’ll concede your point, Nyp.

  26. nyp says:

    Not quite.
    But I really don’t see why — apart from Obama Derangement Syndrome — you guys think it is so terrible that people will no longer have to stay in jobs they don’t like for the sole purpose of qualifying for employer-sponsored insurance.

  27. Milty says:

    “But I really don’t see why — apart from Obama Derangement Syndrome — you guys think it is so terrible that people will no longer have to stay in jobs they don’t like for the sole purpose of qualifying for employer-sponsored insurance.”

    I already said that I think it’s good to remove the obstacles that prevent people from leaving jobs they’re unhappy doing. I just want to make sure that once they leave their bad jobs, they remain productive at another job, starting a business, going back to school, caring for a loved one, writing the great American novel, etc. My concern is that a whole bunch of these people are going to while away their days watching TV, playing video games, eating lots of Cheetohs, and writing comments on this blog like you and I are doing, Nyp.

  28. nyp says:

    Milty: Well, we all choose different things about which to be concerned. I worry about whether the popularity of cronuts is sapping America’s moral fibre. But you are entitled to your separate concerns.

  29. Ouch, Milty. That hits a little close to home.

  30. Milty says:

    Aw, c’mon, you know I was just joking around, Mr. Mitchell. Besides, the negative reference was to Nyp’s and my comments, not the stuff you write.

    As for the cronuts, Nyp, so long as the American donut dominates the French croissant, there will never be any concerns about lost American moral fiber with this item. By the way, I’ve never had one, how are they?

  31. nyp says:

    To my mind, over-rated. But decadent New Yorkers are going crazy for them.

  32. Steve says:

    ” you guys think it is so terrible that people will no longer have to stay in jobs they don’t like for the sole purpose of qualifying for employer-sponsored insurance.”

    Support for strippers and the club owners.

    “decadent New Yorkers” pay three income taxes and yet they can’t clear the snow efficiently.

    Fire up some coal plants we need more warming!

  33. Milty says:

    “’decadent New Yorkers’ pay three income taxes and yet they can’t clear the snow efficiently.”

    And today Vice-President Biden said that being in LaGuardia Airport felt like being in a third world country.

  34. Nyp says:

    Agree about Laguardia.

    Wrong about the snow removal.

  35. Milty says:

    On the bright side, there will be a whole bunch of free agents ready to live their dream of doing seasonal work shoveling snow. I just hope the snow plow operators union leg breakers don’t come after them.

  36. Milty says:

    Hey Nyp, did you see that news report about AOL CEO Tim Armstrong blaming Obamacare for AOL’s decision to reduce matching 401K contributions? Even I’ll admit to the absurdity of that claim. But then I saw that Huffington Post is owned by AOL, and I couldn’t stop laughing. I wonder how Arianna feels about all this.

  37. Nyp says:

    Steve – those news reports were BS. The NYC sanitation department did a perfectly fine job dealing with the storms.

  38. Steve says:

    Nyp called the New York Times BS.

    There is hope.

    Of course, the new mayor also publicly stated more could have been done to clear the snow….unless you think its some kinda conspiracy or some such…

  39. […] This move comes on the heels of a CBO report that ObamaCare will kill the equivalent of 2.5 million full-time jobs in the next decade, which Harry Reid equated to free agency. […]

  40. […] that’s job lock, which ObamaCare, of course, […]

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