Even prior to last Friday's announcement by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics trumpeting the higher-than-expected 295,000 jobs added in February, helping to drop the unemployment rate to 5.5%, the GOP lie that the Affordable Care Act (ACA or "Obamacare") was a "job-killer" was already quite apparent.
Why are elected officials not held accountable when they are so demonstrably wrong? Or, worse, why are they treated by the media as if they are serious people, when clearly they are not?
On March 17, 2010, just five days before Obama signed the ACA into law, as Forbes' Dan Diamond reminded us last week, even before the huge new job numbers came in, House Speaker John Boehner reiterated what pretty much every Republican opponent of Obamacare had been reciting for months by that time...
"The President...continues to push his job-killing government takeover of health care that will hurt small businesses at a time when they need certainty, not more Washington tax hikes and mandates," Boehner declared. "Democrats have opted for a government takeover of health care that will crush our economy like a ton of bricks. And, despite bizarre claims to the contrary from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), economists are warning that the tax hikes, mandates, and regulatory costs in the bill will only accelerate America's jobs crisis."
Clearly, as the chart above makes plain, Boehner and his "economists" were simply wrong. The legislation neither killed jobs nor "crush[ed] our economy like a tons of bricks." It did, however, help some 15 million Americans without affordable access to healthcare previously, get that access.
"More than 11 million jobs have been created," since March 2010, Diamond also reminds us, "and the unemployment rate has been cut nearly in half."
One is welcome to argue against the ACA's shortcomings (we've done so ourselves many times), and legitimate cases can even be made (well-supported or otherwise) that the jobs created since it was enacted aren't the best, or even that the economy, which finally appears to be recovering from the Great Recession, would be even better without Obamacare in place.
But to argue, as the GOP did at the time, that the bill would be a "job killer" (Diamond notes that House Republicans even went so far in 2011 as to pass the "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act" --- "the first time that any piece of congressional legislation ever had 'job-killing' in its title") is just not based in anything but fantasy.
Yet, it seems, we have fantasists, hissy-fitters and the Politics of Stupid now running both chambers of Congress --- and a press corps which doesn't much appear to have the guts to call them out for it.