Last week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) would likely have a significantly larger negative effect on the labor supply decisions of Americans than previously estimated. They now estimate that workers will choose to work fewer hours, to avoid losing eligibility for Obamacare subsidies; an amount that further decreases the labor force by the equivalent of 2 million full-time jobs, or 1.5-2 percent of the labor force.
In our hypersensitive political environment, partisans quickly jumped on the "news". Opponents of Obamacare used the report to call Obamacare a "war on work", another reason to repeal and replace it. Defenders of Obamacare were busy spinning how the report was actually good news; under Obamacare, people will no longer be forced to go to work, simply to get health insurance. In fact, nothing actually changed with the CBO report. Those opposed to Obamacare are just more convinced of its damaging effects, and those in favor of it are not going to be convinced otherwise by this report.
Nonetheless, the CBO report might be a useful teachable moment; an instance where an economic effect which is usually hidden from sight, becomes visible to everyone in a way which improves our understanding. Generally, neither side is disputing the CBO report. Both sides agree with the finding that the manner in which subsidies are designed in Obamacare will give rise to the negative incentive effects that CBO estimates. more >>
President Obama is launching a new initiative to help young men of color. It's called My Brother's Keeper.
The President told Charles Barkley in a television interview last night that he wants create special educational, mentorship and apprenticeship programs – for a specific segment of the population.
"We're going to pull together private philanthropies, foundations working with governors, mayors non-profits and we're going to focus on young men of color and find ways in which to create more pathways to success for them," the president told Barkley. more >>
There seems to be a rising chorus-even among some on the right-that marriage is over and we need to give up on the civil institution of marriage. I'm reminded of the blonde starlet, Mae West. This Hollywood celebrity was asked why she didn't marry one of the handsome young men who always followed her around. "Marriage is a great institution," said Mae, "but I'm not ready for an institution."
Married or not, Mae West understood marriage better than some federal judges and some policy analysts.
When we hear them say, "let's privatize marriage," what they are really saying is let's abandon the children. And let's abandon America's future. One of the most poignant and powerful stories from the Civil War era tells us that freedmen and women walked to Tennessee in 1866-66 to have their slave marriages recorded and recognized in law. Many of these ex-slaves were illiterate-kept so by unjust enactments. Many of them had to walk barefoot. But so great was their yearning for marriage that they made that great sacrifice. more >>
Actress and filmmaker Roma Downey recently made it clear that scenes in "Son of God" that included an actor who played the devil, but who some say looks a lot like President Barack Obama, have been edited out of the movie releasing next week.
"It gives me great pleasure to tell you that the devil is on the cutting-room floor. This is now a movie about Jesus, the son of God, and the devil gets no more screen time," Downey, who produced the movie with her husband, Mark Burnett, told The Hollywood Reporter.
"Son of God," which opens on Feb. 28, is a theatrical version of the "The Bible" TV miniseries, a highly successful show on the History Channel that featured actor Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni as Satan. more >>
While President Barack Obama touts a desire to increase access to healthcare, his actions related to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," suggest that he cares more about winning elections than providing health insurance to every American.
Last week, Obama delayed the employer mandate for certain employers. This would be the second time Obama has delayed parts of the employer mandate, thus ensuring that some Americans will have to wait two more years before getting health insurance coverage through their employers.
Obama has said 2014 will be a "year of action." But in this case, Obama's order is to delay action. To put it bluntly, there are Americans today without health insurance who would have health insurance if Obama had implemented the law as Congress wrote it. more >>
U.S. President Barack Obama is placing pressure on Uganda President Yoweri Museveni not to sign a controversial anti-gay bill that could make "aggravated homosexuality" punishable by life imprisonment, warning that such a law could strain relationships between the two countries.
Obama said in a statement on Sunday that as a people, the U.S. stands for the protection of fundamental freedoms and universal human rights, and that is why he is so "deeply disappointed that Uganda will shortly enact legislation that would criminalize homosexuality."
"The Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, once law, will be more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda. It will be a step backward for all Ugandans and reflect poorly on Uganda's commitment to protecting the human rights of its people," Obama warned. "It also will mark a serious setback for all those around the world who share a commitment to freedom, justice and equal rights." more >>