Desperately working to keep his patient from bleeding out, the Washington Post's William Branigin set about emergency surgery on ObamaCare's public perception in his February 6 page A4 article, "CBO director: Health law will boost employment."
"Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf testified Wednesday that the new health-care law will spur employment by boosting overall demand for goods and services," Branigin approvingly opened his 7-paragraph story, explaining that the chief of the nonpartisan CBO was "answering questions from Democrats who were trying to counter claims by Republicans that the Affordable Care Act will cost jobs."
Michael McAuliff, a former New York Daily News reporter who now writes for the liberal Huffington Post website, stated on Wednesday that people who oppose the Affordable Care Act refer to a report released by the Congressional Budget Office that the shift of full-time employees to part-time work would result in employees losing working hours equivalent to about 2.5 million jobs during the next 10 years, “thereby raising unemployment and forcing others to pay for their health care, and adding to the federal deficit.”
However, McAuliff -- who covers Congress and politics for the site -- quoted CBO director Douglas Elmendorf, who in a hearing on Wednesday “asserted that this is not so: His office's report, he noted, says that ObamaCare will actually produce a net increase in employment and cut the deficit” while giving workers the freedom to do things most Americans praise, such as spending more time with their children or starting their own businesses.
Update - 5/27, 3:08 PM | Lachlan Markay: A new Harvard study finds that increased government spending actually reduces economic activity, contradicting the basic premise behind CBO's assumptions. Details below.
Good economic news is so rare for the current administration, that when some does emerge, many in the media parrot it as fact without really examining the claims that undergird it. New CBO numbers on the stimulus, for instance, have been trumpeted as proof the legislation at least helped, despite the fact that the numbers have little to no basis in reality.
Congressional Budget Office models are based on the assumption that stimulus spending will create jobs. They assume the conclusion they purport to demonstrate, and then claim they've demonstrated it. But if the model is inaccurate or simply based on false premises, it simply goes on tallying jobs "created or saved" without regard to the actual employment rate.
In March, a reporter asked CBO director Doug Elmendorf: "If the stimulus bill did not do what it was originally forecast to do, then that would not have been detected by the subsequent analysis, right?" His response: "That's right. That's right." Yet despite those numbers' disconnect from reality, the media continue to report them as fact, and proof that the stimulus is working.
CNN’s Kitty Pilgrim followed the lead of ABC News in reporting the Obama administration’s attempt to use regulatory power to suppress criticism of its health care proposal on Wednesday’s Lou Dobbs Tonight. Pilgrim noted how “[health] insurers are angry because...the government Medicaid office instructed them to cease sending what it called misleading...information about the bill to clients.”
Anchor Lou Dobbs introduced the correspondent’s report 19 minutes in the 7 pm Eastern hour: “Lawmakers and some of this country’s insurers today [are] incensed about what they see as a White House attempt to control information about possible Medicare cuts. The White House yesterday, in fact, warned insurers and health care companies they could face legal action if they spread what the White House calls misinformation about the health care bill.”