POLITICS

The GOP Thinks Obamacare Is Making You Lazy

Feb 09, 2014 | Updated Feb 10, 2014

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) on Sunday suggested that Obamacare is making people lazy, shifting away from a now-discredited GOP talking point on a recent nonpartisan jobs report update on the health care law.

Republicans and several media outlets were pilloried last week for misinterpreting an Obamacare report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The CBO found that people who only work additional hours for access to health insurance will scale back their hours as a result of Obamacare. The result would be a loss of work hours equivalent to about 2.3 million full-time jobs. Republicans, however, cited the report as evidence that Obamacare will destroy jobs by forcing layoffs.

On Fox News Sunday, Blunt pivoted to a new talking point: Obamacare will make people slothful.

"I think any law you pass that discourages people from working can't be a good idea," Blunt said. "Why would we wanna do that? How does that allow people to prepare for the time when they don't work?"

As HuffPost has reported, some of the people leaving their jobs are, in fact, eyeing retirement -- opting to leave work before Medicare kicks in at age 65. Others may be planning to start their own business, or go back to school.

On the same show, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) defended the health care law, emphasizing that the decline in working will be the result of worker choices, not unwanted layoffs.

"They're in employment solely because they get health benefits … this is a voluntary choice," Cardin said. "In some cases, these people might have two jobs because of these health benefits … now they don't need to work two full-time jobs to get their health benefits."

But Blunt didn't budge. "The best face you can probably put on that is that people who don't wanna work don't have to work," Blunt continued. "Surely that's not what we wanna encourage."

Much of the 19th and 20th century labor movement was dedicated to reducing the amount of time that people spend working. Many advances for working people that are now taken for granted were initially greeted by declarations that easier work schedules would ruin the country's moral character.

"Any man demanding the 40-hour week should be ashamed to claim citizenship in this great country," declared the chairman of Philadelphia Gear Works in 1926. "The men of our country are becoming a race of softies and mollycoddles."

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