President Obama Should Reward Work, Not Discourage It

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014 @ 2:32PM

Last week the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report predicting that Americans will work less because of Obamacare. The report concluded that the average hours worked will drop by 1.5 percent to 2 percent, and the workforce may shrink by as many as 2.5 million people over the next 10 years. After listening to the White House’s reaction, you could be forgiven if you came away with the impression that working is a terrible imposition on people.

Here’s what the CBO is saying and the White House embraces: the Affordable Care Act will result in people choosing to work fewer hours and to receive fewer wages so that they don’t lose their government subsidy to pay for health insurance.

If there’s any one thing that defines America, it’s the American Dream: that if you work hard, you will have the opportunity to improve your standard of living and provide greater opportunities to the next generation. And ObamaCare takes direct aim at that Dream: it tells people – particularly lower-income Americans – that they shouldn’t work hard and instead should rely on the government for assistance.  And that’s wrong, and is another strong indication of why this law needs to be replaced with real health care reform.

Last July when President Obama visited Chattanooga, he said that Washington had taken its eye off the ball when it came to the middle class. Now, the White House says it’s a good thing that Obamacare will cause fewer Americans to  work, with the labor force participation rate already hovering near a 40-year low around 63 percent . It seems to me that it’s President Obama who has taken his eye of the ball. Its simple math: when you work less, you earn less. When you earn less, you have less money to provide for your family’s needs and wants.

The president likes to tout the “successes” of Obamacare, but in East Tennessee I’ve heard from more people being hurt than helped by his law. To the president’s credit, I was able to find one individual who said she’d been helped under the law. The majority of Tennesseans I’ve heard from, however, remain opposed to this law and are desperate for some sort of relief. They first saw their premiums rise or had their insurance plans canceled. Now, they’re being told that they will have to work hard to provide for 2.5 million workers who will choose to work less.

A government safety net is intended to help people through hard times, not to sustain them. The same president that spent the last six years talking about the need for job creation in this country is now saying that it’s not just okay, but a good thing, if people do less work. I’ll never understand how that can make sense to anyone.

Rather than discouraging work, we should reward it. We should take pride in the fact that our country was built by hard work, not big government, and we should encourage everyone to try their hand at the American Dream. It might not be easy, but it was never intended to be. My mother was a bank teller and my father worked in a factory manufacturing shoe heels. I watched as they worked hard to provide for our family, and I worked hard to put myself through college and medical school and build a medical practice.

The American Dream doesn’t start with a government handout, it starts with rolling up your sleeves and making a better life for yourself and for your family. It’s not easy, but it’s attainable, and that’s what makes us a land of opportunity for all.

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People, Not Politics.