Quantcast

Fact check: Slippery claims on health law, budget from Republicans and Democrats

By Calvin Woodward

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Sept. 29 2013 10:04 a.m. MDT

THE FACTS: Raising the debt ceiling is not the same as a consumer merely making monthly payments on existing debt. It's very much like a consumer getting approved for a higher cap on a credit card. It doesn't mean the consumer will necessarily spend more, but it makes higher spending possible.

In the government's case, it has to have a higher credit limit so it can keep borrowing to make necessary payments. Borrowing to pay interest on existing debt as well as the bills is a recipe for deep trouble for consumers. But governments don't — and really, can't — handle their budgets as typical households do, despite the kitchen-table analogies that politicians in both parties love to make.

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-Texas: "Today, the House of Representatives did what Washington pundits only a few weeks ago said was impossible: A strong bipartisan majority voted to defund Obamacare." — Statement after the Sept. 20 House vote.

McCARTHY: "That's why today when we acted, it wasn't just a group of Republicans, but it was a bipartisan vote. Let me state that again because I want to make sure you write it correctly. (Laughter in the room). It was a bipartisan vote because we're Americans." — At the post-vote House GOP rally Sept. 20.

THE FACTS: Still chuckling.

Bipartisan might be in the eye of the beholder but the vote passing the resolution was far from it.

Only two Democrats voted with the Republican majority, Reps. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Jim Matheson of Utah. Only one Republican voted with the Democrats, Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell. The 230-189 vote illustrated bitter partisan divisions, not a harmonious we're-all-Americans moment.

A strong bipartisan vote to do away with the health care law remains impossible.

HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER ERIC CANTOR, R-Va.: "We're seeing our economy turn from a full-time job economy into a part-time job economy." — Cantor blamed this on "Obamacare" in the House GOP rally after the budget vote.

SEBELIUS: "Actually that just isn't true. What we see is an increase in full-time jobs. There's a decrease in the number of Americans working part-time hours." — On CNN, Thursday.

THE FACTS: Cantor's statement reflects fears of what might happen over time. Sebelius' statement rests on statistics, though selective ones.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the number of people working part-time involuntarily — because of slack work or business conditions or because they can't find full-time jobs — was 7.9 million in August. That's down by a hair from a year earlier, when it was 8 million. In that time, the average weekly hours worked also went up marginally. And unemployment overall dropped to 7.3 percent from 8.1 percent. These figures support Sebelius.

Yet involuntary part-time work is up a whopping 75.6 percent since August 2007, when the economy was about to go into deep recession. That supports Cantor's point about change in the job market. Some recent surveys have found a growing number of businesses that are cutting hours for part-time workers to keep them below the 30-hour threshold that places health-insurance obligations on them.

Much of the surge in part-time work, though, came before enactment of the health care law in 2010 or during its earliest stages. The effects of its obligations on employers have yet to take root. For now, the case that "Obamacare" will turn the workforce into a part-time one is anecdotal at best. Also plausible — and speculative — is the possibility that the law will work as its advocates intend and spur jobs by lightening the health insurance burden.

Associated Press writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Tom Raum contributed to this report.

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS