Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Monday, October 24, 2016

To follow @JimPethokoukis on the day of a Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report is to see gears cranking in the right-wing spin machine.

The Money & Politics columnist-blogger for the Koch-funded American Enterprise Institute and a frequent guest on CNBC’s Kudlow Report is a trained journalist, not an economist. But he’s much better at reading the monthly jobs report than most of his conservative brethren. And every month — regardless of how good or bad the numbers are — he’ll generally find some talking point for the right-wing media to fixate on.

Usually he’ll focus on what the unemployment rate would be if the labor force participation rate were as high as before the recession —  spoiler: much worse — and then he’ll remind you of what the Obama economic team promised (back before anyone had any idea how bad the recession was) the unemployment rate would be by  now —  spoiler: much better.

Then you’re likely to hear prominent Republican voices repeat this analysis as the day goes on. The data are based on fact, but read with a slant. It would be like constantly pointing out what the unemployment rate would be without government cuts — better — or what it would be if the Obama administration enjoyed government spending similar to the Reagan administration — even better.

Pethokoukis was one of the key players in feeding the myth that the Affordable Care Act was leading to a dramatic increase in part-time workers at the expense of full-time employment. This is based on the premise that the law will require employers with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance coverage, something that 98 percent of these companies already do.

He has been writing about the Obamacare’s “part-time” problem since at least May. And he tweeted about it regularly:

Then suddenly on Tuesday — when we finally got the September jobs report that had been delayed by the government shutdown — Pethokoukis began debunking his own talking point:

Why? The numbers that he’d been relying upon — while at times noting that such indications were volatile — had been proven wrong.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • Urbane_Gorilla

    Sunday, June 26, 2011 | “Shortly before Ohio Republican Rep. John Boehner became House speaker, he told ABC News what he interpreted to be the message of the November general elections, which enabled his party to regain control of the lower
    chamber of Congress. Boehner said: “Let’s get around to creating jobs
    again and staying focused on what the American people want us to focus
    on is my No. 1 priority.”

    ..and yet again and again the Republicans have killed as many jobs as possible, through hacking state, federal and county government employees, refusing to allow the post office to fund itself properly and just recently, the furlough, which sidelined 800,000 federal employees and cost our economy 160,000 employees.

    So where exactly are these jobs the Republicans promised, and why are they not held accountable for screwing the citizenry of this country?

    Furthermore, the loss of full time jobs, and replacement by part time jobs began in the last years of the Bush Grand Recession (just as happens in every other recession BTW).. Just look at a chart:

    But..Hey! What do you expect from a clown like Kudlow? Honesty?

    • Independent1

      Great post! Thanks! Looks like we have another right-wing fascist roaming NM again and who gave you a thumbs down for a totally factual post that describes exactly the disaster the GOP has been to America over the past 3 decades plus.

      • Urbane_Gorilla

        People thumb down what they don’t want to read. i don’t take it personally. 😉

    • mandinka

      Govt jobs aren’t jobs that produce anything but hot air and regulations that KILL job creation. If Federal employment eliminated the 60% of employees that are considered non essential, we would save over $200B

      • Oarboar

        Mandinka: Pick out the nearest military base to you on the map. Then go to that area’s Chamber of Commerce and make that argument. Let us know how it works out for you.

      • Urbane_Gorilla

        Right… We could do with 60% fewer police, fire fighters, military, teachers, social security workers, veteran’s administration employees, DMV workers, unemployment workers, air traffic controllers, border patrol.. etc..etc.. Running the world’s most powerful country would be much better if we cut all those by 60%.

        Turn off FOX News. It’s bad for America.. Read this instead:

        A Record Decline in Government Jobs: Implications for the Economy and America’s Workforce | Brookings Institution –

      • atc333

        You obviously did not get the study which showed that had the Red States not laid off so many Civil Servants following the Bush II Meltdown, we would not have lost so many jobs as Corporate America reacted in laying off their employees, to compensate for less money in circulation.

        The net result was that but for those states actions, unemployment would be a full percentage point less than what it currently is.

        Further, as the above study shows, Federal employee spending creates and keeps other American’s working. We might save over 200 billion, but unfortunately, Federal revenues would be down more than that as a result of more layoffs, and higher unemployment, and more unemployment benefits, and safety net payments.

        Somehow, the GOP cannot figure out if we invest in putting the Nation back to work, tax revenues go up, and deficits go down. In the same manner, they cannot figure out that reforming our health care delivery system, now #37th quality wise in the world, and costing us between 2 and 8 times as much for the same services that other Western Industrialized nations pay, we could cut our Federal Deficits in half.

        Will the GOP do it? Not a chance, too many sacred cows to be protected.

  • docb

    Here is another debunked ACA repub lie:

    ACA will save $190 Billion NOT BANKRUPT as the greasy lies of the rabid right proclaim!

    • Independent1

      Good evening docb, did you notice that the lower than expected premiums will increase the amount that ACA will lower the deficit over 10 years? The CBO had projected that deficits will be lowered by 109 billion but with the lower premiums than the CBO had expected, the deficit reduction projection has been increased to 300 billion. Totally busting all the right-wing idiots’ lies about ACA being an abomination – it’s going to be what saves America in the years ahead because I think more people are going to be insured and the premiums will end up lower than anything the CBO has projected; reducing deficits (saving America) much more than they are projecting..
      Thanks for the link!!

      • middleclasstaxpayer

        OK, let’s get the facts straight, right from one of the largest insurances companies in the US…this is a DIRECT QUOTE from letters sent in September 2013 to health policy holders of HORIZON Blue Cross/Blue Shield: “Dear values member: Because of new ACA requirements, your current plan cannot be renewed in January. However, new plans will be available. Individuals who receive coverage through LARGE employers (the well-off, my comment), are UNLIKELY to see big changes. But MANY who PURCHASE COVERAGE ON THIER OWN, or thru small employers (the LESS well-off, my comments again), will see SIGNIFICANT CHANGES to their benefits AND COSTS!” This would be laughably if it didn’t hit the VERY people (the middle-class) who it’s supposed to help. And NOTE: The “poor” (anyone earning less than $16, 000/year) is INELIGABLE for the ACA & subsidies, and MUST apply for Medicaid…..SAME AS BEFORE! So where’s the benefit??? SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER COSTS & the POOR don’t qualify for ACA OR subsidies?????

        • Independent1

          What does all that you posted have to do with pricing and the availability of insurance at more affordable cost to millions of Americans. Insurance companies have to give you different policies because the original policies had caveats like; we can refuse to cover you because of a pre-existing condition; or your children are only covered to age 18; or your maximum life-time coverage is – all of which are now illegal via ACA.

          And you spout all you want about paying more, and that’s NOT what most people are finding IN THE STATES THAT DID AN HONEST JOB OF SETTING UP INSURANCE EXCHANGES WHICH PROMOTED COMPETION. In fact, many are finding that their premiums are cut by thousands of dollars, and to boot, they’re getting much better coverage with lower deductibles.

          Wake up and put the blame in the right place – and it aint with ACA!!!

          • middleclasstaxpayer

            Our state was an early responder with setting up exchanges. Despite this, rates have SKYROCKETED. My son was paying Horizon BC/BS $193 per month for good coverage. Now his rate is estimated to be OVER $500 per month, with NO credits or subsidies from the ACA, as he doesn’t qualify because of low income. They told him to apply for Medicaid, which he had two years ago. If was hell finding ANY physicians who accepted “new” Medicaid patients then, and it’s predicted to be worse now with the projected LOWER payments paid to doctors in 2014. This is a disaster for the middle-class. While low earners are NO BETTER OFF, the well-to-do, who could afford higher costs, are almost COMPLETELY UNAFFECTED. Thus the middle class is absorbing the ENTIRE COST. This is the perfect liberal policy….everyone except the well-to-do is brought DOWN to suffer together.

          • Independent1

            You’ll forgive me if I don’t believe a word of your post – because it’s totally counter to everything I’m reading. First of all, if your son was paying 193/mo for a BCBS plan, it covered virtually nothing and probably had a $10,000 deductible – eliminating coverage for a lot of the major illnesses. So if the new plan cost him $500/month, it’s because it’s a FAR BETTER PLAN than the one he had. Don’t give me any nonsense about $193/mo plan that was worth even bothering paying for – I have 11 grandkids with a number of children with insurance and I know full well what $193/mo plan would of bought prior to ACA and that was virtually covering nothing.

            And here’s some tweets from people who have actually purchased some of the ACA plans that blow holes in your set of BS above:

            -My neighbor, 2 heart attacks , 50 yrs old 350/ month, couldn’t get insurance before so he’s stoked!!!

            -that’s funny, my premiums will be going from $1500 all the way *up* to $600.

            -Here in Maine, I can now buy a Gold PPO coverage for less than a $6,500 deductible cost me before

            -According to the NYS Premium estimator I can get Platinum for less than I pay now for equivalent of Silver policy cost me before.

            -2 man law firm in NJ. AETNA raised premium 39% on 10/1/13. We are going to ACA

            -Our family of 3 w/2 full time employed adults & a 15yo r fully covered thru @WAplanfinder no way we could afford previously

            -Several factors in play, but my employer-provided plan lowered premiums & deductibles for 1st time in 15 years.

            -According to the website, my premium for a Humana policy is $400/mo less than what I was paying.

            -my premiums are going from 850 to 650 plus a much lower deductible.

            -My mom is 63 pays $1800.00 per month now. With ACA will pay $350.00 with better coverage and lower deductible.

            -Fm Wash State: My premium for good coverage less than $300/mo vs over $1000 Cobra. Site works fine.

            -family of 4 we are paying $1500 a year now w will be paying $975

            -BCBS premiums for MI state govt retirees: no increase in 2014 despite improved coverage required by Obamacare

          • middleclasstaxpayer

            You are delusional…..I hope YOU have to access the ACA, so you’ll discover first hand what a sham it is on the middle class.
            Prices are GOING UP across the board…..a “bargain” is ONLY a bargain when you need & can afford the policy. There are too many “added benefits” in these new policies that young folks will wait MANY decades to possibly benefit from….a low income worker CANNOT AFFORD $500 + per month, NO MATTER what the “benefit.”….and the poor, making LESS than $16K ?year, DON’T even qualify for ACA or any reductions, so they are STILL STUCK with Medicaid, and doctors are NOT accepting new Medicaid patients in 95% of the practices due to low (and soon LOWER) reimbursements. Of course, we haven’t even mentioned that it is IMPOSSIBLE to call in/sign in and register. When we DID get thru, we were told to “go to the website” which was NON-OPERATIONAL??? Even phone operators were UNABLE to access the website for registering. All a creation of the “amateur” Obama & his ineffective administration!

  • Erik Hare

    Actually, the Part-Time Work Myth was debunked pretty thoroughly last August by the SF Federal Reserve. The mainstream media doesn’t read the reports that come out of the Fed Banks, but they should – interesting stuff. You can find them on Facebook if you want to get updates and be ahead of the press by a few months.

    • Oarboar

      The sad truth about most MSM journalists is that their only skillsets consist of rewriting GOP press releases and going to cocktail parties. I wish I could go back in time and slap myself for going into journalism, even though I went into it to be a sportswriter.

  • shaylynnvacca321

    my Aunty Abigail got a
    fantastic white Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid by working part-time off of a home
    computer… read the full info here J­a­m­2­0­.­ℂ­o­m

    • nirodha

      Please go away and do not come back.

    • Jim Myers

      YOU SUCK.

  • Dominick Vila

    Suggesting that part time and/or temporary employment in the USA was caused by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in January 2014 is one of the most deceitful and ridiculous claims made by the GOP and the special interests whose abusive profits are going to be impacted by the new law.
    Temporary and part time employment have existed for decades, and will continue to be the norm for many years to come, regardless of how effective ACA is. Hiring part timers and temporaries are influenced by business decisions involving seasonal work, and the need to be competitive by reducing operating costs. If anything, ACA will provide relief to business owners by reducing operating expenses which, in theory, will allow them to hire full time workers. Unfortunately, that is probably not going to be the case. You can bet the reduced operating costs and higher profits will go to shareholders…or will be invested in sweat shops in Bangladesh.

    • rothgar

      One of but let’s not forget that classic death panels …

      from people who are supporting the insurance companies’ right to cap insurance, deny coverage, and not spend on customer heathcare.

      • dana becker

        Republicans: But that is the American way.

    • The AHCA is also responsible for indigestion, premature ejaculation, baldness, anxiety, World War Z & hemorrhoids.

    • atc333

      The truth has never been an issue when the GOP wants to win at any cost, which is most of the time, the past 3 weeks being a prime example. How many Billions did that cost, and how badly did it slow down the recovery?

  • JDavidS

    Facts/reality…a RepubliCONs worst enemy.

  • disqus_fsqeoY3FsG

    Has anyone seen Paul Ryan’s Health Care Plan – briefly went through it – some of it seems strangely familiar and other parts appears to favor the insurance companies.
    Curious to get others feed back.

  • Allan Richardson

    They can still use the “job killer” story with one industry: the funeral homes. ACA will postpone close to 45,000 funerals each year by up to 50 years in some cases. The funeral directors can’t wait that long for the business, and they will have to let people go and close facilities. Maybe the gun lobby can help make up the slack.

  • What frustrates the American worker is the gov’t giving huge contracts to American companies, who then sub the work out to off shore locations thereby eliminating jobs in the US & creating them in rat infested Shi’ite holes.
    How about keeping those tax dollars here they belong, here in the US not abroad.

  • Madame LaFarge

    So here’s the reality on the part time work: Trader Joe’s has advised all of their employees working less than 30 hours per week that they will lose their health insurance. Captains were advised to choose the “best” workers out of that group, and offer them 30 hours per week, The others could leave or work without health coveage.

    Penny Pritizker, Obama’s appointee to the post of Secretary of
    Commerce, and owner of, among other things, the Hyatt Hotels, fired all of the full time housekeepers. These, in some instances, long time workers, were replaced by part timers so Hyatt would not have to provide health insurance for the new workers.
    Anyone who believes that Obamacare was created to provide world class coverage to the American working population needs to review the history of the ACA and Barack Obama. The ACA was written by the insurance companies, for the insurance companies, with the profit of the insurance companies as the first and foremost concern.

    I understand that employers are to be taxed if the coverage that they offer is too
    “Cadillac”. This will encourage employers to downgrade the quality of coverage employees receive. It appears that employers are also taxed for offering coverage to part timers, as in the case of Trader Joe’s.