The Congressional Budget Office recently warned that Obamacare would “keep hours worked and potential output during the next 10 years lower than they would be otherwise.” That nonpartisan verdict should be bad news for workers.
Not in our brave new world. The Obama administration says it is pleased that workers will now be freed from “job lock.” What is job lock — a made-up Newspeak word right out of 1984? Work fewer hours, make less money, and create fewer outputs — and be happy.
Call it a subset of “reality lock.” Healthcare costs money. Food costs money. Living costs money. Anything that requires labor to produce requires labor to purchase. You have to work to live.
Why should we be held down by this archaic rule of nature?
This is the Marxist justification for redistribution. Capitalism has created enough wealth to free all of mankind from droll concern about the means of his survival. All we have to do is sit back and let the machines take care of us.
Marx and Engels maintained the abolition of property would not mean the abolition of work, and thus the depletion of wealth. They wrote:
It has been objected that upon the abolition of private property all work will cease, and universal laziness will overtake us.
Accoding to this, bougeois society ought long ago to have gone to the dogs through sheer idleness; for those of its members who work, acquire nothing...
The CBO report refutes their argument. Workforce participation is at a 36-year low. As the welfare state has grown, the workforce has shrunk. When you give people something for nothing, you get more nothing. With fewer workers, you get less wealth creation. With less wealth recreation, in a static, redistributionist system, you get a lower standard of living.
Marxists have yielded on that point and now go to great lengths to defend idleness. The originator of “job lock” is none other than Representative Nancy Pelosi, who is at least consistent in her reality denial. Four years ago she told Rachel Maddow’s audience:
Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance.
Rather than apply their skills in the marketplace, creating supply and meeting demand, people in a Communist society realize their “true” personhood in the arts. Bertell Ollman puts it this way:
Every person in communist society is relieved of the burden of narrowness which plagued his or her ancestors, weavers and painters alike, and given the opportunity to express him or herself in all possible ways.
The inversion is complete. Work bad, self-expression good. On the one hand, we put up with nihilist agitators who lord their personalities over traditional American culture through the legal system. On the other hand, we pay people to not work. What a racket.