What can you do with 79 million man-hours?

posted at 2:41 pm on September 18, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

I missed this analysis of ObamaCare compliance costs last week, but it’s worth noting — especially with the election coming up.  With much of the regulation still left to be written, the known compliance costs for the ironically-titled “Affordable Care Act” would eat up 80 million man-hours every year — which one former IRS commissioner called a “quagmire” (via Paul Bedard):

According to former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Fred Goldberg, and supported by the Obama Administration’s own figures, ObamaCare “…in its current form will be a needless administrative and compliance quagmire for millions of Americans.”

Based on IRS estimates approved by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget, ObamaCare will take American job creators and families nearly 80 million hours to comply with. Over half of that will fall on small businesses. …

Every hour and dollar spent complying with the Democrats’ health care law are time and resources being taken from growing a business, hiring new workers, or caring for patients. To date, the Democrats’ health care law has resulted in IRS and Treasury issuing thousands of pages of new rules and regulations, including 40 notices, 17 regulations, 5 revenue procedures, 2 revenue rulings, and 14 Treasury decisions. Sixteen IRS regulations implementing the health care law, found below, will require nearly 80 million man-hours per year according to the IRS. Given the enormous impact the regulations will have on job creators, it is no wonder that a recent survey found that over 70 percent of small businesses cite the health care law as a major obstacle to job creation.

The House Ways and Means Committee puts this into perspective by comparing the number of compliance man-hours to other, more productive projects:

  • Empire State Building: 7 million man-hours to complete, could be built 11 times a year
  • Mars Curiosity Lander could make over 13,000 trips between Earth and Mars each year
  • One person could observe the 76-year appearance of Halley’s Comet 119 times

I’ll add another.  The amount of man-hours needed each year for the regulation added by the Affordable Care Act so far would be 398 times the total amount of man-hours our Space Shuttle program spent in space over its entire 30-year history.  That’s each and every year, with it likely to get a lot worse when more of the regulation gets established by HHS.

And we wonder why people won’t invest in growth-producing ventures.  Not surprisingly, Rasmussen still finds a majority of voters in favor of repeal:

A majority of voters still supports repeal of President Obama’s national health care law and believes it will increase the federal deficit and the cost of health care.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 53% of Likely U.S. Voters favor repeal, while 43% are opposed. This includes 45% who Strongly Favor repeal of the health care measure and 33% who are Strongly Opposed. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Support for repeal is up slightly from last week. Most voters have consistently favored repeal in regular tracking since the health care law was passed by Congress in March 2010.

In other words, as Paul Mirengoff and Jeffrey Anderson also conclude, the defense of the ACA at the Democratic convention failed.  Democrats could spent 79 million man-hours trying to defend this turkey each year and it still wouldn’t change minds at this stage.


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