Where has all the A-list gone?
posted at 8:01 am on February 25, 2014 by Ed Morrissey
Barack Obama has had a lot of access to Hollywood in his two terms as President. Movers and shakers in the entertainment industry have bankrolled his two election campaigns, and celebrities usually haven’t been shy about getting in front of cameras to extoll the latest agenda items on Hopenchange. Now that the bills are coming due on the Obama administration’s central domestic-policy program, though, suddenly they’re nowhere to be found:
President Obama’s celebrity supporters are not in the forefront as they were during the star-studded campaign-style videos that hogged the airwaves in 2008.ADVERTISEMENT
Contrary to expectations, the White House’s A-list backers have mainly stuck to Twitter to voice support for ObamaCare, while others have appeared in inexpensive online videos, or chosen to promote California’s insurance marketplace instead of HealthCare.gov, the notoriously troubled website for the federal exchanges.
It seems that not even the president’s most fervent and committed supporters want to get too close to ObamaCare. Some of Obama’s most powerful allies — figures including Oprah Winfrey, Bruce Springsteen and Beyoncé — have stayed in the wings for the enrollment push.
Less than a year ago, Jennifer Hudson, Amy Poehler, and representatives for Winfrey and Alicia Keys were guests at the White House to discuss a strategy to promote the healthcare law.
Many expected this would lead to an advertising blitz full of famous faces. But, with limited exceptions, stars have largely failed to participate in a substantial ad campaign to promote Obama-Care’s new coverage options.
So what gives? Entertainment veterans know a flop when they see it. Here’s a hint: When you’re firing producers, it’s usually a sign that the show will close out of town. And when your replacement producers have a track record worse than that of the original producers, well … let’s just say that no one signs up for the promotion tour of Ishtar II.
The CBO report is another dose of box-office poison. Chris Conover at Forbes took a closer look at the data in the report, which predicted a net decrease of 2.5 million full-time-equivalents (FTEs) in the economy in 10 years. That’s only part of the story, Conover says, and the other parts are even worse:
Obamacare may well free up workers to quit jobs for younger workers to replace them or change to jobs they prefer, but none of these individuals is included in the CBO figure. Why? Because when a retiree is replaced by a younger worker filling the same job, there is no net loss of hours of work to the economy. Similarly, when a worker moves from one full-time job to a different preferred full-time job, hours of work remain the same.
For the same reason, we can be dead certain that the 2.5 million do not include those “trapped” in a job wishing to break out and become small business entrepreneurs. Most surveys show that small business owners work longer hours than those in wage and salary jobs. Various surveys put the average workweek for small business owners at anywhere from 47 to 52 hours, solidly above the average workweek for private sector wage and salary workers. And my strong impression is that the working week for start-up entrepreneurs is even longer, with self-reports of 60, 80 and even 100 hours not being atypical. Thus, if Obamacare were expected a torrent of new entrepreneurs, the net effect would be to increase rather than decrease the net hours worked …
The CBO figure does not include job losses related to any of the taxes imposed by Obamacare on the health industry. The figures below essentially represent involuntary job losses among those adversely impacted by such taxes.
Health Insurance Tax (146,000-262,000). Obamacare imposes an annual fee on insurers beginning in 2014 that will result in a 2.5 to 3%increase in health insurance premiums on all fully-insured plans. The National Federation of Independent Business, using independent cost estimates and the Research Foundation’s BSIM (Business Size Impact Module), predicts the rise in cost of employer-sponsored insurance stemming from the health insurance tax will result in a reduction in private sector employment of146,000 to 262,000 jobs in the year 2022, with 59 percent of the job losses coming from small businesses.
Medical Device Tax (165,000). Obamacare likewise imposes the 2.3% excise tax on the medical device industry. This tax, which is imposed on gross revenues (and hence represents a far higher share of profits for such companies). A study by the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) shows that this tax already has resulted in employment reductions of approximately 14,000 industry workers and forgone hiring of 19,000 workers. Thus, the total job impact of the tax on medical device industry employment was approximately 33,000. However, the study also examined independent estimates of the relationship between direct employment in the medical device industry and indirect employment among suppliers and in the general economy found a ratio of four indirect jobs for each direct job. Applying this ratio to jobs lost or foregone suggests that the impact of the tax on indirect employment would be approximately 132,000 jobs, for a total job loss due to the tax of as many as 165,000 jobs.
There’s more, but like any bad review, an excerpt gives readers the flavor of the whole. Put this on top of the incompetent rollout of the web portals (especially in California), and it would be akin to endorsing Ford Pintos from the mid-70s. ObamaCare has always been unpopular, but the celebrities who tried to front it earlier believed Barack Obama’s promises that it would reduce premiums, allow people to keep their plans and their doctors, and improve the health-care system. Now, Obama’s claims are getting flagged as the Lie of the Year and buried in Pinocchios. Not even Hollywood can sustain this level of suspension of disbelief.
Add all that together, and it comes to this: Don’t call us, babe. We’ll call you.