* Our top story tonight: conservative claims that Obamacare will destroy 2 million jobs are completely bogus. Glenn Kessler has the details:
The CBO’s estimate is mostly the result of an analysis of the impact of the law on the supply of labor. That means how many people choose to participate in the work force. In other words, the nonpartisan agency is examining whether the law increases or decreases incentives for people to work.
Conservatives have been blithely ignoring a massive collapse in aggregate demand for the past five years, but a far smaller theoretical impact on labor supply drives them to hysterics. Hey folks: you know what else affects labor supply? Mass unemployment.
* Harry Reid’s office announced today that a vote on a three month extension of UI, paid for by pension smoothing, will happen on Thursday. Reporter Suzy Khimm is hearing that Dems have the support of three Republicans, but they need two more to get to 60. Fingers crossed.
* Back to Obamacare and jobs: Michael Hiltzik lays out a reason why a reduction in labor supply might be a good thing. To the extent that people are hanging on to jobs to keep their health insurance, and Obamacare lets them retire when they like– this is a good thing.
* Overall, Josh Barro probably has the most balanced take. Bottom line: Obamacare, like any means-tested program, has some disincentive effect on work, because it makes it less remunerative to work more and make more money. I’d be open to making that transition smoother — though of course, for Republicans it’s repeal or nothing. But carping endlessly about labor supply at a time of mass unemployment is straight ludicrous. Also see Jonathan Cohn.
* Jonathan Chait glories in the Republican befuddlement as they discover their vaunted Obamacare “bailout” (the risk corridors) will actually save the government money. One runs a risk slapping “bailout” on everything you don’t like.
* Jonathan Bernstein wonders how MSNBC and Fox play into ideological polarization. Keep your eye on this one.
* Nice piece from Brian Beutler on how Christie’s scandal responses keep backfiring. Bringing up high school as evidence against a critic isn’t a sign of a balanced temperament.
* Interesting piece by David Dayen on why our electronic payment system is so vulnerable to fraud. Banks and retailers don’t want to fork over the cash for upgrades, and banks actually make money on reversing charges. And when he says that the U.S.’s system is about the worst in the world, he isn’t kidding. Even Zambia has the far superior chip-and-PIN system.
* Ryan Grim and Emily Swanson find a new poll that shows the futility of deficit reduction. It doesn’t matter what happens to it– huge majorities always think the deficit is going up, and it’s always something we should really worry about, and they’re always wrong. I wonder if it would be possible to change people’s minds on this if given a concerted, widespread campaign? Probably the bigger problem would be convincing mainstream Democrats to take part.
* After the tragic overdose death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Congress is going to look at a heroin addiction spike. I have to say that doesn’t bode well. Good policy is rarely made in response to one high-profile death, and Congress typically exaggerates hysterically and passes awful draconian sentencing laws when it comes to drugs. But if they want some real ideas, Matt Steinglass has some good ones.