For the last week, the political class has spent a lot of time debating whether Americans should work less, a response to the Congressional Budget Office report that concluded some people would because of Obamacare. Is it a bad thing if a federal program encourages people to work less? What if it gives them freedom to do more of what they want?
House Budget Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) summarized the fear that Obamacare could destroy the American work ethic. The law could encourage Americans "not to get on the ladder of life, to begin working, getting the dignity of work, getting more opportunities, rising the income, joining the middle class," he said at a congressional hearing last week. "This means fewer people will do that."
The hand-wringing from Republican lawmakers continued on the Sunday shows. "I think any law you pass that discourages people from working can't be a good idea," Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) said. "Why would we want to do that? Why would we think that was a good thing?"
Below the surface political posturing is an important cultural subtext: Americans and their complicated relationship with work.
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