Side Effects and Complications: The Economic Consequences of Health-Care Reform

University of Chicago Press
Free sample

The Affordable Care Act will have a dangerous effect on the American economy. That may sound like a political stance, but it’s a conclusion directly borne out by economic forecasts. In Side Effects and Complications, preeminent labor economist Casey B. Mulligan brings to light the dire economic realities that have been lost in the ideological debate over the ACA, and he offers an eye-opening, accessible look at the price American citizens will pay because of it.

Looking specifically at the labor market, Mulligan reveals how the costs of health care under the ACA actually create implicit taxes on individuals, and how increased costs to employers will be passed on to their employees. Mulligan shows how, as a result, millions of workers will find themselves in a situation in which full-time work, adjusted for the expense of health care, will actually pay less than part-time work or even not working at all. Analyzing the incentives—or lack thereof—for people to earn more by working more, Mulligan offers projections on how many hours people will work and how productively they will work, as well as how much they will spend in general. Using the powerful tools of economics, he then illustrates the detrimental consequences on overall employment in the near future.

Drawing on extensive knowledge of the labor market and the economic theories at its foundation, Side Effects and Complications offers a crucial wake-up call about the risks the ACA poses for the economy. Plainly laying out the true costs of the ACA, Mulligan’s grounded and thorough predictions are something that workers and policy makers cannot afford to ignore.
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About the author

Casey B. Mulligan is professor of economics at the University of Chicago. He is the author of The Redistribution Recession: How Labor Market Distortions Contracted the Economy and Parental Priorities and Economic Inequality. More information about Mulligan and his work can be found on www.acasideeffects.com.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Oct 20, 2015
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9780226285740
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economics / General
Business & Economics / General
Business & Economics / Government & Business
Political Science / American Government / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Redistribution, or subsidies and regulations intended to help the poor, unemployed, and financially distressed, have changed in many ways since the onset of the recent financial crisis. The unemployed, for instance, can collect benefits longer and can receive bonuses, health subsidies, and tax deductions, and millions more people have became eligible for food stamps. Economist Casey B. Mulligan argues that while many of these changes were intended to help people endure economic events and boost the economy, they had the unintended consequence of deepening-if not causing-the recession. By dulling incentives for people to maintain their own living standards, redistribution created employment losses according to age, skill, and family composition. Mulligan explains how elevated tax rates and binding minimum-wage laws reduced labor usage, consumption, and investment, and how they increased labor productivity. He points to entire industries that slashed payrolls while experiencing little or no decline in production or revenue, documenting the disconnect between employment and production that occurred during the recession. The book provides an authoritative, comprehensive economic analysis of the marginal tax rates implicit in public and private sector subsidy programs, and uses quantitative measures of incentives to work and their changes over time since 2007 to illustrate production and employment patterns. It reveals the startling amount of work incentives eroded by the labyrinth of new and existing social safety net program rules, and, using prior results from labor economics and public finance, estimates that the labor market contracted two to three times more than it would have if redistribution policies had remained constant. In The Redistribution Recession, Casey B. Mulligan offers hard evidence to contradict the notion that work incentives suddenly stop mattering during a recession or when interest rates approach zero, and offers groundbreaking interpretations and precise explanations of the interplay between unemployment and financial markets.
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