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Editorial: Seizing the day and making headlines

Carpe diem — loosely translated, it’s Latin for “seize the day.” A more in-depth examination of the phrase, according to Merriam-Webster, is “the enjoyment of the pleasures of the moment without concern for the future.”

The congressional interpretation of carpe diem was on full display this week with the Congressional Budget Office’s latest report on the Affordable Care Act . What was seized upon by opponents of the federal health care law was this startling “fact:” that there will be more than 2 million Americans with full-time jobs leaving the workforce as a result of the new law.

It’s just the kind of headline critics of the law and the Obama administration were waiting for. It’s proof, they have been yelling, that the act will damage America’s economy.

Sadly, a number of media outlets went with this interpretation of the report’s information without checking further.

But that’s not what the CBO said.

The estimated workforce reduction, says the report, “... stems almost entirely from a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply, rather than from a net drop in businesses’ demand for labor.”

Translated in English, that means that people who have been working full-time in order to get health care coverage and benefits can now afford to make the personal decision to retire, cut back their hours or strike out on their own — because they’ll be able to get health coverage elsewhere. Another way to put it is that it is going to unlock “job lock,” where people keep a job because it’s their only path to health benefits.

What the nonpartisan CBO report also indicates is that since businesses aren’t cutting back on their need to fill jobs, those openings will probably be taken by people looking for full-time employment, like young people.

That doesn’t sound so bad when put into context, does it?

Meanwhile, the CBO also estimates that the health law will cause the federal budget deficit to fall to $514 billion this year, down from last year’s $680 billion. This would be the lowest since Obama first took office.

This little bit of good news was lost, too, in the attempt by anti-Obama forces to seize the day’s scare headline.

But thankfully, we got another day to set the record straight.

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