The GOP's 'Job Killer' Problem With Obamacare

The "job killer" moniker has been attached to the Affordable Care Act.

ByABC News
August 7, 2015, 10:19 PM
President Barack Obama looks out as he sits on stage at the Warner Theatre in Washington, June 17, 2015.
President Barack Obama looks out as he sits on stage at the Warner Theatre in Washington, June 17, 2015.
Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo

— -- Job Killer.

Before the first letter of the first draft of the initial version of the Affordable Care Act even made it to the page, Republican leadership decided to hang the nickname “Job Killer” around its metaphorical neck.

And in June 2010, as President Obama signed the unpopular bill into law, the “Job Killer” chants grew louder as the Department of Labor reported a net loss of 125,000 jobs for the month.

The bleeding continued throughout the summer, fueling the rise of the Tea Party and the Democrats’ eventual loss of the House.

And that was the last year the country lost jobs. The recently reported 215,000 jobs created in July was the 58th consecutive month of net jobs gain, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Yet for some irrational reason, the nickname that worked so well in 2010 continues to be used, even in the face of the lowest unemployment rate in eight years. In fact, the “ACA is a job killer” sentiment was said during the Republican debate by governors who would then tout job growth in their own state -- as if they were bucking a trend.

It was like performance art.

Now there certainly is a discussion to be had about the quality and pay of the jobs that were created early in the recovery, particularly those in the service industry. But a stage full of Republicans saying the ACA is responsible for job losses when we haven’t had net job loss nearly five years reeks of cynicism. Even the percentage of Americans who work part time but want full time work -- another criticism of the Obama Administration -- has declined.

And though it is true labor force participation rate is the lowest it’s been in nearly 40 years , it is also true that the country currently has its most job openings in 15 years. A skills gap, not "Obamacare," is said to be behind the disconnect.

In fact Republican governors such as Massachusetts’ Charlie Baker, Tennessee’s Bill Haslam and Wisconsin’s own Scott Walker have all implemented programs to address the issue.

Making the “Job Killer” moniker even more maddening is a recent USA Today study that found “by 2017, an estimated 2.5 million new, middle-skill jobs…are expected to be added to the workforce, accounting for nearly 40% of all job growth” all paying no less than $13 an hour, the publication said.

Job killing at its finest.

Perhaps instead of repeating a tired and dishonest catchphrase, GOP 2016 hopefuls should focus on problems with the law that are supported by reality not wishful thinking: for example the impact the employer mandate is projected to have on small businesses. That’s real -- which is why the Obama Administration has delayed it twice.

Or better yet, the Republican men and woman who want to be the next president should spend more time explaining their plans for an alternative. Considering the current rhetorical sleight of hand have conservatives shifting Obamacare talk from “repeal” to “repeal and replace”, it would have been nice if they had spent some debate time explaining what their replacement plans are.

Keep in mind there is a reason why every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has talked about healthcare reform but nothing happened until President Obama—it’s not easy.

And that, perhaps more than anything else, angers his critics. For with each semblance of success connected to his administration, the harder it is to call him a failure.

Correction: they will still call him a failure.

But just like that “Job Killer” nickname, history will show it isn’t true.

LZ Granderson is an ABC News analyst and special correspondent. Opinions expressed in this column do not reflect the views of ABC News.