UPDATE: Upon further review, Land’s Obamacare ad a foul

How we make the call

Truth Squad assigns five ratings to the political statements we review, in descending levels of accuracy:

No factual inaccuracies in the statement and no important information is missing
Mostly accurate
While the statement is largely accurate, it omits or exaggerates facts, or needs some clarification
Half accurate
Truths are interspersed with mistruths, or the speaker left out significant facts that render his/her remarks misleading in important respects
Mostly inaccurate
The major point or points made are untrue or misleading, even while some aspects of the claim may be accurate
The statement is false, or based on false underlying facts
Who:Terri Lynn Land for Senate
What:"War on Michigan," 30-second ad
The call:Foul

Last week, Truth Squad ruled no foul on an ad by Terri Lynn Land for Senate. Upon further review, we have changed our call to “foul,” based on the ad’s inaccurate claim of fewer jobs. See revised Truth Squad analysis below.

Relevant text of the ad:

“Because of Obamacare, full-time jobs are becoming part-time jobs. Because of Washington’s big bureaucracy, red tape regulation, we have fewer jobs. I'll downsize big government, cut the red tape so Michiganders can create, invest, hire and grow again. We can expand opportunities for everyone here in Michigan. Let's stop the games and get things done.”

Ad wars rage on in the high-spending, high-profile race for U.S. Senate between former GOP Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land and Democratic U.S. Rep. Gary Peters. The race is among several that national analysts believe could determine control of the U.S. Senate in 2014. With spending approaching $10 million, some analysts believe it could hit $50 million by election day. In this 30-second TV ad, Land speaks directly to the camera and says the Affordable Care Act and big government amount to economic war on Michigan.

Statements under review:

“Because of Obamacare, full-time jobs are becoming part-time jobs.”

The Land campaign cites news articles detailing decisions by employers to reduce full-time positions to avoid mandates under the Affordable Care Act that employers offer health insurance to employees working more than 30 hours a week. It also cites a 2014 report by Investors Business Daily, citing Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed that work week hours in low-wage sectors hit a record low in July 2013. That was before the Obama administration announced it would delay until 2015 enforcement of the requirement that employers with more than 100 full-time workers provide health insurance. Employers with 50 to 100 workers are required to do so in 2016.

Analysis in February by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office concluded “there is no compelling evidence that part-time employment has increased as a result of the ACA.” But the same report calculated there would be 2.3 million fewer workers by 2021 because of the health reform measure, mostly due to workers voluntarily leaving the work force.

“Because of Washington’s big bureaucracy, red tape regulation, we have fewer jobs. I'll downsize big government, cut the red tape so Michiganders can create, invest, hire and grow again."

The Land campaign cited analysis by the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation that “regulatory burdens” on Americans increased by nearly $70 billion during President Barack Obama's first term. It also cited a column by the CEO of the libertarian Cato Institute that asserts that excessive regulation costs the U.S. Economy $1.75 trillion a year.

Of course, progressives would argue that appropriate regulation is needed to ensure everything from a sound banking system to transportation and food safety and clean air and water. A federal commission in 2011 concluded the financial crisis of 2008 and subsequent economic meltdown were caused in part by significant failure in federal oversight. It cost an estimated $22 trillion in economic losses, according to the federal analysis.

But it is not true that “we” have fewer jobs, nationally or in Michigan. Federal data show U.S. employment is up by more than 4 million since Obama took office. Similar data show that Michigan gained nearly 220,000 jobs since Gov. Rick Snyder took office.

The call:Foul

Despite anecdotal reports of employers cutting back full-time workers because of the Affordable Care Act, nonpartisan analysis finds little evidence for that. That said, the ad does not specifically claim a measurable change from full- to part-time jobs from Obamacare, only that the act has caused this to happen. The phrasing offers leeway for anecdotal examples.

Long term, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the equivalent of 2.3 million workers will elect to leave jobs by 2021 because of the act. Many will presumably do so because they can afford to buy health insurance due to subsidies offered to low-income workers. The Land campaign cites assertions from conservative sources of the cost of excessive regulation. It does not cite which aspect of “big government” or which “red tape” Land would cut.

More disturbingly, the ad incorrectly states that “we” have fewer jobs, though it’s not clear if Land is referencing Michigan or the U.S. No matter. However sluggishly, more jobs have been added nationally and in Michigan in recent years. Truth Squad initially glossed over the ad’s claim of fewer jobs, assuming it was tied to her attack on Obamacare. Upon further review, the claim of fewer jobs is made flatly, without regard to the healthcare law, and must stand on its own merit. It does not.

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

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Tue, 05/20/2014 - 9:48am
Of more concern, is how Obamacare is causing doctors to retire if they are near retirement age, or to give up their small private practices and go into a large hospital sponsored practice. And all the additional people now on health insurance will require more doctors which are where?? Obamacare dictates that each doctors office enact electronic medical records. For a small single doctor office, that is cost prohibitive. The large hospital sponsored practices are generally user unfriendly. So where will all this go? Don't know yet. We'll have to "enact the legislation to see what's in it". Great way to run a ship.
Tue, 05/20/2014 - 3:57pm
One thing that is never discussed in speaking with those critical of the ACA is what about all the people now covered that weren't before. Worries about available Doctors to cover all the new people being seen since they now have coverage? Thank God they can now be seen. I know of two people that died due to lack of insurance. One of pneumonia, who left an eight year old son behind, and one of diabetes. She was also fairly young. This was a disgrace in our country. As one who spent decades in the medical and also the financial field, records would soon be electronic anyway. Handwritten notes are so often undecipherable and harder to forward and share with other medical personnel.
Mrs A
Wed, 05/21/2014 - 8:57pm
Like most ads, this one is hyperbole with cherry-picked facts, out of context, woven together to advantage one side, and as tiresome as folks who restate opinion instead of fact. (Electronic medical records are not cost-prohibitive, certainly not over the long run, and are key to enabling coordinated care. Hospital-sponsored practices are "generally user-unfriendly"--says who? In my experience they are more efficient and quicker to get an appointment with, plus have the advantage of diverse specialists under one umbrella.) Ads like Land's are eminently mutable, skip-able if have a DVR, and ignored by everyone in my ken. They merely generate revenue for the TV stations that run them.
Thu, 05/22/2014 - 1:38pm
She is correct in this ad. The Affordable Care Act is putting people out of work... the people who call you hounding you for medical bill payments and people involved in setting up foreclosures due to unpaid medical bills.
Sun, 05/25/2014 - 8:04am
The ad is totally correct as long as we can ignore the facts. What do they matter anyway? The ACA has also caused more whale beachings.
Sun, 05/25/2014 - 9:34am
To Rich...Older doctors are often using Dragon software to verbally translate what is said into the patient's records digitally, or hiring scribes to do it for them in the office setting. I know of two doctors in the mid to late 70's who are doing this. The ones who are choosing to retire are most likely just ready to do so, and Obamacare has just pushed them to do so. There are ways that are not excessively expensive to work around the required digitalization of records. For the patient, this requirement has become a real plus, because all the records for specialists and general care are all available to the attending physicians. It is great for the patient who no longer has to take paper copies of records to each physician seen. This is especially good for the patient who is on several medications each day and has no idea how they may interact.
Jack McHugh
Tue, 05/27/2014 - 11:56am
This is a classic example of what the Wall Street Journal's James Taranto has been saying for a few years about the journalistic "fact check" fad. Taranto: 'Like movie reviewing, the "fact check" is a highly subjective process. If a politician makes a statement that is flatly false, it does not need to be "fact checked." The facts themselves are sufficient. "Fact checks" end up dealing in murkier areas of context and emphasis, making it very easy for the journalist to make up standards as he goes along, applying them more rigorously to the candidate he disfavors (which usually means the Republican).' http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB122339946870411861 ~~~~~~~~~~ So, consider the assertion made here by these "fact checkers": 'But it is not true that “we” have fewer jobs, nationally or in Michigan. Federal data show U.S. employment is up by more than 4 million since Obama took office.' The journalists who wrote that know perfectly well they could easily produce an article showing there REALLY ARE fewer jobs compared to the employment peak before the 2008 crash, or to how many jobs would exist if the current "recovery" came close to the job creation record of past expansions, etc. They could point out that the number of jobs created since Obama's first inauguration has not kept up with the population growth, and that workforce participation is lower now than since the1970s stagflation era. Instead, as Taranto would predict, they picked one highly politicized, absolutely context-free comparison: the number of jobs created since Obama's inauguration. Three "pinocchios" to this so-called "fact check," for painting a false picture.
Tue, 05/27/2014 - 5:07pm
Hey Jack. I'm interested in seeing the article that can "easily" show job growth is lower. I'm sure with the the ease that it can be found you can help me with a source that falls under the stame time frame and parameters as the "fact checkers". I couldn't find it.