With Friday's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) unemployment release for March, the Obama administration declared that the "worst of the storm is over." However, as wishful thinking as that sounds, the reality is that instead of driving us out of the storm, thanks to the newly-passed health care reform legislation, the administration may have just driven America straight into a perma-storm*:
On the one hand, the unemployment rate remained constant at 9.7 percent in March and the share of the workforce taking part-time jobs because they couldn't find full time unemployment rose by a tenth of the percentage point.
For the second straight month, the broadest measure of unemployment rose, this time to 16.9 percent. This measure includes people who have left the labor force because they can't find a job as well as part-time workers who couldn't find a full-time job.
On the other hand, the Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of households shows that 264,000 people got jobs. Yet, the number unemployed also rose by 134,000. So how can you have both more people getting jobs and being unemployed? There is a simple reason for it. Over the last year, a lot of workers got discouraged, stopped looking for a job, and were no longer counted as being in the labor force.
To make matters worse*:
ADP, the giant firm that handles payroll services for private companies, estimates that nonfarm private employment fell by 23,000 in March.
Gallup also released a survey showing that the unemployment rate stood at 10.4 percent, an improvement from 10.6 percent in February. But that was more than offset by the 0.7 percent increase in part-time workers wanting full-time work. According to Gallup, the broad measure of unemployment and underemployment isn't 16.9 percent, but 20.3 percent and rising from 19.8 percent.
As Bill Clinton's former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich opines*: Bottom line: This is no jobs recovery.
And the worst may be yet to come...
March's unemployment numbers have not taken into account the effects that have yet to be felt by the private sector due to America's newly nationalized health care industry.
While it is still too soon to tell what the cost on jobs and the economy will ultimately be, so far it does not look promising. In fact, a mere few weeks into our nation's foray into government-controlled health care our unofficial tally places the immediately-known costs of ObamaCare at $3,347,000,000. But that is not counting any job losses as yet.
You may remember that one of the selling points of ObamaCare was the subsidies that are to be provided to small businesses. However, as Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) notes on his website*:
The law’s credit for small businesses will do little to nothing to help small employers afford insurance. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that only 12% of the nation’s small businesses would qualify for the credit.
- Only firms with fewer than 10 employees will receive the full credit (up to 50% of health coverage expenses)
- For firms with 11-25 employees, the credit is reduced per employee
- Firms with more than 25 employees get no credit
- In addition, only firms who pay their workers $25,000 or less are eligible for the full credit. The credit is reduced as the average wage goes up, stopping at $50,000
- The credit begins in 2010 for existing coverage expenses, but only lasts until 2016
And then there are those employer mandates:
Here’s how this would work in the real world:
- If your business: Has more than 50 full-time employees. Does not offer insurance. Has one or more employees receiving premium subsidies in an Exchange. Penalty = $750 per employee.
- If your business: Has more than 50 full-time employees. Offers insurance. Has one or more employees receiving premium subsidies in an Exchange. Fine = lesser of $3,000 per subsidized employee or $750 per employee.
- If your business: Has more than 50 full-time employees. Offers insurance. Has no employees receiving premium subsidies in an Exchange. No penalty.
- If your business: Has 50 or fewer full-time employees. No penalty.
There are extra penalties up to $600 per employee for firms who have a waiting period before employees are eligible for insurance. To add insult to injury, even if an employer is already providing coverage, they will be subject to the penalty if the government “deems” their plan to be “unaffordable.” In addition, the reconciliation bill passed by the House and being debated in the Senate would increase the $750 per employee penalty to $2,000 per employee.
What does ObamaCare mean in jobs?
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) says the employer mandate alone could cost 1.6 million jobs.
However, according to Congressman McCaul, the overall costs of ObamaCare may be much higher*:
“Five million jobs will be killed as a result of this bill."
“It’s going to hurt small business owners who will have to limit their hiring. This doesn’t create jobs. This is a disincentive for the private sector to hire people.
A case in point:
As the costs of ObamaCare begin to mount and the administration places blame on everyone but themselves, it will be important to continually point out the obvious:
A businessman cannot force you to buy his product; if he makes a mistake, he suffers the consequences; if he fails, he takes the loss. A bureaucrat forces you to obey his decisions, whether you agree with him or not—and the more advanced the stage of a country’s statism, the wider and more discretionary the powers wielded by a bureaucrat. If he makes a mistake, you suffer the consequences; if he fails, he passes the loss on to you, in the form of heavier taxes.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.”Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776
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Storm photo: Ragnar1984
* = Emphasis added.