To Create Jobs, First Do No Harm

The unemployment numbers for November were just released and Wall Street is chearing that only 11,000 Americans lost their jobs. The news media will no doubt be trumpeting the success of President Obama’s job summit. I can just see a gleeful Brian Williams informing America that “only one day after his job summit President Obama has turned the economy around”. The sad truth is that 10% unemployment is nothing to crow about. Even more troubling, is that the president doesn’t understand that his policies are to blame. In the snippet of the summit aired on the Nightly News an unidentified businessman told the president that companies weren’t hiring because of the pending cap and trade and health care legislation. The president nodded and then told this gentleman, who presumably knows a thing or two about creating jobs, that when passed, the legislation will help, not hurt the economy.

For a cool aid free assesment, here’s the Heritage Foundation’s take:

“Executives like Dan DiMicco, CEO of steelmaker Nucor Corp, who told the Wall Street Journal: “Companies large and small are saying, ‘I am not going to do anything until these things — health care, climate legislation — go away or are resolved.’” Or Porta-King CEO Steve Schulte who tells USA Today his company is not investing because “proposals in Congress to tackle climate change and overhaul health care would raise costs.” These businessmen have every right to be worried. As we’ve detailed before, the Senate Health Bill currently being debated in the Senate would be a disaster for the U.S. economy.”

Kills Jobs: All told, the Reid Bill raises taxes by $370.2 billion over the next ten years with many of those taxes starting to be collected this year with unemployment at 10.2% and rising. Worse, the bill includes a job killing employer mandate which taxes companies for hiring people. Specifically, companies with more than 50 employees that do not offer a health plan approved by federal bureaucrats will be forced to pay a $750 per employee job tax.

Hurts Small Businesses: The Reid Bill acknowledges it is terrible public policy for small businesses and tries to address this problem by including a “small business tax credit” to minimize the impact of the job killing employer mandates and regulation-caused increases in private health insurance premiums. But the tax credit only lasts two years and largely excludes small business owners, small businesses with high-average payrolls, and firms with 25 or more workers. Essentially, after all exclusions, the only eligible firms are those firms with 10 or fewer workers as well as those with low-income workers—the least likely to offer coverage even with a significant price reduction.

Hurts Poor: The Reid Bill’s employer mandate is especially punitive on poor families. Firms that hire an employee from a low-income family who qualify for an insurance subsidy are charged a tax penalty of $3,000. So a company could save $3,000 by hiring, say, someone with a working spouse or a teenager with working parents, rather than a single mother with three children. Worse, companies only have to pay $750 an employee instead of $3,000 if one quarter of employees are low-income. This creates a situation where, if a company has a lot of low-income workers, they can actually save money by dropping their health plan and just dumping all their employees into the federal exchange at their own expense.”

President Obama refuses to see that his plans for ever bigger government are not good for the American economy. Even the revelations of Climategate haven’t changed his mind on the need to reduce carbon emissions via painful tax increases. He only sees the green jobs potentially created covering the states of Arizona with solar panels and West Virginia with windmills.

The American economy will eventually recover and begin to actually add jobs instead of just losing them at a slower pace. The fewer shackles the government places on businesses and consumers, the faster the economy will recover and more jobs will be created.