President Obama has given us the Worst Economic Recovery since the Great Depression

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 10th, 2013

Week in Review

The president’s economic policies have done nothing to improve the economy.  The labor participation rate continues to fall.  As more people give up finding a job.  Because there are none to be found.  And it makes one wonder.  Why?  Why are things so bad in the economy?  The last 4 years have been the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression.  And what has been the common denominator these past 4 years?  President Obama.  And his anti-business policies (see The Cruel Things President Obama Is Doing To The Labor Market by John Goodman posted 3/7/2013 on Forbes).

President Obama’s proposal to increase the minimum wage and the health insurance employer mandate will combine to destroy job opportunities for young, unskilled workers in cities and towns across the country.

With respect to the new health law, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the cost of the minimum benefit package that everyone will be required to have will be $4,750 for individuals and $12,250 for families. That translates into a minimum health benefit of $2.28 an hour for full time single workers and about $3 an hour for someone working 30 hour a week. For family coverage, the cost is $5.89 an hour for a 40-hour-a week employee and $7.85 an hour for a 30-hour-a-week employee.

These are not small changes. They can double the cost of labor in some cases…

Employers have four ways to reduce this burden: (1) the mandate doesn’t apply to firms with fewer than 50 workers, (2) the mandate doesn’t apply to employees who work fewer than 30 hours, (3) the employer doesn’t have to offer or subsidize family coverage and (4) rather than provide health insurance, the employer can pay a $2,000 per (full-time) worker fine.

There are going to be lots of firms that fail to grow beyond 49 employees. But be warned: If an individual owns, say, two or three fast food franchises, the IRS has signaled that it will treat their combined operations as a single business. Also, in calculating the number of full time workers, the IRS is going to count “full-time equivalents.” That means that two workers, each working 15 hours a week, will count as the equivalent of one full-time (30 hour) worker.

As noted, employers are already reacting to ObamaCare. In fact, there was a huge shift to part-time employment in the fast food industry beginning in January. The reason: ObamaCare will employ a 12 month “look back.” That is, in deciding whether a worker is full-time or part-time next January (when the mandate becomes effective) the government will look at the average weekly hours worked in the previous year…

Bottom line: employment opportunities are being curtailed by the imposition of ObamaCare. Things will be even worse if a 24 percent increase in the cash minimum wage is heaped on top of it.

Economists have traditionally believed that an increase in the minimum wage (as well as mandated benefits) causes unemployment. However, a study by David Card and Alan Krueger found very little employment effect in the fast food industry in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

You wonder if economists ever talk to employers when they do these studies…

If government imposes higher labor costs on this industry, the restaurants will try to make it up by raising their prices. However, if the customers won’t pay the higher price — as may be the case in poorer neighborhoods — the restaurant will have to close.

Moreover, in order for prices to rise in one market there must be a corresponding decline in other markets. For the economy as a whole, employers can’t raise prices on the average with no change in the money supply.

Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of economics knows these policies don’t help business.  They don’t create jobs.  And if they aren’t helping to create jobs is it any wonder we’re in the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression?  Of course not.  And we’re back at that question.  Why?

Well, we have two possible answers.  Because the Obama administration is just incompetent and doesn’t understand economics.  Or they know exactly what they’re doing.  And if they do there would be but one explanation for their anti-business policies.  They are purposely trying to make businesses drop their health insurance as paying the fine is less costly.  Leaving the door open for the federal government to step in.  And be the insurer of last resort.  A backdoor way to national health care.  The Holy Grail of the Left.

So is the Obama administration incompetent?  Or devious?  It is one or the other.  And neither choice bodes well for the country.

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