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Unemployed by ObamaCare

ObamaCare Sink HoleThree new Fed surveys highlight damage to the labor market.

Wall Street Journal Editorial

Most of the political class seems to have decided that ObamaCare is working well enough, the opposition is fading, and the subsidies and regulation are settling in as the latest wing of the entitlement state. This flight from reality can’t last forever, especially as the evidence continues to pile up that the law is harming the labor market.

On Thursday the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported the results of a special business survey on the Affordable Care Act and its influence on employment, compensation and benefits. Liberals claim ObamaCare is of little consequence to jobs, but the Philly Fed went to the source and asked employers qualitative questions about how they are responding in practice. [Read more...]

How to Transition from Obamacare to Real Health Care Reform

 by James C. Capretta and Yuval Levin     •     Weekly Standard

Obamacare-DelayObamacare—or at least the version of it that the president and his advisers currently think they can get away with putting into place—has been upending arrangements and reshuffling the deck in the health system since the beginning of the year. That’s when the new insurance rules, subsidies, and optional state Medicaid expansions went into effect. The law’s defenders say the changes that have been set in motion are irreversible, in large part because several million people are now covered by insurance plans sold through the exchanges, and a few million more are enrolled in Medicaid as a result of Obamacare. President Obama has stated repeatedly that these developments should effectively shut the door on further debate over the matter. [Read more...]

The Myth of ObamaCare’s Affordability

The law’s perverse incentives will have the nation working fewer hours, and working those hours less productively.

By Casey B. Mulligan     •     Wall Street Journal

obamacare costsWhether the Affordable Care Act lives up to its name depends on how, or whether, you consider its consequences for the wider economy.

Millions of people pay a significant portion of their income for health insurance so they and their families can get good health care when they need it. The magnitude of their sacrifices demonstrates the importance that people ascribe to health care.

The Affordable Care Act attempts to help low- and middle-income families avoid some of the tough sacrifices that would be necessary to purchase health insurance without assistance. But no program can change the fundamental reality that society itself has to make sacrifices in order to deliver health care to more people. [Read more...]

America’s New Class System

“Clerisy” class does the bidding of tech oligarchs to detriment of the middle class.

by Glenn Harlan Reynolds     •     USAToday

Obama-Class-WarfareWe’ve heard a lot of election-year class warfare talk, from makers vs. takers to the 1% vs. the 99%. But Joel Kotkin’s important new book, The New Class Conflict, suggests that America’s real class problems are deeper, and more damaging, than election rhetoric.

Traditionally, America has been thought of as a place of great mobility — one where anyone can conceivably grow up to be president, regardless of background. This has never been entirely true, of course. Most of our presidents have come from reasonably well-off backgrounds, and even Barack Obama, a barrier-breaker in some ways, came from an affluent background and enjoyed an expensive private-school upbringing. But the problem Kotkin describes goes beyond shots at the White House. [Read more...]

Obama Attacks For-Profit Colleges For Teacher Unions

by Kerri Toloczko     •      Investor’s Business Daily

EducationIn a fit of political pique and campaign considerations, President Obama’s Department of Education is proposing higher education regulations that would deny access to degree programs to nontraditional, low-income and minority students attending for-profit colleges and universities during a time of job scarcity.

The administration has been swinging a sword at this sector since Obama took office, striking through “Gainful Employment” regulations restricting federal student loans based on arbitrary post-graduation employment rates only at private-sector institutions. In 2010, the department proposed similar severe funding restrictions for students attending career colleges and technical schools such as Strayer University, ITT Tech, Kaplan College and University of Phoenix. [Read more...]

A Recovery Stymied by Redistribution

Public policy intended to make layoffs less painful actually made layoffs cheaper and more common.

unemploymentby Casey B. Mulligan

Why has the labor market contracted so much and why does it remain depressed? Major subsidies and regulations intended to help the poor and unemployed were changed in more than a dozen ways—and although these policies were advertised as employment-expanding, the fact is that they reduced incentives for people to work and for businesses to hire.

You probably heard about the emergency-assistance program for the long-term unemployed that ended only a few months ago after running for almost six years. But there is also the food-stamp program. It got a new name and replaced the stamps with debit cards. Participants are no longer required to seek work and are not asked to demonstrate that they have no wealth. Essentially, any unmarried person can get food stamps while out of work and can stay on the program indefinitely. [Read more...]

The Tale of Two Recoveries


by Michael Hausam

How often have you heard a Democrat prattle on and on about how well Barack Obama has done with the economy, given the mess he inherited? Usually, it’s some version of, “Things are getting better, but the economy the President started with was so awful, so he’s done as well as anyone could expect.”

When Ronald Reagan took over from Jimmy Carter in ’81, things were actually worse economically compared to when Obama took over from George W. Bush in ’08. [Read more...]

Obama signals he’s given up on the economy

obamanomicsby Glenn Harlan Reynolds

Last week, President Obama gave a much-touted speech on “income inequality.” But while inequality is a valid concern, it’s not so clear that unequal incomes are the biggest problem America faces.

More troubling — as figures as distinct as Slate’s Matthew Yglesias and National Review’s Mark Steyn both noted — is the growing divide between an America where people have jobs, and an America where people live off of government benefits.

As Yglesias observed:

The Washington, D.C., metropolitan area has become an island of prosperity in an ailing country. But D.C. itself has an 8.9% unemployment rate even as it sits at the center of a metro-area unemployment rate of just 5.4%. For people who haven’t gone to college — the kind of people who live in the neighborhood where Obama was speaking — the unemployment rate is 20%. That’s a disaster. And while Obama talked about plenty of things that could help those unemployed families — subsidized health care, better schools for their kids — he didn’t really talk about anything that would get them jobs. The biggest applause line of the speech was about raising the minimum wage, which is great, but also doesn’t help you very much if your current wage is $0. [Read more...]

The Weak Recovery Explains Rising Inequality, Not Vice Versa

button obama tax planObama blames tax cuts that began under Reagan for today’s slow growth. The data don’t back him up.

By John B. Taylor

Last year at this time a debate raged about whether economic growth and job creation has been abnormally slow compared with previous recoveries from recessions in the United States. Now that the growth rate has declined to 1.6% over the past year from 2.8%, the debate is no longer about whether. It’s about why.

The poor economic policies of the past few years is a reasonable explanation for today’s weak economy. Fiscal policy has at best provided temporary stimulus before fading away with no sustainable impact on growth. More costly and confusing regulations—including the many mandates in the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank Act—have reduced the willingness of firms to invest and hire. The Federal Reserve has employed a variety of unconventional and unpredictable monetary policies with not very successful results. [Read more...]

Obamanomics in decline

obamanomicsFalling income and employment is becoming the new normal

Fewer Americans will be returning to the work force after the traditional Labor Day holiday. Labor force participation is at the lowest point since the malaise of the Carter presidency. President Obama’s economicpolicies have guaranteed a lower standard of living for Americans.

A recent report by Gordon Green and John Coder of Sentier Research paints the disturbing picture. On the whole, we’re less well off than we were 13 years ago. Our median income, currently $52,000, is 7 percent lower than it was in 2000, using constant dollars. It’s an especially tough punch in the gut to our youth, who’ve seen nearly 10 percent of their income evaporate. Nearly every other demographic category — married or single, man or woman — has been hit. [Read more...]

The truth about falling wages

2852.EconomicRecessionThe left and “progressives” love to blame wage stagnation on greedy businesses wanting to gobble a larger share of the pie. But it’s actually a product of businesses’ uncertainty about taxes, regulations and employee-benefit costs — which the Obama administration has exacerbated.

Merrill Matthews, resident scholar at the nonpartisan, free-market Institute for Policy Innovation, notes that fresh U.S. Labor Department data show nongovernment, nonsupervisory workers’ average hourly wages, adjusted for inflation, have fallen 0.9 percent since the recession ended in June 2009 — “since, well, President Obama’s economic policies were put in place.” [Read more...]

Yet another magical economy tour went about as well as you’d expect

Weak Economyby Ed Morrissey

Three weeks ago, Barack Obama launched a cross-country speaking tour to boost his economic policies, a campaign that included an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The President hoped to build momentum for the fall session and the upcoming budget fight by going over the heads of Congress during their summer recess. Instead, Gallup finds that Obama’s approval ratings on the economy — and practically everything else — sinks the more he campaigns:

Despite President Barack Obama’s renewed focus on the nation’s economy this summer, crisscrossing the country to talk about job creation, he scores worse with Americans on the economy than he did in June. His approval rating on the issue, now 35%, is down seven percentage points, and his ratings on taxes and the federal budget deficit are each down five points. During the same period, his overall approval rating is down three points. [Read more...]

Obama’s Economic Failure

Sluggish Economyby Larry Elder

How’s the left-wing, ivory-tower, we-know-best elitist Obamanomics working for you? Here’s the news.

First-quarter gross domestic product numbers for 2013 were recently revised — downward from 1.8 percent to 1.1 percent. For perspective, four years into the recovery from the last deep recession in ’81-’82, the economy grew at 4.1 percent.

What about the declining “labor force participation rate”?

This counts the percentage of civilians 16 years and older working or actively looking for work. When President Barack Obama took office, the labor force participation rate was 65.7. Today it is 63.4, up 0.1 from April’s 34-year low. Frustrated, many able-bodied and able-minded would-be workers have simply given up looking for jobs. [Read more...]

Data of Prosperity Past

2852.EconomicRecessionThe latest GDP revisions underscore how subpar the current recovery is.

The good news is that the Commerce Department’s second-quarter GDP report shows that the U.S. is richer and the economy larger than previously believed. The bad news is that this has nothing to do with anything that has happened lately, and certainly not in the last nine months. The current not-so-great economic recovery trudges on.

* * *

This past week’s second quarter report is especially interesting because it includes economic revisions based on new assumptions that re-measure the size of the U.S. economy going back to 1929. The Bureau of Economic Analysis does this every five years or so, and the crucial change this time is the recognition of intellectual property. [Read more...]

Middle class left behind by Obamanomics

Empty-Pocketsby Timothy P. Carney

“Even though our businesses are creating new jobs and have broken record profits,” President Obama said in his economics address last week, “nearly all the income gains of the past 10 years have continued to flow to the top 1 percent.”

It’s odd that Obama touts these facts, because the facts indict his policies. This is even stranger: Many Republicans want to downplay these facts, even though they provide the GOP with an opening.

Obama’s first term, with all its tax hikes, regulations, mandates, subsidies and bailouts, saw stock markets rise, corporate earnings break records and the rich get richer, while median income stagnated and unemployment remained stubbornly high. [Read more...]