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Posts Tagged ‘Jobs’
April 4th, 2014 at 12:01 pm
Latest Jobs Report Confirms Desperate Need for U.S. Corporate Tax Reform
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

April 1 marked an important milestone in America.  Not because it was April Fools’ Day, but because it marked the second anniversary of the United States claiming the inglorious title of the developed world’s highest corporate tax rate.

The U.S. hasn’t achieved comprehensive tax reform since 1986.  Ronald Reagan was early in his second term as President, Michael Jordan was still five years away from his first NBA title and Pixar animation studios first opened.  Over the ensuing three decades, however, our international trading partners and competitors have accomplished reform, particularly in their corporate tax codes.  As a result, America’s 39% rate unfortunately stands as the world’s highest.

Americans can rightfully claim, “We’re number one” in many areas, but it’s simply unacceptable that the highest corporate tax rate remains one of them.  It constitutes a continuing drag on business growth, job creation and wage increases.  And as yet another disappointing jobs report today confirms, we cannot afford to maintain the status quo.  Numerous studies show that a lower corporate tax rate creates jobs and economic growth, so we must shift our current strategy away from government bailouts, welfare and unemployment checks, and more toward restructuring the tax code and empowering the private sector to hire.  Our world becomes increasingly interconnected each day, and we simply cannot cede competitiveness to other nations whose tax codes are far more appealing to new businesses.  The U.S. spent the 20th century building an economy that was the strongest and most powerful in the world, but lack of action on tax reform jeopardizes that global standing.

Moreover, this isn’t a partisan issue.  Republicans and Democrats, including Barack Obama himself, agree that it has been too long since we have undertaken comprehensive tax reform.  Accordingly, there’s no excuse for further delay.

Let’s not let another three decades pass us by without corporate tax reform.  Let’s instead achieve a code that actually encourages businesses to grow and hire workers.

March 25th, 2014 at 2:00 pm
Obama’s New Overtime Rules Will Shrink Hours, Pay

The road to underemployment is paved with (so-called) good intentions.

In case you missed it, the Obama Labor Department is trying to raise the compensation threshold so that managers making at least $50,000 annually will qualify for overtime pay. The current threshold is $24,000.

To the liberal mind this policy change can only benefit workers by putting more money into their pockets. But to actual business owners like Andy Puzder, the real world consequences will mean less money and less work for the very people the Obama administration is trying to help.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Puzder – the CEO of several quick service restaurant chains like Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s – notes that current managers are eligible for performance bonuses of up to 28 percent of their salary. But if the new overtime rules go into effect, many of these will lose their managerial status and go back to hourly employment. Along with being demoted, they will very likely be assigned less hours to work to avoid triggering more expensive overtime pay. And for those that do qualify, their raise will translate into less money for the store’s operating budget, meaning less hours for someone else.

In a very tangible way, the Obama Labor Department’s new overtime rule seems destined to exacerbate the underemployment crisis in the American economy. How is is that the people proposing this can be so short-sighted?

March 14th, 2014 at 1:34 pm
Could Obama Neuter Putin by Increasing Natural Gas Exports?

That is the interesting idea being floated by commentators looking for ways to halt Russia’s military adventurism in Ukraine.

If direct military intervention is off the table – and at this point it’s hard to imagine the Obama administration going that route – then exporting America’s vast new reservoir of liquefied natural gas to Europe could be a way to deter Russian aggression in the region while at the same time strengthening our allies.

Gazprom, a huge state-controlled gas provider in Russia, supplies much of Europe. Hesitancy on the part of some European governments to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is tied to Russia’s use of Gazprom to raise prices or restrict access when confronted with political situations it does not like. Increasing United States exports of its natural gas stock to Europe would diminish this threat substantially, allowing America’s European allies to take a more assertive stance against further Russian force.

In order to wean Europe off of Russian gas, President Barack Obama “should order the Energy Department to expedite authorization for roughly 25 liquefied natural gas export facilities. Demand all decisions within six weeks. And express major U.S. support for a southern-route pipeline to export Caspian Sea gas to Europe without traversing Russia or Ukraine,” writes Charles Krauthammer.

This solution puts an abundant natural resource to work for America’s national security interests, and also increases the number of domestic production and manufacturing jobs. The only hitch is that it requires President Obama to commit his administration to an energy policy opposed by liberal environmentalists. That alone probably dooms an otherwise win-win alternative to direct military intervention or sitting pat while Russia reconstitutes the Soviet Union. If so, it’s more confirmation that current Oval Office decisions are based more on pleasing special interest groups than helping domestic workers or our foreign allies.

March 3rd, 2014 at 1:42 pm
ObamaCare’s War on Work

Up to 38% of people who qualify for Obamacare exchange subsidies may have to pay some or all of the money back to the IRS. That’s because the amount of subsidy dispensed is based on a sliding scale. As income rises, the amount of subsidy decreases. In practice, many people who currently qualify for a subsidy could wind up paying back the amount if they earn just a little bit more in income.

“At biggest risk are people who annual household income put them near the thresholds where the Obamacare subsidies make steep declines,” explains AEI expert Scott Gottlieb. “These cliffs are steepest for those people who earn 150% of the federal poverty level (family of four earning $35,000 in annual household income); 250% (a family of four earning about $55,000 annually); and 400% (a family of four earning about $95,000 annually).”

The upshot of this is that people may become much more sensitive to family budgeting since their financial stability depends on which side of the subsidy wall they fall. The downside of course is that we’re likely to start seeing people decline job promotions and salary hikes to avoid becoming a net loser at tax time.

As I’ve noted before, Obamacare’s War on Work is just beginning.

February 21st, 2014 at 5:24 pm
Contra Sebelius, ObamaCare Already Killed at Least 33,000 Jobs

“There is absolutely no evidence – and every economist will tell you this – that there is any job loss related to the Affordable Care Act [i.e. Obamacare],” Kathleen Sebelius said earlier this week.

The Health and Human Services Secretary was responding in part to a report by the Congressional Budget Office estimating that President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy will result in 2.5 million job losses by 2024.

The only explanation that renders Sebelius’ statement (barely) plausible is her phrasing in the present tense: “no evidence… that there is any job loss related to” Obamacare. Sebelius is talking about the present, while the economists at the CBO are projecting into the future.

But even this generous reading won’t survive the fact that Obamacare has already killed 33,000 jobs in the medical device industry, according to the Advanced Medical Technology Association.

Thanks to a 2.3 percent excise tax on each medical device sold since January 2013, industry members report shedding 14,000 jobs, with an additional 19,000 openings left vacant.

The biggest losers were research and development branches, and manufacturing. Regarding the latter, 10 percent of companies surveyed said they moved their plants overseas.

These numbers show just how democratic is Obamacare’s impact on jobs. R&D positions are some of the highest paid in a firm, while manufacturing jobs can range from low- to middle-income.

On the bright side, to date the medical device tax has netted the federal government a cool $3.8 billion, so at least Secretary Sebelius has some extra money to funnel through Medicaid and Obamacare exchange subsidies.

Somehow though, decreasing the number of jobs and increasing the amount of tax revenue doesn’t seem like a long-term formula for success.

Maybe an economist should tell Madame Secretary.

February 7th, 2014 at 12:00 pm
ObamaCare Death Panel
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

January 24th, 2014 at 3:18 pm
NY’s Schumer Calls on Dems to Defend Government

Talk about a New York state of mind.

In the run-up to the 2014 election, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) “charts an agenda for Congress that includes extending unemployment benefits, raising the minimum wage, making college more affordable and investing in infrastructure,” according to the L.A. Times.

“Times are now ripe for a renewed and robust defense of government,” Schumer said in a speech to the liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund. And he clearly doesn’t fear any potential downside. “The best way to deal with the tea party’s obsessive anti-government mania is to confront it directly, by showing the people the need for government to help them out of their morass.”

Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. The real maniacs in Washington, D.C. are liberals like Schumer who think Americans are eager to be told how government will meddle even more in the economy. Raising the minimum wage in an anemic employment market is a sure way to increase joblessness. But maybe that’s the point. The result is more people directly dependent on government outlays for their daily needs.

And then there is the inflationary effect of government spending on the price of college tuition, as well as the fact that ‘infrastructure investment’ is really code for pork barrel projects channeled to public employee unions.

Schumer’s call for a full-throated defense of government may get cheers in the liberal salons of the NYC-DC corridor, but echoing it would bring swift electoral defeat for his colleagues in more conservative states.

January 10th, 2014 at 9:57 am
The Obama Malaise Continues: Shockingly Dismal New Jobs Report
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Nearly half a decade has passed since the last recession ended in June 2009.  Unfortunately, this morning’s monthly jobs report from the Labor Department sent another alarming signal that the worst recovery in recorded U.S. history continues.  That is directly attributable to the destructive economic policies of the Obama Administration, and changes must be made, lest we stall into an entirely new recession.

According to the Labor Department, the economy added a shockingly low 74,000 jobs in December.  That is the lowest total in three years, and it fell 126,000 jobs short of the consensus expectation of 200,000 or more (which was economists’ highest predicted number in several months).  Nobody foresaw that tiny job creation number.  Even more alarming, the labor participation rate (meaning the percentage of all Americans actually choosing to participate in the workforce) fell again to 62.8%, the lowest number since 1978.  That is significant because that was before women had more fully entered the workforce.

The Obama Administration and its apologists may attempt to cite the decline in the overall unemployment rate to 6.7%, but that is not the result of an improving economy or labor market, but rather because some 374,000 additional Americans simply dropped out of the workforce and stopped searching for jobs.  Moreover, the Administration assured us back in January 2009 that the rate would be down to its pre-recession level of 5% by now under its wasteful trillion-dollar “stimulus.”

This sharp slowdown is simply the latest evidence that we haven’t “turned the corner” as Obama has been telling us since as far back as 2010.  Rather, we’re going in circles.  Until we return to the policies of lower taxes, less regulation and smaller government that create jobs and economic growth, that will continue.  The numbers prove that beyond any rational doubt at this point.  The answer isn’t more unemployment checks, but putting America back to work.

September 24th, 2013 at 6:35 pm
ObamaCare’s Employer Mandate Delay is Purely Political

Sarah Kliff, a liberal health policy blogger at Wonkblog, explains why the Obama administration won’t delay the individual mandate like it has other elements of ObamaCare.

“…all the delays so have one thing in common: They erased political headaches for the law while barely denting the number of people that the health overhaul will cover in 2014,” writes Kilff. “The delays Republicans are asking for now would cause major political and substantive headaches for the law while sharply reducing the number of people it covers.”

The political headaches Kliff alluded to include vociferous opposition by businesses to the employer mandate. That’s because, once implemented, the employer mandate – the requirement to provide government-approved health insurance on any firm employing 50 or more full-time workers or pay a fine – will very likely result in shedding jobs to avoid compliance costs.

“This predictable employer response is a very good reason to want to postpone the mandate until after the midterm,” wrote Walter Russell Mead said when the employer mandate delay was announced this summer. “Nobody wants to run as an ally of the job-killing President whose policies led your voters’ employers to dump their health insurance.”

It’s both refreshing and appalling to see an ObamaCare cheerleader like Kliff admit that the only kind of acceptable delays are the ones that politically advantage the Obama administration.

No wonder opponents see the only real solution to ObamaCare’s metastasizing problems as repealing and starting over.

August 20th, 2013 at 10:40 am
Fact of the Day: Unemployment Rose in Most States Last Month
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In this fifth year of the worst economic recovery in our recorded history under Obama, the situation just isn’t improving like it should, or like it has in every previous recovery.  The latest manifestation of that fact came yesterday, when the Department of Labor announced that the unemployment rate rose in 28 states plus the District of Columbia last month, and only fell in 8 states.

As we noted earlier this month, 240,000 people dropped out of the labor force last month while only 160,000 jobs were created.  Moreover, today there are 2 million fewer Americans working than in 2008, even though our overall population has increased by 13 million during that period.  The last recession ended over four years ago in June 2009, which is more than enough time to conclusively demonstrate the failure of the Obama-Reid-Pelosi economic agenda of higher taxes, more regulation, wasteful spending and record deficits.

August 2nd, 2013 at 9:35 am
Labor Department: Another Disturbing Jobs Report for July
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In my column this week, I detail how U.S. economic growth has hit stalling speed.  Today’s jobs report from the Labor Department demonstrates that the same is true of the nation’s employment situation in the fifth year of Obama’s economic program.

Only 162,000 jobs were added in July, which was significantly below analysts’ expectation of 190,000.   Even worse, and putting that number in context, 240,000 people dropped out of the workforce last month, while the labor participation rate fell again to 63.4%.  That dropoff explains why the headline unemployment rate declined a bit to 7.4%, which is the number the Obama Administration and sympathetic media will highlight.  But that number only counts people who are actually looking for a job, so those hundreds of thousands who continue to drop out make the surface unemployment rate look better than it actually is.  Moreover, keep in mind that Obama promised at the outset of his administration in February 2009 that his economic policies and trillion-dollar spending “stimulus” would have the unemployment rate down to 5% by now.

The number of part-time workers also amounted to 174,000, showing once again that the approaching ObamaCare mandates are forcing employers to make those they do decide to hire part-time.  All in all, yet another lackluster Obama era jobs report.

July 9th, 2013 at 9:47 am
Ramirez Cartoon: On the Jobs Report
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

July 2nd, 2013 at 10:42 am
Which One Actually Produces Energy and Jobs?
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

June 13th, 2013 at 7:01 pm
Pro-Texas Ad Campaign in Anti-Business Blue States

Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry is once again visiting Democratic strongholds in an attempt to lure businesses to relocate to the Lone Star State.

Perry is set to meet with business groups in New York and Connecticut, reports National Public Radio. Previously, Perry extolled his state’s low-tax, light-regulation approach in California and Illinois.

But Perry’s initiative is more than just a series of speeches and photo-ops. His moves are coordinated with the work of TexasOne, a coalition of chambers of commerce and corporations funding a $1 million advertising campaign in the targeted states.

YouTube ads like “Texas is Calling” tout the state’s nine consecutive years ranked #1 for business, hosting the world’s largest medical center and welcoming 1,400 new residents a day.

With states like California, Illinois, New York and Connecticut ranking near the bottom in business-friendly taxes and regulations, it’s no wonder Perry sees an opportunity to let wealth creators in those states know there is an alternative.

June 7th, 2013 at 3:04 pm
Another Lackluster Jobs Report
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In this week’s Liberty Update, we mark the fourth anniversary of the end of the last recession in June 2009, noting that the subsequent years have been the most dismal recovery since we began keeping records after World War II.  Today’s unemployment report only served to confirm that reality, as unemployment rose to 7.6% and we only added 175,000 net jobs, which is just treading water.

In an excellent commentary entitled “These Are the Most Important Numbers from the Latest Jobs Report,” American Enterprise Institute’s Michael Strain brilliantly captures the lackluster nature of today’s release.  Setting aside the headline 7.6% and 175,000 numbers, he says, “I encourage you to pay attention to three other numbers which, to my mind, are much more important than 7.6 and 175,000.  They are 2.4, 4.4., and 0.4.”

“We still have 2.4 million fewer jobs than when the recession officially began 66 months ago. Relative to previous downturns, this performance is quite bad.

We still have 4.4 million workers who have been unemployed for six months or longer. This is a very large number. Outside this downturn, the previous post-war record was under 3 million, back in the 1980s. Over 37% of the total unemployed are long-term unemployed. The previous post-war record, also back in the 1980s, was a comparatively low 26%.

When the Great Recession began in December 2007, 62.7% of the working-age population was employed; today it is a staggeringly lower 58.6%. The share of the working-age population with jobs has increased by only 0.4 percentage points since its low point in the official recovery. Though it doesn’t get much attention, many labor economists prefer the employment-to-population ratio as the best measure of the broad health of the labor market. That this measure has improved so little indicates that the economy is creating just a few more jobs than are needed to keep up with population growth. But this is not enough. We need to create enough jobs to handle the growth of the working-age population and to recover the jobs lost in the Great Recession. To put it simply, we are not succeeding.”

So more of the same.  The Obama Administration and its dwindling number of defenders will attempt to characterize today’s numbers in a positive light, but that’s simply not accurate.  A broad economic policy change toward the free-market principles that we know work is necessary, the sooner the better.

April 16th, 2013 at 1:46 pm
Legalization Bad for Low-Income Native Workers?

Now that the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill has been slowed down a bit, it’s worth pausing for a moment to consider what economic trade-offs might occur if millions of illegal immigrants become eligible to enter the job market. Since many of these newly eligible workers are low-skilled, they’ll be competing with low-skilled, low-wage native workers in an economy with 7.6 percent unemployment.

Members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights are taking notice, says Byron York:

Last week, three members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights wrote to Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, arguing that legalizing currently illegal immigrants will have far-reaching effects on African-Americans.

“Such grant of legal status will likely disproportionately harm lower-skilled African-Americans by making it more difficult for them to obtain employment and depressing their wages when they do obtain employment,” the commissioners wrote. “The increased employment difficulties will likely have negative consequences that extend far beyond economics.” Among those consequences, according to the commissioners: increased crime, incarceration, family breakdown, and more.

A recent review of the academic literature by Harvard economist George Borjas confirms the negative impact mass legalization will have on low-skilled native wages:

For American workers, immigration is primarily a redistributive policy. Economic theory predicts that immigration will redistribute income by lowering the wages of competing American workers and increasing the wages of complementary American workers as well as profits for business owners and other “users” of immigrant labor. Although the overall net impact on the native-born is small, the loss or gain for particular groups of the population can be substantial.

The best empirical research that tries to examine what has actually happened in the U.S. labor market aligns well with economy theory: An increase in the number of workers leads to lower wages.

If you increase the supply of something, you lower its value. If they want a way to frame opposition in positive terms, expect to see Republican opponents of the Gang of Eight’s reform bill to become the champions of the forgotten working class.

April 15th, 2013 at 12:54 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: Another Diversion
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez. 

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

April 12th, 2013 at 11:52 am
The Obama-Bloomberg Axis

Matthew Continetti of the Washington Free Beacon has a must-read opinion piece today explaining why President Barack Obama’s policy agenda ignores the economic and employment concerns of millions of Americans to focus on much less salient issues like gun control and amnesty.

In short, to understand Obama’s refusal to concentrate like a laser beam on improving the nation’s economic outlook, one has to remember that the President cares more about wealthy liberal pet projects from the likes of New York’s billionaire mayor Mike Bloomberg than about anyone on Main Street.

The Bloomberg style has several distinctive features. The first is a complete indifference to or dismissal of middle class concerns. In this view, it matters less that the middle class is enjoying full employment or economic independence or a modicum of social mobility or even action on issues it finds important, and more that it has access to government benefits generous enough to shut it up.

Recall that in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy Bloomberg was far more interested in seeing the Yuppie-filled New York City Marathon take place, and in linking the storm to apocalyptic climate change, than in mobilizing the combined forces of municipal and state and federal government to take care of the white working class on Staten Island and in the Rockaways. Similarly, Barack Obama has nothing new to say on the economy or deficit, but delivers speech after speech on gun regulations that would not have stopped the Sandy Hook massacre, while his allies in the Senate work to import low-wage labor on the one hand and high-end Silicon Valley labor on the other. Meanwhile, the vast majority of the nation hopes for better days.

Another hallmark of the Bloomberg style is its insufferable condescension. One need only have heard the tiniest whine of a Bloomberg speech to know what I’m talking about. The preening attitude of superiority manifests itself in a form of moral blackmail. Adversaries of the Bloomberg-Obama agenda are not simply mistaken. There is, it is implied, something wrong with them personally.

Sound familiar? You can read the entire piece here.

February 14th, 2013 at 2:08 pm
Peter Orszag: Less Wealth Means More Equality

Get a load of this economic reasoning from Peter Orszag, Obama’s first Director of the Office of Management and Budget and current vice chairman at megabank Citigroup:

More graduates would mean lower inequality, because the wage premium for a college degree would be reduced by the additional supply. And it would mean higher national income, because better-educated workers are, on average, more productive.

So, lowering the “wage premium” means that income for college graduates will go down with more of them in the job market.  This is a good thing according to Orszag because reducing the value of a college degree will have a leveling effect on incomes (in a downward direction, of course).

On the bright side, it’s a remarkably honest admission about everything that’s wrong with the analysis of people who obsess over economic inequality.  In this worldview, government policies that devalue education and distort the labor market should be praised if it means less people have an opportunity to be rewarded for superior ability.

Thus, while Orszag’s analysis doesn’t square with the diminished aspirations of millions of under- and unemployed college graduates in the Age of Obama, it does help explain why his former boss isn’t putting any muscle behind addressing the depressed job market.  In Obama World, so long as more people make the same – even if it’s less – everything is just fine.

February 8th, 2013 at 3:19 pm
40% of Americans Blame Immigration for Joblessness

I don’t know of a major journalist other than Byron York continually highlighting the plight of the under- and unemployed in Barack Obama’s America.

Summarizing the findings of a new Rutgers study, York excerpted this cautionary stat:

The researchers asked people — unemployed and employed alike — about the “major causes” of joblessness. Seventy percent named “competition and cheap labor from other countries.” The next-highest number, 40 percent, blamed “illegal immigrants taking jobs from Americans.” That 40 percent is more than blame Wall Street bankers (35 percent), the policies of George W. Bush (23 percent) or the policies of Barack Obama (30 percent).

“These strong and enduring concerns about globalization and fears that illegal immigrants hurt job prospects for Americans citizens are likely to make it more difficult for policymakers in Washington, DC to negotiate free-trade agreements and reform immigration laws,” the report concludes, in what is probably a serious understatement.

Whether this perception is correct or not, Republicans in Congress need to take care how they handle immigration reform.  As I wrote last week, conservatives like Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies make a strong case that increasing the legal labor supply when jobs are scarce hurts native workers.  If Republicans are seen as complicit in increasing the Democrats voting base and hurting job prospects for working class citizens, the party will have no one to blame but its leadership for its dwindling popularity.