Posts Tagged ‘Jobs’
November 13th, 2015 at 8:40 am
Podcast: Is America Closed for Business?
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, Patrick Hedger, Policy Director of American Encore, discusses why Obama made the wrong decision on Keystone XL pipeline project and what it means for jobs, the economy and gas prices. 

Listen to the interview here.

June 19th, 2015 at 9:51 am
WSJ News Item Debunks Leftists’ Anti-Texas Myth
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Texas illustrates the real-world success of less government and free market principles, yet leftists like oft-discredited New York Times columnist Paul Krugman attempt to dismiss it as some sort of demographic or energy fluke.

A news feature this week in The Wall Street Journal, however, offers yet another objective refutation of their efforts.  Entitled “Texas’ Engine Keeps Revving,” the article details how jobs and population continue to grow despite the recent energy sector slump:

The continued economic success of the Dallas-Ft. Worth metro area, the nation’s fourth largest, with nearly seven million people, is one of the reasons Texas has so far managed to stave off a sharp downturn despite losing thousands of jobs in the oil patch and related industries.  The region lost more than 100,000 jobs during the recession, but it has added nearly four times that number since then…   Dallas isn’t the only Texas region that has diversified.  The San Antonio metro area, which has 2.3 million residents, now has a burgeoning biotech sector.  Austin, with its population of 1.9 million, had the lowest unemployment rate among the nation’s largest metro areas in April as it undergoes a hotel boom.”

That doesn’t happen by accident.  After all, California enjoys a higher population, better weather, diversified economic base and greater access to trade with its vast coastal area.  In other words, the sorts of things that Krugman offers as rationalizations for the Texas boom.  The reality is that Texas continues to flourish despite the rapid drop in oil prices because unlike states like California, Connecticut or Illinois, it opts for lower taxes, less regulation and freer markets.  Hopefully, that lesson will continue to sink in with the rest of the nation and our federal leaders.

April 3rd, 2015 at 10:10 am
Jobs Report: Worst “Recovery” in U.S. History Continues Under Obama
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

As we’ve noted on multiple occasions, the cyclical economic recovery under Barack Obama is objectively the worst in recorded U.S. history.  Recessions and recoveries come and go, but never have we suffered one with declining median incomes, such low economic growth or this level of employment sluggishness.

Unfortunately, today’s unemployment report brought additional bad news and only serves to further cement Obama’s disastrous legacy.  Economists expected 250,000 new jobs for the month of March, but we only saw 126,000, the lowest since 2013:

The 126,000 increase was weaker than the most pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg survey, and followed a 264,000 gain a month earlier that was smaller than initially reported, the Labor Department in Washington said.  The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 245,000 advance.

‘There’s really no way to sugarcoat this.  This is a soft print all the way around, no matter how you slice it,’ said Omair Sharif, rate sales strategist at Newedge USA LLC in New York.  ’It seems that it’s corroborating that the U.S. definitely hit a soft patch in the first quarter.’”

Making matters even worse, the labor participation rate continued it’s decline to 62.7%, the lowest since 1978, before women fully entered the U.S. workforce.

The unprecedented weakness of the economy under Obama establishes the backwardness of his policies.  Although he and his supporters remain unwilling to internalize the obvious lesson that lower taxes and less federal regulation lead to a stronger economy, the American electorate fortunately maintains the opportunity to do so as 2016 brings the opportunity to select new leadership.

February 12th, 2015 at 7:35 pm
Obama Demagogues Staples Over Part-Time Worker Policy

Apparently, the president who has time to share his Final Four picks on national television can also squeeze in space on his schedule to erroneously charge Staples with oppressing its own workforce.

Earlier this week, Barack Obama was interviewed by BuzzFeed, an online news site. BuzzFeed claimed to have evidence that Staples, the office supply giant, threatens to fire part-time employees who work more than 25 hours a week. The reason – anything more could qualify the worker for employer-sponsored health insurance under ObamaCare. (30 hours per week is the threshold.)

Asked to respond, Obama unleashed his inner community organizer.

“I haven’t looked at Staples stock lately or what the compensation of the CEO is, but I suspect that they could well afford to treat their workers favorably and give them some basic financial security,” Obama replied. “…when I hear large corporations that make billions of dollars in profits trying to blame our interest in providing health insurance as an excuse for cutting back workers’ wages, shame on them.”

On the contrary, shame on the President of the United States.

“Unfortunately, the president appears not to have all the facts,” a Staples spokesman told CNN Money. The cap on part-time work hours has been in place for a decade, and the company has many opportunities for hourly employees to move into full-time positions.

It’s striking that a man who doesn’t blink at proposing a federal budget more than $472 billion in the red next year thinks himself capable of lecturing a private business on how it should spend its profits.

Maybe he should stick with basketball brackets, and let the professionals manage the books.

February 11th, 2015 at 12:48 pm
Gallup: Obama on Track to be Most Polarizing President Ever

President Barack Obama is on pace to have the most polarized approval ratings in history, according to a new Gallup poll.

Polarized approval ratings mean the gap between those in a president’s party that approve of him compared to those in the opposition party that don’t. “So far in his presidency, there has been an average party gap of 70 points in Obama’s approval ratings, which, if it continues, would be easily the highest for a president to date,” says the Gallup summary.

For context, former President George W. Bush “is second with a 61-point gap throughout his presidency, followed by Clinton (56) and Reagan (52). The other presidents [going back to Eisenhower] had party gaps of no more than 41 points.”

As Tim explained in his column last week, it’s no surprise that people concerned about the country’s fiscal future disapprove of Obama’s job performance. Economic growth is in a nine-year rut, the percentage of the U.S. population with jobs is as low as when Jimmy Carter was in office, and the median income has actually declined since Obama’s economic “recovery” was announced.

The real question after reading through the Gallup results isn’t, What’s the matter with Republicans? It’s, How in the world can Democrats see the current president as worthy of such lofty praise?

January 9th, 2015 at 10:00 am
Bittersweet Jobs Report: Wages Decline and Labor Force Participation Rate Falls to 37-Year Low
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Today’s Labor Department unemployment report contains a fresh round of ominous news beyond the headline numbers.

Specifically, the labor participation rate fell to a new 37-year low, which is particularly negative news because women hadn’t yet fully entered the U.S. workforce during that previous 1970s low.  Additionally, wages continued their decline:

Businesses had been creating jobs at a monthly pace of 224,000, though wage growth remained modest and the drop in the headline rate had come in large part due to a decline in the labor force participation rate.  Indeed, the participation rate continued to plummet, falling to a fresh 37-year low of 62.7 percent.  Job quality did not fare well either, with wages actually declining for the month by 5 cents an hour, pulling the annualized gain down to 1.7 percent.”

That annualized gain doesn’t substantively exceed inflation, and since the last recession ended almost six years ago in 2009, median U.S. income has actually declined.  That is unprecedented for a supposed post-recession “recovery,” and Americans continue to simply drop out of the workforce.  Something to keep prominently in mind when Barack Obama trumpets his supposed economic success.

September 22nd, 2014 at 8:55 pm
The Administration’s Energy Policy and American Workers
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, Marita Noon, Executive Director for Energy Makes America Great and Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy, discusses what President Obama has not done for American energy workers, the lessons he could learn from Texas Governor Rick Perry’s efforts to convince companies to relocate to Texas, and the important role that energy plays in our lives.

Listen to the interview here.

July 2nd, 2014 at 6:22 pm
An Energy Policy that Creates Jobs and Prestige

“By boosting our energy production, the U.S. could restore its diminishing influence in the world without expending blood and treasure – in fact, we would reap major economic benefits,” writes Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA).

Nunes is an up-and-coming member of the House Ways and Means Committee and is known for thinking big on how to use tax reform as a means to reestablish American leadership in the global economy.

Rationalizing our energy policy would go a long way too.

Thanks to improvements in technology large, untapped domestic oil and natural gas reservoirs are now reachable. States like North Dakota, Texas and Oklahoma are moving to capitalize, while huge potential awaits enterprising politicians and businesses in California and Colorado.

The benefits are many. More energy production means more jobs in extracting, refining and shipping. For example, an entry-level rig worker in North Dakota averages about $66,000 a year, while the average oil industry job in the state was $112,462 as of 2012. That also means more jobs for people serving workers flush with disposal income.

There’s also a national security angle. With Iraq’s oil fields under siege by Islamic militants, Venezuela constantly swayed by demagogic collectivists and Russia threatening to cut off natural gas shipments, it’s time for the United States to take the steps necessary to ensure greater energy independence.

Unsurprisingly, Nunes wants President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, as well as implement other measures to put the nation in a game-changing position. Of course, that isn’t happening unless Obama adopts Bill Clinton’s triangulation strategy.

Don’t hold your breath.

Still, Nunes makes a compelling case for using national energy policy as a way to improve both our domestic economy and global prestige.

It’s an angle that economically recessed, war-weary Americans might soon embrace.

June 5th, 2014 at 11:37 am
The Brave New Job Market

“The number of jobs requiring medium levels of skill has shrunk, while the number at both ends of the distribution – those requiring high and low skill levels – has expanded,” says a new research report from the Dallas Federal Reserve.

This employment polarization is changing the standard of living for those in the middle class since, “The number of people performing low-skill, low-pay, manual labor has grown along with the number undertaking high-skill, high-pay, non-routine, principally problem-solving jobs.”

Moving to the wealthier pole requires adapting to non-routine cognitive work since computer automation and off-shoring makes jobs such as “brokers, clerks, tellers, cashiers, telemarketers, title examiners, bookkeepers, insurance underwriters, travel agents and technicians” increasingly irrelevant.

This is sobering news for those aspiring to middle class status. There was a time when a college degree qualified a person’s cognitive abilities, and working according to a companywide routine virtually guaranteed a middle class lifestyle. That time is past. Going forward the likelihood that a person will escape the perils of low-income will depend greatly on her ability to be increasingly entrepreneurial in every facet of her work; whether as a full-time employee or independent contractor.

It’s a reality many formerly comfortable middle class workers would like to avoid. But with computing power and automation spreading quickly everywhere, it looks like the only option available.

Welcome to the brave new job market.

May 27th, 2014 at 4:26 pm
ObamaCare Causing 54% of Small Businesses Not to Hire

An article at the website Accounting Today starts with the headline, “ObamaCare Weighing Less on Hiring Plans.” In it, the author analyzes new poll results asking accountants who work with small businesses how the health law is impacting their hiring practices.

Last year, an identical poll found that 66 percent of small businesses said ObamaCare made it less likely they would hire new employees. This year’s survey reported a drop to 54 percent.

This is great news, according to the firm that commissioned the poll. “[W]hile planning for the Affordable Care Act is still impacting many businesses’ plans for hiring, it is causing significantly fewer businesses to slow hiring in the coming year in comparison to last year, which is positive.”

It would be more accurate to say, “less negative.”

Imagine the euphoria if ObamaCare wasn’t a factor at all. That would allow 54 percent of small businesses to base hiring decisions on opportunities to win market share. Instead, a stout majority are holding tight on their headcount because they can’t afford ObamaCare’s increased compliance costs.

Going forward, we’re likely to see more poll numbers and reporting like this that makes it seem like ObamaCare’s influence on economic growth is diminishing, when in fact businesses have already absorbed the initial hit that comes with ObamaCare, and have fundamentally changed their operations.

There is a ‘new normal’ of less full-time jobs, more part-timers and an increasing reliance on independent contractors. Dramatic year-to-year changes are likely to diminish over time as employers factor in ObamaCare’s increased labor costs and staff accordingly.

The real story here isn’t how many businesses will hire less people because of ObamaCare; it is how many jobs are not being created because of ObamaCare.

May 19th, 2014 at 2:05 pm
ObamaCare’s Cost Increases Could Push 90% of Workers at Large Firms onto Exchanges

“According to a new report from S&P Capital IQ, 90 percent of American workers who receive health insurance from large companies will instead get coverage through ObamaCare’s exchanges by 2020,” writes Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute.

Large companies are those that employ 10,000 workers or more. They cover 59 percent of the American workforce.

ObamaCare’s escalating barrage of mandates, fees and fines are estimated to extract “about $163 million to $200 million in additional cost per employer – or $4,800 to $5,900 per employee,” says Pipes. Compared to the $2,000 per employee fine for not offering health insurance, large employers will in effect be forced to dump workers on ObamaCare exchanges to stay profitable.

There are many aspects of ObamaCare that defy easy explanation, but this much is clear – Forcing large employers who want to provide health insurance to their employees to pay more than twice the price of compliance just doesn’t pencil.

The only financially sensible thing to do – from a company’s perspective – is to shove workers onto taxpayer-funded exchanges. That may keep the firm afloat, but it will only add to the federal government’s fiscal problems.

May 2nd, 2014 at 12:31 pm
Video: The Special Interests President
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’’ Renee Giachino discusses the special interest-driven politics that is to blame for the ongoing delays preventing construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

May 1st, 2014 at 8:01 pm
Toyota Votes for Texas over California

Toyota is moving its U.S. headquarters from Torrance, CA to Plano, TX. The move is estimated to generate a combined $140 million annually in local property and sales taxes for the Dallas suburb.

The announcement comes on the heels of at least 250 other California-based companies heading to the Lone Star State, according the Dallas Morning News.

Industry icons include Occidental Petroleum Corp. moving some of its facilities from Los Angeles to Houston; Raytheon Co. transferring aerospace units to McKinney from Southern California; and Trend Micro Inc. changing its corporate address from Silicon Valley to Irving.

For his part, California Governor Jerry Brown isn’t concerned. “We’ve got a few problems, we have lots of little burdens and regulations and taxes, but smart people figure out how to make it [in the state],” he said at an event when asked about Toyota.

Then again, maybe smart people will opt for pro-business locations that don’t inflict “lots of little burdens and regulations and taxes.”

April 24th, 2014 at 6:05 pm
ObamaCare and Income Inequality

If President Barack Obama wants to improve income inequality he could start by removing ObamaCare’s barriers to working more hours.

“The savings from restricting hours worked can be enormous,” explains the Wall Street Journal. “If a company with 50 employees hires a new worker for $12 an hour for 29 hours a week, there is no health insurance requirement. But suppose that worker moves to 30 hours a week. This triggers the $2,000 federal penalty. So to get 50 more hours of work a year from that employee, the extra cost to the employer rises to about $52 an hour – the $12 salary and the ObamaCare tax of what works out to be $40 an hour.”

Liberals thought themselves clever by dropping full-time status to 30 hours per week from the traditional 40. What they didn’t count on was that the actual result would be an 11 hour per week pay cut.

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.