Friday, September 20, 2013

It's your economy, stupid

Now that Syria has sort of blown up in President Obama’s face he’s once again turned to the economy.  In a speech marking the fifth anniversary of the demise of Lehman Brothers the president sought to take credit for anything he could find good in the economy and blame the rest on the Republicans.  Nice try, Mr. President, but the people are no longer buying it.

He bragged about 7.5 million private sector jobs he has created but the facts tell a completely different story.  The fact is there have only been a little over a million jobs created since Obama took office.  This is one of the slowest, if not the slowest, recoveries from a recession in the history of the country.  Why?

Well, for starters, George W. Bush and the Republicans have nothing to do with it.  Consider this.  Obamacare is turning the American work force into part-timers.  There are stories every day of companies that are cutting employee hours so they don’t have to bear the sticker shock of higher healthcare costs under Obamacare.  And the working poor are being hurt the most.  Here’s the reason.  Obamacare mandates that an employee pay no more than 9.5 percent of their income on health insurance.  Of course, health insurance is a fixed cost so, naturally, it’s a bigger percentage of someone’s salary making $30,000 than it is someone making $300,000.  So, if your employer is now paying 60 percent of your health insurance they don’t have to pay more money for the higher-salaried employee but they do for the lower-salaried employee.

Consider this example.  The Kaiser Family Foundation says the average family insurance plan is now just north of $16,000.  For that employee who’s making $300,000 by law they can’t pay more than $28,500 of their salary toward health insurance.  So even if they were footing the whole bill their employer wouldn’t be obligated to pay anything toward their health insurance.

Now let’s take the employee making $30,000.  By law they can’t pay more than $2,850 toward their health insurance.  If their employer is now paying 60 percent they’re paying $9,600 of that $16,000 health insurance tab.  Under Obamacare they’ll be required to pay $13,150 or 82 percent of that person’s health insurance.  Now do you understand why lower-paid employees are getting cut back to under 30 hours?  If you’re employed under 30 hours then your employer isn’t required to pay a dime of your health insurance.

We also have far more people trapped on welfare since Obama changed the standards during the recession.  More people on welfare means fewer people working.  Obama’s EPA has waged war against the oil and coal industries, killing tens of thousands of jobs in the process.  At a time when there’s an oil boom going on in North Dakota, primarily on private land.  Were the president to open up public land to oil development experts say we could be energy independent in five years, only having to import a little oil from Canada.  Imagine that.  No more entanglement in the Middle East over oil.

Between the president stubbornly standing in the way of getting at our energy resources and blocking the completion of the Keystone Pipeline millions of potential jobs go unfilled.  The way to economic recovery is through a booming economy and that comes from allowing the private sector to create jobs, not by killing them.  Unfortunately, the recession is still real for most Americans.

This is your economy, Mr. President.  After nearly five years at the helm there’s simply no one left to blame.  It’s time for you to own it.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

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