Rss

…and Obamacare will fix it all

One of the great problems in politics today is not the laws that are being passed, though many are quite troubling. It’s not the partisanship that has gridlocked Congress, though that is pervasive and adds to the problem. It’s the fact that there is no consideration of the consequences of what is being shoved into law.

Obamacare is of course a great example. Here we have a partisan law, passes without being read, that the public has never wanted, touted as the great fix to healthcare insurance woes. So far, the website cost 3x it’s initial estimate and is inferior to similar sites by 10 years of technology. Millions are finding out that “affordable” is a relative term, rarely matching the hype that this law has been surrounded by. Hundreds of thousands are quickly learning that keeping the insurance and doctors they have and like is not an option – or when it is, it is too expensive to be realistic.

Is this because healthcare reform was a bad idea? NO. Was it because of the partisan gridlock? Partially, as excluding reform ideas from across the isle limits the effectiveness of any law. Is it because partisan ideology demanded that politicians not pause for a moment to reflect (or read) what they were doing. The consequences of their actions were of no concern in the face of getting it done. Mere years later and already havoc is starting to play out, with no end in sight of how long the dominoes will fall.

All of that, and the worst consequence of all. Partisanship sold the Rights of America on the cheap. A precedent has been made that Government has a Right above the people. If the Government can make everyone do one thing, it can make them do anything. Maybe not this Administration, or even the next, but eventually it will happen because absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Still, this is not the only example. Look at the Obama Stimulus, which was another speedy race to pass a law that few understood the scope of. In June of 2009 it was found, by the Associated Press, that food was literally being taken out of the mouths of the public.

“People are finding out that because of the extra $25 they cannot decline, calculations made including this money is placing Americans over the Government limits for food stamps and other forms of aid. The range of the loss is unknown (and likely to remain so), but the AP provided an example – costing a family $300 in food stamps they now cannot receive.”

Perhaps the best example is all the bluster about the national debt. Each side keeps talking about how devastating the cuts are and how big a cut is being made. Except they leave out that the cuts are reductions in the future increases in spending. And even then Congress tries to find ways to spend money it doesn’t have and evade laws it put in place to prevent spending more. If you think that anyone is being honest on the debt, try and find one person who has stated the impact of interest rates increasing to just the level since 1980′s (4.25%). You won’t find that in any plan of debt reduction – which is odd since it will nearly overnight add several trillions of dollars to the debt, assuming not another dime is spent.

The problem is that Government thinks it can fix it all. Congress thinks that enough short-term fixes will patch up any problem forever. More than a few elected officials are quite happy riding the fence on issue after issue, making a few well placed comments to keep constituents in the dark and their re-election secure; knowing full well that at some point it will be time to pay the reaper. Except that politician won’t be around to worry about it, apparently they hope.

If all you want are 30-second soundbites, the headline is all you need from this commentary. You can vote for whatever politician makes the best empty promise you like – such as Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s, ‘You need to pass it to find out what’s in it.’ If you think that Government is filled with people endowed by an election with knowledge that surpasses the norm, simply because they won, there are plenty of politicians that act as if they are nobility (like Sen. Schumer for one example) that you can vote for.

But be prepared. Voter apathy combined with the political ambitions of too many in Congress have led to consequences that we are really not able to kick down the road without consequence any more. Our credit rating is in danger, our energy independence is questionable, our freedoms are eroding, and our economic stability is in jeopardy. If you believe that simply fixing the bugs on a website will resolve the holes in Obamacare, you really won’t like what probably will happen over then next several years.

Politicians are not soothsayers, nor should they try to be. But reasonable attempts to think more than 1 election down the road, combined with taking the time to pass laws that are actually meaningful and what voters want isn’t too much to expect. Having a Congressman that can actually take a position and stand by it would be a nice change in the New York 22nd Congressional District as an example; and if that Representative could also try to pass a law that might benefit constituents and the nation, well that would be a night worthy of fireworks.

Until voters take on politicians and vote out those that are the worst in preserving their power at the cost of quick fix gimmicks and finger-pointing, dominoes will fall where we least expect them, leaving us a weaker and less great nation.

It doesn’t have to be like that. We can have better laws, better Representatives and Senators. We can have a better Government that is smaller and more controlled. All we need to do is vote.

***Michael Vasquez is exploring a run for the New York 22nd Congressional District in 2014.***

While President Obama urges more of the same, a real solution stays on the backburner

President Obama is poised to launch a new round of “focus on the economy and jobs.” On Wednesday July 24th, the President will talk about “Shovel ready jobs”, wait its called an “investment in America’s infrastructure.” Then again its been called “Fix it now” as well; plus a couple of other catchy phrases. But the point is it’s the same ideas that haven’t worked before, and no one truly believes will work now.

Yet, that’s not what should upset the public. By now even the most ardent are inured to the droning promise that “jobs are priority 1″, only to watch as healthcare, illegal immigration, gun restriction, cyber security, even rounds of golf have filled the President’s time.

What should upset people are the things that are being unspoken, even by political opponents of the President and his agenda. Like real solutions to unemployment. Let me explain that.

The Obama Stimulus was promised to not only stabilize the economy, but improve the economy. Those shovel ready jobs were going to turn things around. Except they didn’t. In fact, if you look at all the charts and data, things didn’t start to improve until the impact of the Government intrusion (Stimulus) waned. As it reduced, the economy has improved. Slow as it has been.

Perhaps one of the key things helping has been the fact that every attempt to double down on letting Government muddle things up has been blocked – with the big exception of Obamacare. Which has lead to job growth no one wants – part-time jobs without benefits because Obamacare is too expensive to run a business with.

The burden of taxes, on people can companies is hindering the recovery

The burden of taxes, on people can companies is hindering the recovery


But a vital component of real sustainable economic growth, and full-time jobs, has been lost. In fact, it hasn’t been mentioned by the President, Congress, or essentially anyone since the day after the 2012 elections. The corporate tax rate.

President Obama hasn’t mentioned the subject since virtually February 2012. Mitt Romney kept the issue flickering up til October 2012. The Representative of the New York 22nd Congressional District – Richard Hanna – gave up that ghost in November 2012 (other than his vote June 2013 for H.R. 9 – a bill NOT created by the Committee on Small Business, and that he did NOT co-sponsor). I have no doubt that a quick Google search of members of Congress – from either Party – will reveal a similar trend.

I find the bi-partisan silence to be both deafening and disastrous.

In 2012, every politician up for re-election, or challenging to be elected, agreed that corporate tax rates need to be cut. The U.S. leads the world in corporate taxes, a plan so anti-business one might believe that it was conceived in New York State (currently ranked 50th of all States in business friendliness). The only real question was how much to cut rates – Republicans wanted more, Democrats not as much.

The reason that every politician made advances on this issue was because the benefit to companies and the American people was as blatantly obvious as the national deficit is large. Cut tax rates and companies can afford to be created, grow, and hire workers. Cut it enough and some companies might even entertain paying for Obamacare and not switch to part-time employees.

It was a message of prosperity that opened up the pockets of big business, garnered the support of small business, and fed the aspirations of those dreaming of creating the next Microsoft or Facebook. But once the votes were made, the tallies done, and the politicians secure in holding onto their career positions, the concept of a corporate tax cut evaporated in a New York minute.

On Wednesday President Obama should be held to his fleeting campaign promise. Representatives in Congress should have their feet held to the flame of public opinion. Americans deserve to hear the reason why corporate tax rates, the one solution everyone thought was the answer to this recession, have not been on the table. If the answer is just more political polispeak then we need to hold these politicians accountable and vote them out of office.

America needs politicians bold enough to live up to campaign promises, strong enough to speak the will of constituents, and determined enough to blaze a trail down a path the nation hasn’t even seen in 4 years plus.

At least that’s what I think. What about you?

Part-time employment has been a problem longer than you think

Growth in Part-time Workers - Source: BLS

Growth in Part-time Workers – Source: BLS

It’s been a very busy summer, speeches and a fundraiser taking up more than a little time and attention – and I’m not nearly done. But the rest of the world of politics has hardly waited for a break in my schedule. Thus I want to recap a few key points in the next few articles. I’ll start with the part-time employment bandwagon.

On July 5th, The Wall Street Journal published the article Part-Time America. This highlighted a serious concern that seemingly no one else heard of. Or rather no one in the major media was willing to discuss. The growth trend in part-time jobs had become a stark and undeniable by-product of Obamacare. Businesses, facing the impending employer mandate, opted to pay the fine rather than pay the cost of healthcare for employees. As the WSJ stated

“All of this gives businesses that operate on thin margins—and that’s most businesses—an incentive to hire more part-time workers.”

The Washington Post, not to be left out, stated on July 8th that

“Well, Obamacare creates a big new tax on full-time employees. So what does common sense tell us about that? It tells us there will be fewer full-time employees and more part-time employees as employers work to minimize their costs and vulnerability under Obamacare.”

Even the L.A. Times and New York Times had to note the contribution of Obamacare – grudgingly.

But is this a new result, an unforeseen or unpredictable outcome? Only if you are Rep. Nancy Pelosi or Sen. Harry Reid. Before announcing my exploratory committee I noted in my monthly review of the unemployment rate:

March 12, 2013 – “The number of people that could only find part-time work, on average from 2003 – 2008 was 1.3 million people. On average from 2009 – 2012 that number increased to 2.35 million. As of February 2013 the figure is 2.47 million. This increase counts as a positive reduction in the official unemployment rate, though it is counted as a negative in the U-6 total figure…

Lastly the data shows no conclusive benefit from the Obama Stimulus or the Health Care Reform. In fact much of the data shows that the Stimulus could have hindered the economic recession’s recovery, as improvement occurred only as the effect of the Stimulus dwindled. As for the Health Care Reform, it’s only immediate impact appears to be the seemingly direct increase in part-time workers…

Perhaps this is why politicians and media stick to headlines on unemployment data. Looking deeper just highlights a reality that is not being addressed.”

Of course it can be said that I found the numbers with luck. Except I started crunching the part-time employment numbers December 9, 2012

“The number of part-time workers unable to get full-time work has continued to increase with the current to-date amount of 2.54 million per month for 2012. This is an increase vs 2002 (full year) of 126%, vs 2010 of 6.8%, and vs 2011 of 0.9%.”

But my point isn’t a pat on my back for seeing a trend and causation literally months before the major media or politicians decided to really analyze the unemployment data. It’s that we have members of Congress, the Executive Branch, and the major media that are so busy posturing and trying to look like they know what they are doing (or passing out 30 second soundbites that obscure the fact they aren’t doing their homework) that the nation is suffering.

The reward for empty promises and bad legislation? A 93% re-election rate, and profits for the media companies. Does anyone think that this is what our Government is supposed to be about? Does anyone feel like we should be treated better? Isn’t it time for Congress to do it’s job?

%d bloggers like this: