businesses

Obama, Corporate Inversions, and Grotesque Hypocrisy

Last month, I put together a list of six jaw-dropping examples of left-wing hypocrisy, one of which featured Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.

He made the list for having the chutzpah to criticize corporate inversions on the basis of supposed economic patriotism, even though he invested lots of money via the Cayman Islands when he was a crony capitalist at Citigroup.

But it turns out that Lew’s hypocrisy is just the tip of the iceberg.

It seems the entire Obama Administration was in favor of inversions just a couple of years ago. Check out these excerpts from a Bloomberg story.

Current Job Market for Teens is the Toughest on Record

Thomas Sowell used his latest piece to address a common misconception regarding the left’s avowed concern for minorities. In his column, the renowned economist pointed out that the educational policies pursued by the left in the name of the poor and the minorities often hurt those they claim to protect.

The same can be said about other policies pursued by Democrats who tend to defend that more interventionism will undoubtedly lead to more opportunities for the poor, the young and the minorities.

According to a Brookings Institute study, teens have been having a harder time finding jobs in recent years. In 2000, research shows that 45% of teens in the U.S. had jobs, now only 26% of teens aged 16 to 19 are employed.

Researchers used Department of Labor and Census data to track youth employment among the 100 largest metro areas in the country. The study shows that 1.8 million teens are either actively looking for a job but are unable to get one or they have part-time jobs, whereas they’d prefer to obtain full-time employment instead. The study refers to this pattern as “underutilization,” which means that teens are not satisfied or financially stable to focus solely on school.

In other words, more teens need to work but are unable to find work.

Obama set to use pen to control worker salaries

When President Obama started talking about getting around Congress with his phone and his pen, we all knew it was not going to end well. Increasing the minimum wage for government contractors hasn’t really had a chance to show any ill effects, so it makes sense that the president is already leaping into fair labor regulations, to start causing havoc in private industry.

The current cause is to force employers to pay overtime to salaried workers. There are already exemptions based on income that would possibly come into play, but they haven’t been adjusted for inflation on the Federal level since 2004. That said, there might be a valid argument to revisit those caps, but to force employers to pay overtime to salaried workers in general is not something any competent leader should consider in a soft job market.

Government increasing liabilities on businesses on a per employee basis is never a good idea when the economy needs private industry to be creating jobs. That is something that keeps getting lost in the shuffle for many reasons, but the two most obvious are the fact that the administration has changed the equations for determining the unemployment rate, and has reduced expectations for reasonable growth. What does that mean? It means that we don’t count people that have dropped out of the unemployment system into the welfare system, and the “new normal” is not really growth — it’s barely treading water.

Have some fries with that executive order

The All-Nite Images (CC)

Because ObamaCare is such a complete failure, the president is at least slightly welcoming the latest distraction to keep the masses from noticing that problem. Protestors took to the streets demanding that the government not only increase the minimum wage, but essentially double it. Of course, while that might seem like a nice idea for people that are barely making it by with low wage jobs, it would not work out very well for them in the end.

Forbes explored this issue at length a while ago, but their findings remain just as true today. Slight increases in the minimum wage have been shown to cause job losses, as companies downsize to absorb the increased costs of their labor force. One thing that has changed is the effect of ObamaCare on the situation. Many employers are already looking at cutting hours of low wage workers to avoid the increased costs of benefits for employees.

Liberals are demonizing this action, and are still demanding higher wages, while ignoring what should be obvious. Increased costs must be paid one way or another, whether by cutting labor costs, increasing prices for consumers, or a combination of the two. Since the latter is a likely solution for many companies that employ low wage workers, that would mean the continuation of a vicious cycle for the very people that liberals would hope to help by increasing the minimum wage in the first place.

Low wage workers tend to use the goods and services of companies like fast food restaurants and WalMart, so even if their wages are increased, it probably will not help them very much in the end. A pay raise doesn’t do much good if the price of goods and services goes up, too.

Congress must reform high-skilled worker visa system

immigrants

The renewed debate over immigration reform has led to some very strong opinions, but one particular issue that has been lost in the mix is the need for more high-skilled workers in the United States.

The visa system for high-skilled workers — known as H-1B visas or STEM visas — is in dire need of modernization. This system allows businesses to temorarily employ foreign workers who have college degrees in various fields, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The system, however, limits the number of workers who can obtain these visas to 65,000 per year, meaning that many high-skilled workers see employment in other countries instead of waiting to come to the United States.

Along with a number of his colleagues from both sides of the aisle, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) recently introduced legislation — the Immigration Innovation Act (also known as the I-Squared Act) — that would bring a much needed overhaul to the H-1B visa system and more economic benefit to the United States.

The Immigration Innovation Act would increase the annual cap on high-skilled workers who can obtain H-1B visas from 65,000 to 115,000 and also provide a manner of flexibility that would allow the cap to be raised even higher to meet labor demand inside the United States. The legislation would also remove the cap for high-skilled workers with advanced degrees, which is currently limited to 20,000 per year.

A coalition of freedom-minded groups — including the American Conservative Union, Americans for Tax Reform, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute — have endorsed the plan.

Shocker: Leftist minimum wage policy forces businesses to pass costs to consumers

MasterPark Airport Parking

Travelers who park their cars at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, located in the town of SeaTac, Washington, will see first-hand how the city’s $15 minimum wage is being passed onto consumers in addition to negatively impacting workers, as Matthew Hurtt recently explained.

MasterPark Airport Parking, a valet parking service, is charging customers a 99-cent per day “living wage surcharge,” listing it on receipts with taxes and other fees patrons pay, according to the Washington Policy Center:

Many SeaTac businesses have tacked on an additional fee to mitigate the increased cost of labor. On the receipt below, a $6.93 “living wage surcharge” was added to a $84.00 parking charge. That is the equivalent of a 8.25% tax.
[…]
Contrary to what supporters claim, increasing the minimum wage does not create jobs and stimulate the economy. The higher wages are not free money. The increased cost must either be absorbed by the employer, which is impossible for many who already operate on shoe-string profit margins, or it must be passed on to workers, in the form of reduced hours and benefits, and consumers, in the form of higher prices. Either way, someone pays.

MasterPark explains the surcharge on its website, pointing out that it “covers a portion of the resulting increase in operating costs.” Here’s the copy of the receipt that a customer recently received:

Barbara Lee wants a $26 per hour minimum wage in California (and to send jobs to your state)

Barbara Lee

During a discussion on CNN’s Crossfire last week, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) said that she not only supports President Barack Obama’s call for a $10.10 minimum wage, she told co-host Newt Gingrich that California should enact a $26 per hour minimum wage.

The panel, lead former communist and 9/11 truther Van Jones, revolved around President Obama’s push to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10. Gingrich, however, brought up Seattle’s push to raise its minimum wage  to $15 per hour. That’s when Lee started talking crazy:

“Let me ask you this question, you’re a good advocate for this,” Gingrich asked Lee. “The mayor of Seattle is proposing that the minimum wage ought to go up to $15 an hour.”

“Good for him,” Lee responded. “In California — more than likely, from what I remembered — a living wage where people could live and take care of their families and move toward achieving the American dream was about $25, $26 an hour.”

“So would you support that as a minimum wage for California?” Gingrich asked.

“Absolutely I would support it for California. I think the regional factors –”

“And you don’t think that’d have an effect on unemployment?” Gingrich interrupted.

Robert Gibbs predicts demise of Obamacare’s employer mandate

Robert Gibbs

In a speech at an insurance industry event in Colorado, Robert Gibbs, a former White House official, predicted that the Obama administration will permanently nix Obamacare’s employer mandate, a destructive provision of the law that has been delayed twice already:

“I don’t think the employer mandate will go into effect. It’s a small part of the law. I think it will be one of the first things to go,” he said to a notably surprised audience.

The employer mandate has been delayed twice, he noted. The vast majority of employers with 100 or more employees offer health insurance, and there aren’t many employers who fall into the mandate window, he said.

Killing the employer mandate would be one way to improve the law — and there are a handful of other “common sense” improvements needed as well, he said.

The employer mandate is a provision of Obamacare that requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees, defined as someone who works at least 30 hours a week, to offer health insurance benefits or face a punitive, $2,000 per worker tax.

Large employers hit with thousands in increased health insurance costs

In a press conference at the White House on Wednesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters that “the real reason to do the Affordable Care Act, which could not be avoided, was the cost of healthcare in our country was unsustainable.”

“Unsustainable to individuals, to small businesses, to corporate America,” she said. “It was a competitive issue internationally.”

The premium hikes caused by Obamacare have been well-publicized. Recent data suggest that the law has increased cost of health insurance for individuals. These increases surpass the average of the previous eight years combined, a consequence of the law’s actuarial requirements, taxes and fees, as well as the mandated essential benefits.

Small businesses have also cited the higher health insurances costs as an impairment to growth. A survey of small businesses conducted last fall found that owners would drop coverage for employees and trim hours to avoid added costs. This is a fact that the Obama administration has recognized, which is why it has twice delayed enforcement of the employer mandate.

Survey finds businesses would reduce hiring, raise prices to offset minimum wage hike

Though the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has already warned that proposed $10.10 federal minimum wage could cost the economy at least 500,000 jobs over the next two years, President Barack Obama and Democrats are still trying to push the increase through Congress, mostly because they believe it plays to their favor in an election year.

The issue may be an easy way to score political points, but the Wall Street Journal makes note of new survey which found that most businesses would adjust to an increase in the minimum wage by reducing hiring and increasing prices for goods and services, and some would even layoff workers:

Just over half of U.S. businesses that pay the minimum wage would hire fewer workers if the federal standard is raised to $10.10 per hour, according to a survey by a large staffing firm to be released Wednesday. But the same poll found a majority of those companies would not cut their current workforce.


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