In an effort to fight back against excessive regulations passed by cabinet-level agencies, the House of Representatives on Friday afternoon passed the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act by a 232 to 183 vote.
This measure would require congressional approval of rules and regulations that are expected to have an economic impact of more $100 million. These regulations adversely effect small businesses, have negative impact on job creation, and raise prices for consumers.
“For too long, Congress has allowed administrations of both parties to enact regulations at great costs to the American people with little oversight. The REINS Act would allow Congress to vote on new major rules before they are imposed on hardworking families, small businesses, and agriculture producers,” said Rep. Todd Young (R-IN), who sponsored the legislation. “Regardless of which party occupies the White House, this commonsense legislation is needed to restore the balance of power in Washington and return responsibility for the legislative process to Congress.”
Wayne Crew, vice president of policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), hailed passage of the REINS Act.
“This is a great day for American taxpayers,” said Crews in a release from CEI. “Between ObamaCare and President Obama’s pledge to remake American energy policy through the regulatory process, it’s more important than ever Congress exercise its constitutional authority to vote on these executive actions that impose significant costs on the public.”
Part-time hiring is still on the rise, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The monthly jobs report showed that the economy created 162,000 jobs in July with the unemployment rate dropping to 7.4%.
“Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 162,000 in July, and the unemployment rate edged down to 7.4 percent. Over the prior 12-month period, job gains averaged 189,000 per month,” said BLS Commissioner Erica Groshen in a statement. “In July, employment rose in retail trade, food services, financial activities, and wholesale trade.”
The report reflects a concerning trend that we’ve seen in 2013, which is the surge in part-time hiring. In June, BLS found that part-time hiring soared to a record high, with employers adding 360,000 part-time jobs. The report found that full-time hiring dropped by 240,000 jobs.
Though 92,000 full-time jobs were created in July, the number of part-time jobs created were still astonishingly high, at 174,000. Zero Hedge notes that 731,000 part-time jobs have been created this year, compared to only 222,000 full-time jobs.
The Wall Street Journal noted last month that the economy added 31,000 part-time jobs each month last year compared to 171,000 full-time jobs. This year, the economy has created 104,428 part-time jobs each month compared to a dismal 31,714 full-time jobs.
Is President Barack Obama leaning toward approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline? That’s what some are surmising after the interview he gave last week to The New York Times during which he briefly discussed the oil pipeline stalled early last year by the White House, though there are some caveats.
Politico quoted a few analysts who believe that President Obama indicated he would approve the plan if more were done to make the pipeline green-friendly. But looking of the transcript of the interview, it doesn’t seem like he’s all that keen on the idea.
“Republicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator. There is no evidence that that’s true,” President Obama told The New York Times. “And my hope would be that any reporter who is looking at the facts would take the time to confirm that the most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline — which might take a year or two — and then after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 jobs in a economy of 150 million working people.”
When asked about labor union support of the plans to build the pipeline, Obama was still dismissive of the jobs it would create, telling the Times, “Well, look, they might like to see 2,000 jobs initially. But that is a blip relative to the need.”
While the impact of Keystone XL in terms of job creation varies, greatly at times, most studies show that it will create several thousand jobs. It’s opponents of the pipeline who seem to downplay the impact on job creation.
What happens to employment when the government expands public health insurance programs? Perhaps the answer can be found in a new study by economists at three universities released through the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Joseph Lawler of the Washington Examiner notes that the economists — Craig Garthwaite, Matthew Notowidigdo, and Tal Gross — predicted that up to 940,000 Americans could leave their jobs because of the expansion of Medicaid and the availability of subsidies under ObamaCare (emphasis added):
The paper, released by the National Bureau of Economic Research on Monday, is an examination of what the authors call a unique event in U.S. health care policy: In 2005, under Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen, Tennessee abruptly ended its expansion of TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program because of budgetary pressures (Medicaid is the low-income public insurance program jointly administered by the federal government and the states). About 170,000 adults lost insurance coverage through the program over a three-month period, according to the paper.
The study’s authors were able to detect the effects of the mass disenrollment in jobs data: In 2005, there was a sudden employment increase in Tennessee that didn’t occur in other Southern states.
The study’s authors — Craig Garthwaite of Northwestern, Matthew Notowidigdo of the University of Chicago, and Tal Gross of Columbia — note that they can apply the lessons from Tennessee to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, because the relevant Medicaid population in Tennessee is similar to the one targeted in the planned Medicaid expansion under the health care overhaul.
While the Obama Administration insists that the June jobs report is good news for the economy, some of the indicators tell another story. As noted yesterday, part-time jobs surged to a record high last month and full-time employment dropped, a sign that some say could be blamed on ObamaCare.
Another startling data point, as reported by Ashe Schow of the Washington Examiner, is that America’s second-largest employer is Kelly Services, a temp agency:
Behind Wal-Mart, the second-largest employer in America is Kelly Services, a temporary work provider.
Friday’s disappointing jobs report showed that part-time jobs are at anall-time high, with 28 million Americans now working part-time. The report also showed another disturbing fact: There are now a record number of Americans with temporary jobs.
Approximately 2.7 million, in fact. And the trend has been growing.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the latest jobs numbers on Friday showing that the economy added 195,000 in June. The White House, which has been plagued by lackluster economic numbers since coming into office in 2009, praised the report, claiming that the stimulus bill “helped bring the recession to an end and put us on the path to recovery.”
That’s wishful thinking. The stimulus bill — the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — was an $831 billion bill that the Obama Administration said would keep unemployment under 8%. Well, they were wrong. Unemployment topped out at 10% in October 2009, eight months after the stimulus bill was signed into law. According the the June 2013 reports, unemployment is still high, at 7.6%, and there are signs that the job market is being hampered.
The effects of ObamaCare on employment have been well noted. Businesses had been looking for ways to avoid the employer mandate, which requires them to offer insurance coverage to any employee working 30+ hours a week, and had begun slashing hours. It appears, based on last month’s jobs report, that there has been a surge in part-time hiring, which some attribute to ObamaCare:
During his speech last week at Georgetown University, President Barack Obama offered a hint about the future of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which is, once again, before his administration for approval. He told those who had gathered to hear his anti-consumer energy plan that he would only approve the northern part of the pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada to Nebraska and eventually to the Texas coast, if it “does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”
Back in March, the State Department released a draft study on the environmental impact of Keystone XL. It found that the pipeline doesn’t pose a substantial threat to the environment and would have negligible impact on global warming. It’s worth noting that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is charged with implementing the new climate change policies President Obama rolled out last week, disputes the State Department’s analysis.
Facing steady opposition against ObamaCare and a long, steady string of news reports documenting reduce hours for employees and/or job losses, many Democrats in Congress have realized that they are losing the message battle over the law.
At the end of last week, Politico noted that some House Democrats were able to stress their concerns to DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, whose department is reponsible for ObamaCare’s implementation. Her response to those concerns was, well, rather callous (emphasis mine):
Congressional Democrats told Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday that Americans are still very confused about the health care law — including older people who worry that Obamacare will change their Medicare.
Sebelius went to the Hill for another update with Democrats on Obamacare rollout. HHS this week overhauled its website, focusing more on the exchange enrollment, which starts Oct. 1.
[L]awmakers said that Sebelius’s main message was the importance of countering false notions about the law that are prevailing around the country — and doing it at a grass-roots level. She told lawmakers not to worry when they read media accounts about people losing their health coverage, said Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.).
“There are articles here and there in newspapers talking about people who lost their coverage, … but the assurance she’s been giving us is a lot of those are probably pre-anticipations, and a lot of those are going to be unfounded if they just take a deep breath,” he said.
Since President Barack Obama rolled out his energy plan on Tuesday, there have been a substanial backlash from members of Congress who represent coal-producing states.
New regulations that will be put in place through President Obama’s plan would result in the closing down on older coal plants, which many believe will weaken America’s energy grid, making it less reliable.
Among the loudest voices against the plan is Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who once made waves when he fired a bullet through President Obama’s cap-and-trade bill in a campaign ad. During an interview with CNBC’s Larry Kudlow, Manchin said that Obama has declared a “war on jobs” and a “war on America” with his new energy plan.
“How [Obama] forgot how this country’s gotten where its gotten to now — the coal that’s really produced the energy for this country for so long. It’s defended this country, it’s made the steel that built the guns and ships and factories, and all of a sudden disregarded like that when they’re still depending, Larry, they’ll be depending on coal through 2040,” Manchin told Kudlow. “That’s his own Energy Department, EIA’s estimates. That’s 35% of our energy. I don’t know where it’s gonna come from. It’s gonna drive the price up, unbelieveable, and on top of that, thousands and thousands of jobs.”
“This is not just a war on coal, it’s a war on jobs, it’s a war on America,” he said.
The Obama Administration has been ramping up its effort to sell ObamaCare to a still skeptical American public.
Last week, Politico reported that a new organization run by former Obama campaign staffers would try to sell the law to the uninsured at events around the country. This on top of the administration working with the NBA and NFL to promote ObamaCare to sports fans.
While they may be able to sell some naive Americans unicorns and fairy dust of ObamaCare, others will likely see the very real negative impact the law is already causing.
According to a recent survey from Gallup, small business owners are already reporting that they’ve had to suspend hiring or eliminate jobs because of the uncertainty that ObamaCare is bringing to their bottomline (emphasis mine):
Small business owners’ fear of the effect of the new health-care reform law on their bottom line is prompting many to hold off on hiring and even to shed jobs in some cases, a recent poll found.
Forty-one percent of the businesses surveyed have frozen hiring because of the health-care law known as Obamacare. And almost one-fifth—19 percent— answered “yes” when asked if they had “reduced the number of employees you have in your business as a specific result of the Affordable Care Act.”
The poll was taken by 603 owners whose businesses have under $20 million in annual sales.