Obama's Job-Killing Agenda

The underlying factors causing America's economic woes.

What a national travesty. President Obama and his fellow Democrats are wiping out jobs in an economy where more than 14 million Americans are unemployed.

This is occurring in a breadth of ways, some more blatant than others. Obama has stacked the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to make it totally pro-union. The board on June 21, for example, proposed what the Wall Street Journal called “the most sweeping changes in federal rules governing union organizing elections since 1947.”  This would give employers almost no time to resist representation votes and build a case for opposing unionization.

This was just the latest in a series of acts by the pro-union board, as well as other agencies under the Obama administration, to bow to labor bosses. Fewer than 12 percent of all U.S. workers belongs to unions. But they give generously to Democrats in money and campaign manpower. So coddle them at the expense of others in the workforce. Make sure they have jobs even if others don’t. That’s the policy.

The NLRB in April, in an unprecedented attack, accused giant aircraft company Boeing of illegally building a 787 Dreamliner production line at a new non-union plant in Charleston, SC. The NLRB, in a wild allegation, charged that Boeing was breaking the law by opening a non-union facility in retaliation against union workers for past strikes at its Everett, WA, plant. In effect, it was Obama’s sassy agency telling a business where it could or couldn’t operate.

The House Education and Workforce Committee in July said Americans expect Washington to promote policies to help create jobs. “Instead, Democrat leaders are pursuing an economic agenda that is having a chilling effect on job creators around the country."

In 2009, President Obama announced what he said would be guidelines for federal contracting so as not to waste federal taxpayer dollars. What a sham. The government uses two means of assuring union labor gets overpaid, costing others lost jobs. First, Davis-Bacon provisions require contractors on federal construction projects to pay workers locally prevailing wages, typically needlessly inflated costs. The other is Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) for federal building projects. PLAs reduce competitiveness, increase costs, use inefficient work rules and slow down the work process.

An all-Democratic Nevada County Commission July 24, for instance, argued for a Project Labor Agreement claiming -- as if it were reality -- that there was a shortage of available workers. This union invention of PLAs approaches legal blackmail. In exchange for higher wages and an agreement to pay into a union health fund even if they already provide a benefit to their workers, the unions agreed not to strike the contractors.

In 2009, the economy was showing signs of recovery. In August, the White House projected unemployment would fall to 8 percent by the end of 2011.The economy went from losing 841,000 jobs in January 2009 to gaining 229,000 in April 2010. This was outlined in an essay by senior analyst James Sherk of the Heritage Foundation. Then Obama and his lefty pals in Congress blasted a hole in the employment picture with the passage of ObamaCare. Within two months, the job market froze like a camper faced with a grizzly bear. ObamaCare discouraged employers from hiring in the following ways.

First, businesses with fewer than 50 employees have stayed small to keep from providing government-approved health insurance or paying a fine.  Enterprises with more than 50 people will see health overage costs go up with the mandate that they must buy costly government insurance or pay a penalty. Employers of every size don’t know what “qualifying” health insurance is and how much it will set them back in future years. Hiring has dwindled.

Twenty-three states are right-to-work states, which secure the right of employees to decide for themselves whether or not to join or financially support a union. Employment in right-to-work states typically grew 15 percent in the past decade, while the others grew only 7 percent, as described in The Weekly Standard of July 25 by contributing editor Noemie Emery.

She noted that the states patterned after the Old European model—high taxes, excessive spending, strong public unions (all heartily respected by Obama)—suffered the same plight as Europe, “while those with free market models did not.” The eight states “with no state income tax grew 18 percent in the past decade,” according to election expert Michael Barone.

The minimum wage, which Democrats have so faithfully pushed for years, is a great creator of underemployment when employees can’t afford to hire unskilled workers. This is among the job killers in the Obama lineup.

Just how can Obama keep his youthful band of worshipers in tow? Many can be sent to college through Pell grants. The economy has no jobs for its new generation. So, send them to college, where they can be taught socialistic principles to fit the Obama philosophy. A major problem for Obama is that only 45 percent of young people -- his most ardent supporters -- are working. Sixteen to 24-year-olds can’t seem to find work. The so-called "Millennials" voted two for one for Obama in 2008. But the Democrats have kept millions of young people from working by raising the minimum wage and expanding welfare programs to keep them subservient.

Although nearly one in ten workers is unemployed now, Linda Chavez writes July 22 in Townhall, jobs are available that go unfilled every day. About a third of those receiving unemployment benefits “get a job immediately after their eligibility expires.” In 2009, when the economy was in worse shape, 3 million jobseekers went unemployed.

How could this be? Obama liberals are convinced that unemployed benefits must be extended for the jobless, lamenting that about a fourth of the unemployed have not held a job in more than a year. But liberal policies “have actually created the problem rather than alleviated it." This ruling class is “succumbing to the European pattern of unemployment.”

European nations—so admired by Obama—have “traditionally had a more generous (some may say lax) safety net, including unemployment benefits...In some cases Europeans who lost their jobs could expect to earn as much in government benefits as they did when working and do so for at least a year.... The real problem in long term unemployment may be a president who wants to emulate the European social model.”