By The Heritage Foundation
Wonder who's to blame for today's stagnant economy? Look no further than 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to see where the buck ought to stop. Though President Barack Obama constantly points fingers at others for America's economic woes, his policies are to blame for preventing the U.S. economy from getting back on track. Before you watch President Obama present his latest jobs plan in his speech on Thursday, be sure you know the four major measures he has taken to prevent job growth in America:
1) Obama's Overregulation
During President Obama's first 26 months in office, his Administration imposed 75 new major regulations, with reported costs to the private sector exceeding $40 billion, as The Heritage Foundation’s James Gattuso and Diane Katz document in "Red Tape Rising: A 2011 Mid-Year Report." That's more than any comparable period on record. The annual cost of regulation--$1.75 trillion by one frequently cited estimate--represents twice the amount of individual income taxes collected last year. Katz and Gattuso write that there are even more regulations in the pipeline, as well.
That's bad news for job growth, and you don't just have to take our word for it. Ask the people who create jobs in America. John Schiller, chairman and CEO of Energy XXI, told CNBC that "if the government would get out of the way, from a regulation standpoint, and let us do what we do good, you'll see us continue to hire and grow this economy."
There's a disturbing trend if you look at job growth in America over the past two and a half years. Heritage's James Sherk writes that, following the recession, the U.S. was on a track for a steady recovery. The economy went from losing 841,000 jobs in January 2009--the recession’s low point--to gaining 229,000 jobs in April 2010. But then Obamacare became law. "From May 2010 onward, private job growth improved by only 6,500 jobs per month--less than one-tenth the previous rate," Sherk explains and as illustrated by this chart.
Though correlation doesn't necessarily equal causation, there's reason to believe that Obamcare helped turned off the spigot on job growth. The law imposes costly new requirements on businesses, which remain uncertain of what their costs will be down the road, leaving them to postpone hiring decisions. In fact, one survey showed that 33 percent of small business owners said Obamacare was either their greatest or second-greatest obstacle to new hiring.
3) Big Spending and Runaway Deficits
President Obama's $787 billion stimulus was supposed to create jobs, but instead deficits mounted and economic growth is now stagnant. Meanwhile, all that money intended to "stimulate" the economy had to come from somewhere, which means taxing or borrowing from other sectors of the economy. The result? Less money for investment, and that means less job growth. Brian Riedl explains in The Wall Street Journal:
[L]arge stimulus bills often reduce long-term productivity by transferring resources from the more productive private sector to the less productive government. The government rarely receives good value for the dollars it spends. However, stimulus bills provide politicians with the political justification to grant tax dollars to favored constituencies. By increasing the budget deficit, large stimulus bills eventually contribute to higher interest rates while dropping even more debt on future generations.
4) Pro-Union, Anti-Business Policies
In South Carolina, Boeing sought to build a new factory to produce one of its airliners, which would have created new jobs in the state. Enter the Obama Administration's National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which filed a complaint against the company, arguing that using a non-union facility constituted an unfair labor practice. And that's just one example of the Obama Administration's pro-union, anti-business policies.
Other recent NLRB decisions include several rulings on snap elections and restricting secret ballot elections, and it instituted a new rule that allows unions to cherry-pick which workers get to vote on unionizing. Rather than putting the economy first, the President has decided to put unions first, and unemployed Americans are paying the price.
Earlier this summer, businessman Steve Wynn said that the Obama Administration has been "the greatest wet blanket to business and progress and job creation in my lifetime." And when Investors Business Daily asked Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, "What's the single biggest impediment to job growth today?" he replied, "The U.S. government." Business owners--those men and women who create jobs in America--know that the Obama Administration is the root cause of the stalled economy.
The American people are catching on. According to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, 77 percent say the country is headed seriously off on the wrong track, and "Americans by a 2-1 margin, 34 percent to 17 percent, now say [the Obama] administration’s efforts have done more to harm rather than help the nation's economy." On Thursday, the nation will find out whether the President plans to continue the path he set two and a half years ago or finally change direction.