President Obama is currently huddled with his advisors putting the finishing touches on his upcoming major “jobs” speech. Undoubtedly he feels some pressure to come up with a blockbuster program, especially given that this speech could make or break his chances in the 2012 election. But he need not worry, because he already has a perfectly good model for fixing our unemployment problem — his own ObamaCare health plan!
Simply by varying a few features of ObamaCare, the president could guarantee nearly “universal” employment just as ObamaCare has guaranteed nearly “universal” health coverage. He could implement an “ObamaJobs” program as follows:
1) Impose a “job mandate” requiring all companies with greater than 50 employees to add 10% new employees to their payrolls. So if a company currently has 50 employees, they would need to hire 5 new workers. If a company has 100 employees, they must hire 10 new workers, etc.
2) If a company failed to hire enough workers, they would have to pay a penalty to the government. That pool of money would be used to pay for government-subsidized jobs and to fund a government-run jobs “exchange” to match up prospective employers and unemployed workers.
3) Of course, the government would have to closely specify what sorts of salaries, benefits, and job responsibilities must be included in any of these new government-created jobs, both within and outside the exchanges. We can’t have those “millionaire and billionaire” employers exploiting their new employees. If a company needs, say, a Linux programmer, but the new worker has a “pre-existing condition” of not actually knowing Linux, the company should deal with it the best they can — either by training him in Linux or finding him another job that he can do.
4) The president recognizes that some companies have special requirements and shouldn’t be subject to a one-size-fits-all “hiring mandate.” Any employer wishing to be exempted from these new requirements can thus request a “waiver” from the secretary of Labor. Because it will be an impartial government official deciding who gets a waiver and who doesn’t, the process is sure to be fair and objective.
5) Of course, this idea of a “jobs mandate” is constitutional. Some old-fashioned pundits might mistakenly think that employers — not the government — should be free to decide whether and when to hire new workers, based on their own individual circumstances and requirements. But more enlightened scholars realize that “not hiring someone” is a form of “economic activity” that could affect commerce and economics across the country, especially when such individual “not hiring” decisions are considered in aggregate. Hence, by the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Congress has the authority to limit or outlaw this widespread practice of “not hiring someone.”
6) Nor is this socialism. So those cranky Tea Party types shouldn’t be upset. The government is merely helping employers to be “responsible” and “do the right thing” in their hiring. This isn’t a government takeover of private business, but rather a “public-private partnership”! (Speaking of which, we need to start renaming muggings as “mugger-victim partnerships.”)
7) Finally, if this program fails to turn the economy around, we’ll all know whom to blame — the free market. If this ObamaJobs “employment reform” fails, then it means that the private sector blew their chance to fix things. We’ll then have the political capital to outlaw the private job sector altogether and implement a “single employer” system, where the government assumes full control over all jobs, salaries, benefits, and workplace duties. That way, we can finally guarantee that all Americans’ wealth (and sacrifices) are “shared” properly.
President Obama should once again heed the advice of his former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to “never let a good crisis go to waste.” If he does, he could make this ObamaJobs program every bit as popular and successful as his ObamaCare health program!