If you wanted to destroy the American economy and increase dependence on government, you probably couldn’t improve much on the policies that Barack Obama has been implementing since he was inaugurated president.
Through the EPA, the Obama administration has consistently promoted policies and regulations intended to make it more difficult to produce energy from coal. He promised that he would do this in an interview with the SF Chronicle before he was elected, so this is no conspiracy theory. He said he would do it, and he’s doing it. Congress refused to pass his preferred policies even when his own party controlled both houses, so he has taken to using regulations to make it happen.
Through Obamacare, the same administration has created incentives for employers to either cut worker hours or not hire workers at all. These incentives include the new shortened work week, as defined in the ACA, and the 50-worker threshold. Both incentivize small businesses, which tend to be the job-creating engine in economic recovery, not to hire, or to limit the hours of the hourly workers they do have. Limiting hours limits productivity. Businesses warned that these incentives would harm their business and scuttle jobs. Those warnings went unheeded, with media often quipping that these business owners are just doing it wrong.
This incentive to cut hours and jobs also creates more competition for the fewer jobs that survive. Those workers who get their hours cut have to try to make up the lost income somehow. So they’re competing with the unemployed for fewer available jobs.
Now let’s look at poverty. Obama claims that he wants to reverse, or at least mitigate, what he calls income inequality. Poverty is defined in America by how much person or family spends on food. The government began to wage “war on poverty” in the 196os, at a time when there were about 33 million Americans believed to live in poverty. After decades of that “war,” we now have more than 46 million living in poverty. One of the best predictors of whether someone will live in poverty is not their skin color or educational background, but whether they are raised in a two-parent family. Single people tend to live in poverty at greater rates than married couples. Married people tend to be richer, which means they tend to depend on government less.
Obamacare disincentivizes marriage by using income to determine subsidies for health care. The Democratic Party is now dependent on the “marriage gap” to remain competitive. Unmarrieds are far more likely to vote for Democrats than Republicans. The “gender gap” goes away among married adults.
Rational policies designed to encourage economic growth should a) encourage energy production; b) encourage hiring and c) encourage marriage and keeping families intact.
But the policies of this administration hurt all three. The administration militates against energy producers. Obamacare penalizes jobs, and through its subsidies, incentives against marriage.
Together, this administration’s energy policies and its health care policies are putting the economy in a pincer squeeze.
So it’s no mystery why the recovery, if it exists, is so anemic. It’s no mystery why the only way unemployment has gone down during this administration’s terms is the choice millions of Americans have made to just give up looking for work at all. When they give up, the government stops counting them as unemployed, and official unemployment decreases — even while the misery that this administration’s policies increases.
As misery increases, dependence on government programs increases. It’s all part of the plan.