December 8, 2009
President Obama's "jobs summit," coupled with Friday's release of November jobs numbers, once again raise serious questions about the majority's ineffectual attempts to combat record-high unemployment levels. For much of the past year, Democrats have focused on spending trillions on a government takeover of health care-funded by hundreds of billions of dollars in tax increases that will destroy jobs, not create them:
- November 12, 2008: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Baucus releases his "Call to Action" white paper on health reform-which proposes taxing businesses that cannot afford to provide coverage to their workers. The previous Friday, government statistics revealed the number of long-term unemployed had risen by 10 percent in the past month alone.
- February 26, 2009: The White House releases its budget outline with a $634 billion "reserve fund" for the uninsured. The reserve fund would receive most of its revenue from tax increases on individuals with incomes over $250,000-including small business owners. The following week, the Labor Department reported that the economy shed 651,000 jobs in February-and 2.6 million over the previous four months.
- April 29: House and Senate Democrats approve Obama budget, including a "reserve fund" that allows Democrats to raise taxes to fund a government takeover of health care. The move came in a month where private-sector employment fell by 611,000 jobs.
- May 12: Senate Finance Committee holds roundtable on financing health reform, where witnesses advocate raising taxes on small businesses to finance a government takeover of health care. The previous Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the total number of unemployed workers reached 13.7 million.
- June 7: Press reports indicate that a bill offered by the late Senate HELP Committee Chairman Ted Kennedy would raise taxes on businesses by as much as $300 billion to fund health "reform." According to a model developed by Council of Economic Advisors Chair Christina Romer, such a proposal would destroy 4.7 million jobs. Two days earlier, the unemployment rate jumped half a percent to reach a 26-year high of 9.4 percent.
- June 19: The House Democrat leadership unveils legislation imposing an 8 percent tax on businesses that cannot afford to fund their workers' health coverage. The Democrat proposal for a tax on jobs was released during a month when businesses shed an additional 467,000 jobs.
- July 17: Two House Committees approve legislation that would raise taxes on businesses that cannot afford to offer health coverage by $208 billion-along with more than half a trillion dollars in a "surtax" that would hit many small business owners. That month, the average period of workers' unemployment exceeded 25 weeks-an all-time high.
- September 9: President Obama's message to a joint session of Congress criticizes companies who cannot afford to buy health coverage for their employees as "gam[ing] the system by avoiding responsibility to themselves or their employees." That same month, the number of long-term unemployed-those out of work for at least six months-exceeded 5 million-an all-time high, and more than double the number in January 2009.
- October 13: Senate Finance Committee Democrats approve legislation (S. 1796) imposing "fair share" taxes on employers who cannot afford to offer coverage, which the liberal Center for Budget and Policy Priorities criticized as a "tax [on firms] for hiring people from low- or moderate-income families." That same month, the unemployment rate among youth, who are most likely to be affected by such mandates, reached 27.6 percent-also an all-time high.
- November 7: The House passes Speaker Pelosi's government takeover of health care (H.R. 3962), complete with more than $700 billion in job-killing tax increases that would according to an Obama Administration model demolish or destroy up to 5 million jobs. The vote took place one day after the unemployment rate jumped above 10 percent for the first time in a generation-and on the same day that the front-page of the New York Times asserted that unemployment and under-employment had reached levels not seen since the Great Depression.
The American economy remains in the midst of record-high unemployment. Yet the Democrat leadership in both chambers insists on pushing forward their government takeover of health care that would only increase job losses, while causing millions to lose their current health coverage in the process. Many may question: What are the majority's misplaced priorities that would see them dither on stemming job losses in order to pursue a single-minded fixation with creating a new government-run health care system?
For additional information, contact:
The House Republican Conference Policy Office