Jobs and the Economy
Percentage of Working Americans Hits 30-Year Low: The labor force participation rate, which measures the percentage of able Americans working or looking for work, fell to a near 30-year low of 63.8 percent in March. Much of the recent decline in the unemployment rate can be attributed to the historic drop in labor force participation as more and more Americans give up on finding a job. If labor force participation were at the same level today as when the recession started, unemployment would be above 11 percent.
The President’s “Stimulus”: Spending Money We Don’t Have for Jobs We Never Got: After borrowing nearly $1.2 trillion for failed stimulus spending, the economy is nowhere near what President Obama promised when he lobbied for the stimulus bill. President Obama’s plan predicted that if we spent over $1 trillion on fiscal stimulus, the unemployment rate at the end of the first quarter of 2012 would be 6.1%. The actual unemployment rate is 8.2%, and if calculated at the labor force participation assumed by the stimulus plan, actual March 2012 unemployment came in at 11.0%.
Medicare Price Controls Wrong Policy: In an April 2012 Journal of the American Medical Association forum piece, Stuart Butler of the Heritage Foundation argues “the IPAB [Independent Payment Advisory Board] is a classic example of using wage and price controls in an attempt to hit a budget. And that is its profound weakness, exacerbated by restrictions imposed on it by [Democrats in] Congress. We have decades–actually centuries–of using controls in an effort to hold down total spending for various goods and services. The results have been pretty dismal…The specter of some physicians dropping out of Medicare and the ones who remain constantly complaining about the inequities of the payment system–the predictable consequence of tighter controls–will have a big effect on the public’s perception of the IPAB and payment controls.”