Friday, October 01, 2010

Hold the Pickle, Hold the Health Care

The WSJ is reporting that McDonald's might son be telling its 30,000 employees to hold their health care, since the costs and mandates of ObamaCare may no longer make it cost effective for good old Ronald to cover all of his low wage workers: "McDonald's Corp. has warned federal regulators that it could drop its health insurance plan for nearly 30,000 hourly restaurant workers unless regulators waive a new requirement of the U.S. health overhaul. The move is one of the clearest indications that new rules may disrupt workers' health plans as the law ripples through the real world."

Who knew? Remember all of the fatuous claims from the purveyors of this miracle cure tonic? No one will be forced to leave a health plan that was working for them; costs of care would go down, yadda yadda ya. As IBD points out: "A big employer mulls dropping health insurance coverage due to ObamaCare's mandates. The claim that if you like your plan you can keep it was a lie, and the effort to destroy private insurance is working."

Maybe lawmakers really should have read the bill before passing it. As WSJ tells us: "McDonald's move is the latest indication of possible unintended consequences from the health overhaul. Dozens of companies have taken charges against earnings—totaling more than $1 billion—over a tax change in prescription-drug benefits for retirees. More recently, insurers have proposed a round of double-digit premium increases and said new coverage mandates in the law are partly to blame. HHS has criticized the proposed increases as unwarranted."

And some of the more Obama-cloying pundits are wondering why there are solid majorities to repeal this, "historic," legislation-or blaming Tea Partiers or other so-called obstructionists for the plummeting presidential popularity (when not charging large swaths of the public with sheer stupidity). The fact is that this health care legislation will lead to the most dangerous enlargement of government in our lifetime-with an encroachment on individual liberty that will be as unhealthy as our rising premiums and tax obligations.

It's already started with HHS head Sibelius threatening insurers for the temerity of raising their rates to cover the ObamaCare mandates-and have you examined the extent to which this legislation will give the health secretary unprecedented power over our lives? IBD lays some of this out: "This administration doesn't understand how businesses operate and really doesn't care. As for private insurers, the White House doesn't care if they're driven out of business due to higher costs. We now know health care premiums and costs will rise due to Obama-Care, another health care reform lie. The Congressional Budget Office recently concluded that "premiums for millions of American families in 2016 will be 10% — 13% higher than they otherwise would be. This represents a $2,100 increase per family, compared with the status quo."

But the expansion of government power appears to be the raison d'ĂȘtre of the entire effort: "ObamaCare distorts a system based on risk and turns it into an entitlement that is based on political considerations and aimed at getting as many people totally dependent on government as possible." And IBD concludes with the following ominous thought: "The irony here is that in this jobless bummer recovery, an hourly position at McDonald's may be the only thing people entering the work force can find."

The fact remains that economic recovery-not to mention real growth and prosperity-doesn't rest on any expanding government linchpin; quite the opposite. The more regulation, the more tax burdens, the more government grows at the expense of economic health-which is why we have taken issue with the local paid sick leave mandate that the city council is considering.

Stimulating vibrant economic growth is what gives workers opportunities to find work that will give them the pay and benefits that they want-and the promotion of unfunded government mandates for business leads to less growth and fewer employment opportunities. And Council member Brewer who sponsors the sick leave bill (someone who is one of the most conscientious law makers we have in NYC) needs to recognize that the way to help the workers is to forcefully advocate for less regulation and lower taxes for the businesses that employ them.

Over the past nine years, taxes have been raised on retailers all over the city, while the Bloombergistas have stepped up the regulatory assault that has taken tens of millions of unnecessary penalty dollars out of the local cash registers. And while the city's overall economy is stronger than the national one, local small business is squeezed beyond belief-as City Room has visually documented: "Nearly a year after the Federal Reserve Bank of New York deemed the recession over, many small-business owners are still waiting for real signs of recovery. In this video, part of a series of articles and videos that have followed several small businesses in New York City since 2008, one gets a glimpse of how unevenly the economic rebound is playing out across the city and various industries,"

You can't advocate for more costly concessions from an already struggling small business community, while at the same time promoting the growth of a costly municipal government-the end result, as the NY Post reports, is to keep robust employment growth tamped down: "Angry small-business owners said yesterday that the City Council's mandatory paid sick-leave proposal will prevent them from adding new workers. John Bonizio, owner of Metro Optics Eyewear in The Bronx, employs 19 people in one of his three shops. He said the bill would deter him from hiring a 20th person because he would have to increase the number of paid sick days he provides to each worker from five to nine annually based on the legislation's definition of "small business" as having fewer than 20 workers. "I have a company with 19 employees. I will not hire one more," Bonizio said after a breakfast hosted by the Five Borough Chamber of Commerce yesterday."

From ObamaCare nationally, to paid sick leave locally, we have elected officials unmindful of the manner in which the golden goose can be cooked-and blithely, even arrogantly, ignorant of the way in which economic growth depends on the risk taking of entrepreneurs, and not on the waving of government pens.