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These Guys Just Don’t Have A Clue

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By now you’ve heard the news…the latest retreat from full enforcement of the laughably named “Affordable Health Care Act”.

For those of you who have learned to tune out the national discourse on this dismal piece of legislation, there was an especially onerous provision that mandated employer paid health care on every company that had fifty or more full time employees.  The definition of full time employees was someone who put in a thirty hour workweek.

Since small businesses are the engine that generate the bulk of new jobs in our economy, this was a bullet directly to the heart.  An entire cottage industry of consultants has sprung to life, to advise growing small business how to avoid the cap, by re-classifying employees into part timers (sliding under the thirty hour limit) and how to outsource projects to avoid hitting the 50 employee cap.

If someone had set out to diabolically derail our fragile recovery, this was the ideal course of action.

So what will be accomplished by pushing the phase in of the new limits back one year?  The best the administration could hope for is to lessen the damage from the November 2014 midterm elections,  hoping that the unemployment numbers would not drastically increase.

All of this makes perfect sense to an administration that is staffed to the gills with academics who have no significant real world work experience.  In their worldview, such inputs as labor are abstract symbols representing something they have never endured…i.e. working for wages in the competitive, free market economy.

There is another path in our brave new world of employment.  Teaching in protected, tenured faculties…drawing lucrative salaries from grant funded think tanks and charities…and serving as spear carriers in our vast legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.  This is a pool of talent that runs well into the tens of millions, and what they all have in common is that they are never tested in the crucible of the profit and loss economy.  Their jobs and salaries are essentially immune from turbulent market forces.

They cannot envision a world where the decision to hire is based on mid and long term projections of market share and ultimate profitability.  Their world is a bloodless landscape, where any shortfall can be funded by taxes, grants, and all other forms of legalized larceny that characterize the command and control portion of our economy, derived from aggressive rent seeking as opposed to commercial leadership.

They would have difficulty understanding that no business would base its long term survival on the sunsetting of a nasty piece of legislation, whether it takes place on January of 2014 or 2015.

This is not the first time they have been flummoxed by such short term patches.  The recovery from the devastating 2008 recession was needlessly placed in hazard by the timid, year by year extensions of the Bush tax cuts on income, dividends, capital gains, and estate taxation.

The underlying flaw is not difficult to discover.  Politicians live in a world where budgets are passed year to year.  There is no long term plan whatsoever.

They just don’t have a clue.

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