What to Do About High Unemployment? Make Labor More Expensive!


At the American Spectator, Phil Klein explains the dangers of the House health-care reform bill's employer mandate, which requires employers to provide health insurance to their employees:

For full-time workers, business will have to contribute at least 72.5 percent toward individual health insurance policies, and 65 percent for family policies. For part-time workers, the required percentage would be based on a proportion of how many hours they worked relative to the hours worked by a full-time employee. The exact proportion would be determined, once again, by the Health Choices Commissioner, in conjunction with the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Any employer with a total annual payroll of over $500,000 that does not meet these requirements will be subject to a new tax, which reaches as high as 8 percent once payroll reaches over $750,000.

The National Federation of Independent Business has estimated that an employer mandate would cost 1.6 million jobs over the first five years, and cut GDP by $200 billion. Whether or not you choose to believe that estimate, it's clear that taken together, the provision would make it far more costly for businesses to hire new workers and maintain current staffing levels, by raising the price of labor as well as the regulatory burden.

According to this chart from Google's public data, unemployment is currently hovering around 9.5 percent. Yet, in pursuing an employer mandate, House Democrats are pushing a policy that would pretty plainly make labor more expensive. 

NEXT: Paper Gowns, Fender Benders, and Gender Equality

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Yo, fuck House Democrats.

    1. That’s what you get for voting “D”
      That’s what you get for voting “D”
      Everything you had is gone, as you can see…
      That’s what you get for voting “D”

  2. Man, we’re going to have unintended (and intended) consequences galore if anything passes. Are the Democrats completely deluded now, evil, or stupid beyond belief? They’re making the GOP look less bad on a daily basis, and that’s really saying something. Maybe we should just demote the Democrats to the minor leagues and let the Libertarian Party act as the other major party.

    1. I would agree with PLs comment with something like

      No shit. We opposed close to everything GWB did in office without proposing a myriad of other stupid shit ideas.

      but, like I’ve said before –
      so I won’t.

      1. I don’t see no stinkin’ threads.

    2. Are the Democrats completely deluded now, evil, or stupid beyond belief?


  3. The price of a burger flipper is going up 8%. Well, we tax things that we wish to discourage. That would apparently include unskilled and minimally skilled labor.

    1. And burgers. Those will get more expensive. While personally I’m ok with that–not being a cow eater–I’m also well aware that EVERYTHING will summarily become more costly.

      This might also be a left-headed attempt at combating deflation by inflating costs, but that’s being charitable to their wrongheaded plans, I think.

  4. What we plainly need is government-mandated staffing levels. And wage controls. And price controls.

    1. I don’t know about you, but I think a government camera in my bedroom is essential, lest I be tempted into enjoying some blessed sodomy.

  5. According to this chart [link above] from Google’s public data, unemployment is currently hovering around 9.5 percent.

    According to Shadowstats, it is actually hovering on 21% national unemployment.


  6. In fact, if the government owned all the means of production, we could really whip this economy into shape!

  7. According to this chart from Google’s public data, unemployment is currently hovering around 9.5 percent.

    According to Shadowstats.com, unemplyment is actually as high as 21%, nationally, which sounds more likely.

  8. If J sub D had been able to respond favorably to my post, I would post something in response now. Unfortunately, this new system has prevented him from doing so.

    Adnotatiunculae bilicis delenda est.

  9. When is Obama going to appoint a Czar who will tell us how many tractors and sturdy women’s undergarments to produce next year?

    The marketplace is in chaos without this guidance! Help us Obamawan! You’re our only hope!

    1. Is it the undergarments that are sturdy, or the women?

        1. I need a Five Year Plan to plot the trajectory of my productive life if I am to be a significant contributant to majestic success of the Homeland.

          Join me, comrade! You too can be an efficient quantum of productive energy!

  10. If the Democrats somehow hold on in 2010, Obama is going to present to America a Five-Year Plan. It’s going to be so awesome!

  11. 5-year plans are so bourgeoisie, so last millennia.

    Time to man up and offer a 5-century plan. It’ll take that long for all the unintended effects to shake out of the system anyway.

    1. Well, it depends on what you mean by “shake out of the system”.

      Could be more like five *days*. 8-(

      1. Any more than a couple of shakes is playing with it.

    2. A five-century plan is so awesome, so Audacious(TM) in its Hope(R) for Change(TM), that I propose that we proactively lobby (that is, threaten) the dictionary publishers to rename the one-hundred-year period from a “century” to an “obama”.

      Think of the majestic heavenliness of it!

      The Five-Obama Plan.

  12. Man, we’re going to have unintended (and intended) consequences galore if anything passes. Are the Democrats completely deluded now, evil, or stupid beyond belief?

    I think many of the Democrats sincerely believe that having people not covered by health insurance is immoral, and are willing to do whatever it takes to end that perceived immorality by having government finish taking over health care.

    This, of course, is a set of beliefs that is arguably compatible with being delusional and/or stupid.

    And I’m guessing that out of 535 or so Congresscritters, a fair number of them are evil.


  13. The game, of course, is to force people out of the private system altogether, in order to consolidate control in Washington.

    That is a goal that this bill will achieve very nicely indeed.

    As for the lost jobs and damaged health care system, well, omelette, eggs, etc.

  14. I understand that Paul Krugman is planning on helping Obama with a so-called Seldon Plan, which lasts a full millennium! It apparently not only governs economics but in fact dictates what we as a society will do in all regards!

    1. [Laughs to himself]

      1. Hey, dude, you only win temporarily.

  15. Yet, in pursuing an employer mandate, House Democrats are pushing a policy that would pretty plainly make labor more expensive.

    You know what would fix this (you know you do!)? A “job-creation” tax break!

    Faster and faster, in ever-decreasing circles, until we disappear up our own collective asshole.

  16. Here’s my problem. How many people are really without access to healthcare? Even leaving aside the total access we have to emergency rooms? I keep thinking about me skipping health insurance for the middle of my 20s. I figured I could get away with it. Looking back, that seems like pretty risky behavior, but it was a choice I made. I bet if you took out the people making similarly temporary choices (unemployed people skipping the COBRA, people who want to spend their money on something else, etc.), the number of uninsured would go very low indeed.

    In any event, the figures being tossed around as the justification for this draconian deformation of what’s left of the free market in medical services are purest fiction. We need regulatory reform on the state and federal levels, but it isn’t at all what’s being peddled to us in DC right now. Without deception about access to healthcare, the proposed “reform” would be politically impossible. Something’s seriously wrong with the “reform” when the whole justification is based on lies.

    There are real problems with healthcare today, but most of those stem from too much government involvement, not too little.

  17. House Democrats are pushing a policy that would pretty plainly make labor more expensive.

    Of course we are! More money is spent on the laborers, thus stimulating the economy.


  18. “More money is spent on the laborers lobbying, thus stimulating the economy Congress.

    1. Duh

      1. You know what would be cool? To have a chip installed in your brain that would make it impossible to see, hear, or in any way perceive Nancy Pelosi.

        1. Tempting, but your ignore function is Pelosi’s gain.

          1. Whose gain?

  19. Another way of looking at this is that it will bring about large-scale wage stagnation. I am sure that years of flat wages was factored in to projections on payroll taxes and Social Security and Medicare benefits when those models were developed decades ago.

    As we move from unintended to unimaginable consequences the ways that this will screw up the economy have not even begun to be quantified.

  20. What would be even cooler would be to implant a chip in Nancy Pelosi’s brain which would cause her to take on the behavioral characteristics of a pigeon.

    Or we could always just use the exploding one.

    1. Wait a minute…

      Nancy Pelosi has a brain???

  21. I’m in. I remember a certain Democratic apologist telling me how great a choice Pelosi was for Speaker, while I insisted that she was a partisan dingbat.

    1. I would add to PLs comment with something like

      You’ve got to admit that she’s cleaned up the corruption in the House of Representatives.

      Oh wait …

      but, like I’ve said before –
      so I won’t.

      1. She’s the worst Speaker in a long, long time. And that’s saying something.

  22. Regarding Pelosi: they all want cake.

    Just ponder the fact that this woman has way more money, power, and influence than any of you will likely ever have. And she’s a fucking Mongoloid. Wait, whoa, stop slitting your wrists, dude.

    “Mongoloid/she was a Mongoloid
    Happier than you and me
    Mongoloid/she was a Mongoloid
    One chromosome too many”

  23. Look, we all know that Pelosi is an idiot. What’s distressing is not only that she can muster the votes to remain in office–fine, her district has a disproportionate number of political and economic morons–but that the Democratic leadership thought she’d be a good and representative choice to be the Speaker of the House. Third in line for the presidency. In many ways, the public face of the Democratic party.

    Against stupidity the very gods
    Themselves contend in vain.

    1. The barrel of this here pistol is looking tastier by the minute.

  24. Pelosi is no garden-variety idiot; she’s the monkley who sat down at the typewriter and excreted Hamlet.

    1. Racist. And poor spelling.

  25. The lunatics are in charge of the asylum.

    (I’ve got this in a note on my desktop for easy cutting and pasting. What’s amazing is how relevant it is to just about every thread on every political blog these days!)

  26. I like Pelosi. Tastes like chicken.

  27. “Two other members of the advisory council have resigned in protest of Nutt’s sacking

    Sounds like something Anderson Cooper would say while covering a tax protest…

  28. Wrong thread…

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.