Last week, the May BLS employment report was released and a whopping 38k jobs, 25k in the private sector were created. Even accounting for the effects of the Verizon strike, this was just half of the anemic projections and well short of the historic average recovery of over 320k jobs. Particularly damning is the actual percentage of Americans gainfully employed plummeted to 62.6 percent, or put another way, 95 million Americans are no longer in the workforce in any capacity. These are near forty-year record low levels.
In this morning’s The Hill newspaper, the headline that caught my attention was “Obama to Aggressively Pursue 2016 Regulations Agenda.” At ABA we have been fighting this aggressive regulatory agenda the past six and a half years. What The Hill illustrates is the grand scope of the Obama regulatory agenda. Specifically,
“In recent weeks, the administration has issued a flurry of new rules to expand overtime pay to millions of Americans, combat climate change with stronger standards for methane emissions and protect senior investors with new requirements for financial advisers.”
This is on top of 42 new food safety regulations, the Nutrition Facts Panel rewrite, EPA CO2 and refrigerant rules, a rule that forces employers to disclose outside consultants they hire to counter workers’ union organizing efforts, raising the minimum wage for federally-contracted employees, and on and on… The Hill’s article illustrates the broad damage inflicted on the nation’s economy:
“(the) American Action Forum estimates that another $113 billion in costs will come from the regulations Obama plans to issue in his final months. … there are 14 new economically significant rules in the agenda, 10 of which are due to be issued in August. Economically significant rules are those that carry an economic impact of $100 million or more.”
According to the conservative Heritage Foundation, in its recent report on the cost of federal government regulation, “The Obama Administration is responsible for an unparalleled expansion of the regulatory state, with the imposition of 229 major regulations since 2009 at a cost of $108 billion annually (using the regulatory agencies’ own numbers). The actual costs are far greater, both because costs have not been fully quantified for a significant number of rules, and because many of the worst effects—the loss of freedom and opportunity, for example—are incalculable.”
Is it any wonder – that if the Obama Administration’s regulatory agenda has resulted in $756 billion in lost economic opportunity – that record high numbers of Americans are out of work? With almost 40 percent of Americans no longer contributing to the economy, it is perfectly clear why the country, including the baking industry, is not experiencing growth. It also is no wonder that 70 percent of Republicans and 62 percent of Democrats are not happy with the direction of the country, which helps to explain why Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are doing so well politically. Our political leaders ignore the economy at their own peril.