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View From the Capitol: UnemploymentPosted Friday, June 15, 2012, at 11:38 AM
We learned this week that initial jobless claims continue to rise as the U.S. Department of Labor reported the number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits for the week that ended June 9th rose by 6,000 to 386,000. This depressing statistic follows the recent news that the number of jobs created in May was only 69,000 -- the fewest monthly total of jobs added in a year. This is yet another indication that President Obama demonstrated he is woefully out of touch with Main Street America when he claimed, "the private sector is doing fine." With small businesses having difficulty hiring and American consumers paying more for everything from groceries to gasoline it is clear the private sector is NOT doing fine.
I'll share a few examples of the tough economic experiences that so many people in Missouri's Fourth District and throughout the country are having to cope with:
1) The number of consecutive months in which the unemployment rate has been above the eight percent mark is now 40;
2) The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average unemployment rate since the President's stimulus package was signed into law is 9.2 percent;
3) The average number of weeks unemployed Americans are out of work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is 39.7;
4) The American Action Forum concludes the total cost of the Obama Administration's regulatory burden for 2012 stands at $110 billion;
5) According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Outlook Survey, the number of small business owners who say the President's health care law "is an obstacle to hiring more employees" is 73 percent.
Clearly, the private sector is NOT doing fine, but things can be turned around. The House has already passed 30 jobs bills that are being blocked by the Senate. I ask President Obama to help the private sector by calling on Senate Leader Harry Reid to stop blocking our common-sense jobs bills and to work with the House and small businesses to create the climate necessary to put unemployed Americans back to work.
As America awaits the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Constitutionality of President Obama's health care law, we read story after story of how businesses are having difficulty going along with the requirements of the legislation. The Sedalia Democrat recently reported a local company might have to drop health care plans if the law remains in place, forcing employees to accept a health care plan that covers less than the current plan the company offers.
The Dayton Daily News reports a Hamilton, Ohio business leader told House Speaker John Boehner it would cost her company thousands of dollars to comply with all the regulations in the national health care program. She is willing to pay a federal fine of $340,000 for non-compliance rather than try to deal with the red tape.
The New Hampshire Union Leader tells the story of a businessman expressing concern with the sheer complexity of the health care law and how it creates high cost and an unpredictable environment for investors.
No, the private sector is not doing well. My hope is that the Supreme Court will strike down the Obama health care law -- something that will clear up some of the uncertainties standing in the way of businesses hiring people and prospering. Keep watching. A ruling is expected by the end of this month. In the meantime, the House will continue to explore and advance legislation that would improve accessibility of health care and make it more affordable without a government takeover. That's what Americans want and that's what they deserve.
Have a great week.
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Vicky Hartzler is the U.S. representative for Missouri's 4th Congressional District. She was raised on a farm in Archie, and lives with her husband, Lowell and daughter, Tiffany, on a working farm in Cass County. She is a graduate of both the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1983 and Central Missouri State University (now University of Central Missouri) in 1992, graduating summa cum laude with a B.S. in Education from MU and a M.S. in Education from Central Missouri. For more information, visit http://hartzler.house.gov.
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