Has the U.S. economy truly recovered?
President Obama insists it has. During his July 30th speech in Kansas, the President said “the crisis that hit near the end of my campaign, back in 2008, it would end up costing millions of Americans their jobs, their homes, their sense of security. But we have fought back. We have gotten back on our feet, dusted ourselves off. Today our businesses have added nearly 10 million new jobs in the past 52 months.”
The problem is, those new jobs aren’t the same ones we lost. A new report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors found that “jobs gained during the economic recovery from the Great Recession pay an average 23% less than the jobs lost during the recession.”
That implies $ 93 billion in lost wages.
This should surprise no one considering the size of the roadblocks government places in the path of wage and job growth. These are just a few:
- Health Care Costs. The Affordable Care Act’s burdensome requirements for full-time employees have incentivized employers to frequently hire two part-time employees to do the work of one full-time employee in order to keep costs low enough to stay in business. The effects of this practice were reflected in the July jobs report, which found an increase of 275,000 people who were working part-time because their hours were cut back or because they could not find full-time work.
- Growing Regulatory Burden. Since 2008 nearly 150,000 pages of regulations have been added to the Federal Register. The time, legal expertise, and money necessary to understand and comply with those rules rob business-owners of the resources they would otherwise spend on crucial aspects of their business – like employing people at a good wage.
- Tax Code Complexity. The tax code is now nearly 74,000 pages long. The Sage Accountants Usage Survey found that 74% of small businesses that utilize outside accountant services do so specifically because the code is too complex. This, too, requires employers to allocate time, money, and expertise to compliance, not employment.
It’s no wonder the economy hasn’t regained losses incurred during the Great Recession – employers and employees are buried under mountains of new rules that crush economic activity and make finding a job that pays well next to impossible.