Mark Caserta: Obama policies force dependence upon government
Life under the Obama administration has gotten very expensive for Americans -- on both sides of the ledger. The lack of good paying jobs combined with higher prices is literally changing the way America does business.
First, a look at the "income" side of the ledger.
At just under 63 percent, our nation's labor participation rate is the lowest it's been since 1978, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and is projected to continue to fall over the next decade. As the nation's workforce declines, the government safety net becomes comparatively filled with folks dependent upon government.
In fact, a record-setting 47 million people now depend on food stamps for sustenance, 13 million more than when Obama took office.
That metric alone should frighten all Americans.
Sadly, nearly 70 percent of the government's discretionary and non-discretionary spending goes to programs which frequently trap individuals and families in long-term government dependence, according to the "2013 Index of Dependence on Government" publication by The Heritage Foundation.
Understand many of these people are hard-working Americans who've simply become casualties of Obama's failing policies, which not only fail to provide a path out of poverty, but actually penalize success!
For those Americans fortunate enough to be working, the average workweek continues to decline with private, nonfarm payrolls now at 34.5 hours. I predict this weekly average will continue to fall as the Obamacare employer mandate kicks in requiring all businesses with over 50 full-time employees (employees who average 30 hours or more) to provide health coverage or pay a fine.
Frankly, this administration either doesn't understand or isn't willing to acknowledge the impending storm. Many employers will be financially forced to cap hiring below 50 employees, keep the employee's average hours below 30, or pay the fine -- whichever is least expensive. And with many of these jobs being low-paying retail positions, people will be forced into working multiple jobs simply to survive.
Now let's look at the "expense" side of the ledger.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in the U.S. was $1.83 the day before Obama took office. During his presidency it has risen over 96 percent to an average price last week of $3.68. And gasoline prices are a serious concern for individuals considering returning to the workforce versus staying home.
Retail food prices under the Obama administration are also skyrocketing due to commodity and fuel prices, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. From 2010 to 2011 alone, beef prices are up 10 percent, eggs and pork over 8 percent while fish and seafood are up over 6 percent, just to name a few staples.
Even a liberal should be able to understand that fewer good paying jobs combined with higher prices will result in increased dependence upon government, which in turn, will use the tax revenue from those employed to subsidize government programs supporting the unemployed -- sort of taking from those who "have" for those who "have not."
Hmm ... that sounds like redistribution of wealth.
Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.
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