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Morning Jay: The Wet Blanket

6:00 AM, Jul 22, 2011 • By JAY COST
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In addition to slow and uncertain revenue growth, contacts in this recovery are frequently citing a number of other factors that are impeding hiring. Prominent among these is the lack of clarity about the cost implications of the recent health care legislation. We've frequently heard strong comments to the effect of "my company won't hire a single additional worker until we know what health insurance costs are going to be." 

A recent Chamber of Commerce survey of small businesses found a large number listing Obamacare, new regulations, and high taxes as big challenges moving forward. In fact, a whopping 75 percent of respondents at least partially agreed with the statement, “the recent healthcare law makes it harder for my business to hire more employees.”

Democrats won't admit it publicly, but many of them surely recognize that all this is a huge problem for their party. When he won the nomination in 2008, Barack Obama took charge of a coalition that, thanks to the efforts of Bill Clinton, had won a measure of credibility with the business community for the economic boom of the 1990s. Clinton’s “New Democrat” approach had given the party a pro-business image, one that stood in stark contrast to, for instance, the “People Versus the Powerful” rhetoric of Walter Mondale in 1984.

Judging by the reactions of business people across the country, Obama has greatly damaged his party’s reputation as a pro-business party. He is easily the least business-friendly president since Harry Truman, the last national leader to pit one group of Americans against another so persistently. That is going to be a big problem for Obama next year, and subsequent Democratic leaders will have to work hard to rebuild the bridges that this president has clearly destroyed with American business.

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