O'Reilly And The Enduring Threat Of Uncertainty
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly is still blaming health care reform legislation for "uncertainty" that he warned is harming jobs growth - even after the Supreme Court issued a final ruling that the law is constitutional. Economists and small business owners have said that lack of demand, not uncertainty, has held back jobs growth.
O'Reilly On Supreme Court's Health Care Ruling: "Uncertainty" For Businesses "Continues"
O'Reilly On Supreme Court's Health Care Ruling: "The Uncertainty Continues, The Hiring Is Going To Be Blunted." Calling in to his Fox News show, which was being guest-hosted by Laura Ingraham, to discuss the Supreme Court's ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act, Bill O'Reilly said: "[F]or business, it's bad. Because the uncertainty continues, the hiring is going to be blunted, and the economy is going to be harmed." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 6/28/12]
But The Ruling Settled Much Of The Alleged Uncertainty For Businesses Over The Health Care Law
EPI: Health Care Ruling "Gives Clarity And Certainty" To Businesses. Elise Gould, economist and director of health policy research at the Economic Policy Institute, wrote that the Supreme Court's ruling upholding the health care law is "important because it gives clarity and certainty to states and private industry that they should start preparing for the main provision to kick in in 2014. It resolves any uncertainty that was felt throughout the country by the important players, and now provides the necessary push for its implementation." [Economic Policy Institute, Working Economics, 6/28/12 ]
Economist: As A Result Of Health Care Ruling, "There Is A Lot More Certainty About What The Rules [For Businesses] Are Going To Be." A June 28 Los Angeles Times article quoted Gerry Wedig, an economist with the University of Rochester's Simon School of Business, as saying that because of the health care ruling, "there is a lot more certainty about what the rules [for businesses] are going to be." From the Los Angeles Times:
To the surprise of many economists, Thursday's Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act doesn't further confuse what's going to happen next. That clarity might help businesses finally make some personnel and other moves, giving the economy a much-needed kick and President Obama one more thing to brag about, economists say.
"There is a perspective on the economy which is argued that laws of regulation have imposed a lot of uncertainty on businesses," said Gerry Wedig, an economist with the University of Rochester's Simon School of Business. "Now, there is a lot more certainty about what the rules are going to be. That might allow firms to move forward with their plans." [Los Angeles Times, 6/28/12 ]
Wall Street Journal: "Health Law Ruling Removes One Economic Uncertainty." A June 28 post on the Wall Street Journal's Real Time Economics blog titled "Health Law Ruling Removes One Economic Uncertainty" reported that the health care ruling "diminishes an important piece of uncertainty from the business landscape which could has been impeding business hiring or investing." From The Wall Street Journal:
Business executives might not like the health-care law, but at least they now know that they've got to live with it.
The Supreme Court's decision to uphold President Barack Obama's signature piece of legislation has one clear upside: It diminishes an important piece of uncertainty from the business landscape which could has been impeding business hiring or investing. Love it or hate it, it is now clearly the law of the land. [The Wall Street Journal, Real Time Economics, 6/28/12 ]
Boston Globe: Ruling "Provided" Businesses "A Measure Of Clarity In Their Health Care Calculations." On June 28, The Boston Globe reported that the health care ruling "provided" businesses "a measure of clarity in their health care calculations," citing medical device industry leaders. From The Boston Globe:
Businesses hate uncertainty. So many were heartened that the Supreme Court ruling Thursday, largely upholding the national health care law, provided a measure of clarity in their health care calculations -- though aspects of the clearer picture weren't entirely welcomed.
Overall, many said greater certainty makes it easier for them to move forward.
"I think it's good news for the biotech industry," said Richard Pops, chief executive of biotechnology company Alkermes Inc. in Waltham. "This was a highly engineered and negotiated law. If it had been struck down in whole or in part, it would have created a lot of uncertainty."
"Some employers were thinking, this whole thing could go down, we're not doing anything'" to comply with the law's requirements, said Alden Bianchi, a partner specializing in employee benefits at Boston law firm Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo. "Now it's full speed ahead. This is the law, it's constitutional, and it's going to go forward."
Like others who had supported the 2006 landmark Massachusetts health care law, James Roosevelt Jr., chief executive of Tufts Health Plan in Watertown, said the universal coverage benefits of that law will now be extended to uninsured people nationally.
"I think this was a great victory for the American people," Roosevelt said. "Overall, the Supreme Court has reached a decision that provides certainty for insurers and businesses, and establishes the principle that we're already comfortable with in Massachusetts: that of consumer protection and everyone paying their fair share." [The Boston Globe, 6/28/12 ]
If Any Uncertainty Remains, It's Because Republicans Are Pursuing Repeal Of Health Care Law
Gingrich Admits GOP Effort To Repeal Health Care Law "Guarantees That The Uncertainty Continues At Least Until November." On June 28, Newsmax reported that former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich admitted that Republican efforts to repeal the health care reform law "guarantee that the uncertainty continues at least until November":
The Supreme Court ruling in favor of President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul will do little to reduce the uncertainty that is preventing employers filling job openings, former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich predicted.
Instead that doubt will continue at least until November when voters will decide whether to install a Republican president and Congress that would repeal the law, he said in an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV.
Speaking from Italy, the former House speaker said, "Unless the Congress repeals it, it's going to be law. And unless Obama is defeated for president, it's going to be law.
"So that guarantees that the uncertainty continues at least until November.
"It also means that those businesses that have refused to hire people because of their fear of the cost of the mandates are going to continue to refuse to hire people." [Newsmax, 6/28/12 ]
CNBC: GOP Vow To Repeal Health Care Reform Continues Uncertainty, May Delay Hiring. From CNBC:
For American businesses, uncertainty over the health care law is anything but over.
When the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare on Thursday-including the individual mandate that forces most Americans to have insurance-it made the issue even more political, promising it ultimately will be decided in the November presidential election.
GOP candidate Mitt Romney vowed again Thursday to repeal the act if elected, while President Obama said he would move forward in implementing it.
That means businesses will have a hard time budgeting for health care costs and are likely to delay hiring even further.
The Supreme Court decision "increases the likelihood that businesses will continue to hold onto that cash to see how the election turns out," said Greg Valliere, chief political strategist at Potomac Research Group in Washington, D.C. "If Romney wins, he will overturn the Affordable Care Act within days of his inauguration on Jan. 20. Therefore, the reluctance of businesses to spend and hire will persist at least through the election." [CNBC, 6/28/12 , via Yahoo! Finance]
AP: Health Industry "Still Face[s] Uncertainty" Because "Republicans Want To Scrap The Law." From the Associated Press:
The Supreme Court's decision Thursday to uphold President Barack Obama's historic health care overhaul is expected to benefit nearly every corner of the health care industry by expanding coverage to millions of Americans. But it's not a slam dunk.
But the health industry -- and company stocks -- still face uncertainty, at least until the November's presidential election. Republicans want to scrap the law. [Associated Press, 6/28/12 ]
Economists And Small Business Owners Say Weak Demand Is The Main Problem With Jobs Growth
Wall Street Journal: Economists Say "The Main Reason U.S. Companies Are Reluctant To Step Up Hiring Is Scant Demand." The Wall Street Journal reported that according to surveyed economists, "[t]he reason U.S. companies are reluctant to step up hiring is scant demand, rather than uncertainty over government policies." From The Wall Street Journal:
The main reason U.S. companies are reluctant to step up hiring is scant demand, rather than uncertainty over government policies, according to a majority of economists in a new Wall Street Journal survey.
"There is no demand," said Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics. "Businesses aren't confident enough, and the longer this goes on the harder it is to convince them that they should be."
In the survey, conducted July 8-13 and released Monday, 53 economists -- not all of whom answer every question -- were asked the main reason employers aren't hiring more readily. Of the 51 who responded to the question, 31 cited lack of demand (65%) and 14 (27%) cited uncertainty about government policy. The others said hiring overseas was more appealing.
Some executives echoed the survey's central finding. [The Wall Street Journal, 7/17/11 ]
Economist Bruce Bartlett: "It's The Aggregate Demand, Stupid." In a post on the New York Times' Economix blog, former Reagan and George H.W. Bush policy adviser Bruce Bartlett wrote that the "only policy that will really help" stimulate growth and job creation is "an increase in aggregate demand":
Aggregate demand simply means spending -- spending by households, businesses and governments for consumption goods and services or investments in structures, machinery and equipment. At the moment, businesses don't need to invest because their biggest problem is a lack of consumer demand, as a July 21 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York documented.
The right policy can be debated, but the important thing is for policy makers to stop obsessing about debt and focus instead on raising aggregate demand. As Bill Gross of the investment firm Pimco put it recently: "While our debt crisis is real and promises to grow to Frankenstein proportions in future years, debt is not the disease -- it is a symptom. Lack of aggregate demand or, to put it simply, insufficient consumption and investment is the disease." [The New York Times, Economix, 8/16/11 ]
Gallup: 71 Percent Of Small Businesses List Demand As Main Reason They're Not Hiring. A Gallup survey of small businesses released on February 15 shows that 71 percent of small businesses that are not looking to hire new employees are holding back on hiring because there isn't enough demand to justify new hires. Dennis Jacobe, Gallup's chief economist, wrote:
Companies typically hold back on hiring when the economy is weak and when their operating environment is not providing sufficient revenues or cash flows. This appears to be the case right now, as the economy has been weak for more than four years.
[Gallup, 2/15/12 ]
To see more economists and small business owners stating that the main problem with jobs growth is weak demand, click here