In addition to the policies described above, health care reform has also likely contributed to lower employment and output in the economy. By requiring all firms employing more than 50 workers to provide health insurance coverage, the Affordable Care Act has discouraged some firms from hiring workers, while giving other firms an incentive to reduce hours or lay off workers.
Finally, uncertainty about the future direction of the economy has resulted in fixed investment that is only 93 percent as high as it was in 2006. This uncertainty likely stems from a combination of recent bailouts, huge and unsustainable government deficits, Federal Reserve monetary policy and government regulation such as Dodd-Frank and health care reform. Investment is what makes workers more productive thereby driving economic growth.
Although some of the policies responsible for slow growth began before Obama took office, he has expanded those policies and added new ones as well. They must be reversed if the U.S. economy is going to again grow as rapidly as it did during most of the 2oth century. Such growth is vital both as a means to lift people out of poverty and to raise the revenue necessary to pay for Social Security and Medicare benefits to a growing population of retirees. Unfortunately, in the meantime, the lack of growth under Barack Obama during the last five years has been literally the worst of any president since World War II.
Dr. Tracy Miller serves as associate professor of economics and director of academic testing at Grove City College. He has been teaching at Grove City College since 1995. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago in 1986. He also holds a Master’s Degree in agricultural economics from Michigan State University and B.S. in forestry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.