Last month, my fellow Chicagoan sent to Congress his latest misguided plan to bolster the U.S. economy. In his speech announcing the American Jobs Act, the president declared, without equivocation, that the bill was all or nothing. “No games. No politics. No delays," he said, adding that he would veto any changes made by Republican lawmakers.
In his effort to perpetuate the myth that government creates jobs, Obama performed some deft slight-of-hand. For instance, he failed to mention the fact that his $450 billion jobs bill will be funded by the largest tax increase in history, coming to a W-2 near you in 2013. He also breezed over the parts of a Buy American provision that are more likely to disrupt manufacturers’ supply chains and anger trading partners than protect jobs.
Just when I thought the reckless resurgence of Taxulationism couldn’t get any worse, I learned of yet another reason that, when it comes to the jobs bill, Congress should opt for nothing instead of all. It turns out that Obama’s American Jobs act contains another hidden provision, one that would allow unsuccessful job applicants to sue if they think a company denied them a job because they were unemployed.
You read that correctly. If you’re unemployed, go apply for a job. If you don’t get it, sue.
If that’s his idea of a carrot, I don’t want to see the stick.
There are 14 million people officially out of work in this country. Six million Americans are considered long-term unemployed. The average duration of joblessness is now 40 weeks, the highest in more than 60 years. These are our friends, our family members, our neighbors—the overwhelming majority of whom are capable and talented people.
And as a small businessman, I can’t interview a single one of them. The President of the United States has threatened me with litigation if I decide they’re not a good fit.
I own a few small companies, all of which have been getting by on skeleton crews for a while now. I’m not alone: layoff rates have dropped nationally, largely because there simply aren’t many more places we can make cuts. I absolutely want to hire—and I’m sure other business owners do too. But the socialist policy coming out of the Oval Office has made it impractical and borderline impossible.
Just for argument’s sake, though, let’s say that I did find a way to bring on one or two new people. I made it through the spider web of Dodd-Frank and digested the uncertainty of Obamacare and am ready to add some staff. Now I have to worry about being sued by any unsuccessful candidates for those positions?