The House is starting the year going backwards

The United States House of Representatives — where little got done last year besides mind-numbingly acrimonious hot air being blown back and forth — will start the year with three jobs bills.

The first, which is the most wearisome with its revoltingly patriotic title, is called the Hire More Heroes Act. It is an attack on the Affordable Care Act (dubbed Obamacare) and proposes to remedy the situation which has apparently seen many small businesses “to hold off hiring and even to shed jobs in some cases.” The quotation is reportedly from a CNBC report. The Hire More Heroes Act is supposed to make it easier to hire war veterans by allowing them to be exempted from the employee limit if they have healthcare plans through the Department of Defense or Veterans Affairs.

While accepting that it will be a good thing regardless if more veterans get into work, it is troubling that the case for this law change seems to be on the basis of a Gallup Poll. The poll suggests that there may be fear on the part of some small businesses when it comes to the affects of the ACA, and the CNBC article (which is here) makes the point that the small business growth could slow if the fears are reasonable.

What we have then is a law proposed on the basis of sheer conjecture. Such enthusiasm on behalf of the House to legislate from suggestion tells me that Obama’s veto stamp will need much ink if he’s to stop the reams of preposterous paper being added to the statute books.

The second piece of hogwash is the Save American Workers Act which proposes to repeal the provisions of Obamacare that require hours to be kept at a maximum of thirty per week. Oh the pain such socialism has caused to the 2.6 million workers, 63% of them women, who earn less than $30k and could see their hours and wages cut. Such is the case behind the bill that would restore the old 40-hour working week. Sound good? Well it is actually complete manure.

The 30 hour restriction under Obamacare is for part-time workers. I believe it is intended to make it harder for employers to pay workers less for doing what is effectively full-time work. So it is actually a very good thing, and requires that small businesses — the backbone of the economy the republicans are always honking on about — to pass on the rewards of growth to the hard-working folk at the bottom of the employment ladder. When I see titles like Save American Workers Act, I automatically probe it for how it may inflict the reverse effect on society. In this case the proposed aim and the real effect are the antithesis of each other. Another veto is almost certain.

The last measure announced by Speaker Boehner is Approving the Keystone Pipeline, a project that has drawn significant controversy for its environmental impact, and modest job creation. The GOP accuse the President of putting his own political interests ahead of the jobs and increased energy security for the American people. They are obviously implying that he is bending to the environmental lobby and groups like the Sierra Club. But the GOP doing more than bending to the oil and gas lobby by acting as a pimp for, and a prostitute of the leviathans of old energy.

Moreover, the GOP has managed to expedite the pipeline at all three of its earlier stages. Construction started in 2008, and the pipeline runs from Canada to Louisiana via the Mid-West. It is therefore already running, and Obama is resisting the final stage, which puts a loop through California. The republicans to like to claim that the President won’t let anything get done, but how fatuous is this claim when it comes to the Keystone Pipeline! Ultimately, Obama has said he will likely veto the approval, so the exercise of drawing it up- is a little silly.

So this is how the year begins for John Boehner, with three bills that will be vetoed if they pass, and a difficult task of getting the vetoes overturned. He’s like an orange Don Quixote, tilting at ridiculous windmills. Except he draws a salary funded by all Americans. How expensive silliness can sometimes be.

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