In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 30, 2009 / 9 Menachem Av 5769

Pay-or-play means more lost jobs

By Glenn Garvin

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I've heard of whistling while you work, but I think Max Baucus takes it too far. Baucus, the Montana Democrat who heads the Senate Finance Committee and will have a lot to say about the final shape of any health-care reform, says the new taxes Democrats are contemplating to pay for it are "interesting, they're creative, some are kind of fun."

I guess, if you think bankruptcy, layoffs and unemployment are kicky.

Those are the inevitable results if Congress goes ahead with the main idea being kicked around: the so-called play-or-pay provision that would require almost all businesses to either provide health insurance for their employees or pay a tax penalty of up to 8 percent of their payroll.

Much of the debate around health-care reform has floated in the philosophical stratosphere — whether it amounts to socialized medicine, whether it will lead to rationing, whether it's moral to force young, healthy workers into insurance plans to bring down premiums for everybody else.

But before we even get to that, shouldn't we ask a more fundamental question? At a time when American businesses are going bankrupt at a rate of 240 a day, when the unemployment rate is 9.5 percent and headed north, does it make sense to impose any new taxes on business? What if play-or-pay leads to a third option: taking your ball and going home?

Play-or-pay encourages just that — and worse yet, the burden is likely to fall on the workers that health-care reform was presumably intended to help, those at the bottom of the economic food chain.

Consider some numbers: Last year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average annual premiums for family coverage in employer-sponsored health insurance was $12,680. Under a play-or-pay law, a business would have to pay about 70 percent of that cost, or around $8,900. That's nearly the entire annual wages of a minimum-wage worker, which last year were $10,712.

If the cost of employing a worker were to suddenly double, a business would have to do something. One possibility is to raise prices — not likely in this economy. Another is to stop hiring and let attrition eat away at your workforce. (Obama's next campaign slogan: Recovery in 2013!) And a third is to fire him.

That's hardly an empty threat; companies are already dumping workers at a staggering rate. From December 2007 (which the government counts as the official start of the current recession) to June 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has recorded almost 40,000 layoffs that have put 4.1 million employees on the street.

It will be sadly ironic (or, I guess, "kind of fun" to Sen. Baucus) if several hundred thousand more join them as part of health-care reform. But when businesses realize it's cheaper to insure machines than people, that's what will happen. How many receptionists will be replaced with voice-mail systems? How many graphic-designers and bookkeepers will step aside for computer software?

How much more often will you call customer service and find yourself speaking with somebody in New Delhi? For that matter, how many low-skill service jobs will simply disappear, the way gas-station attendants and milkmen and elevator-operators did?

That's why the low-ball estimate of jobs lost to play-or-pay is 300,000 the first year; some economists predict it could be double that. And assuming the cost of health-insurance premiums continues to rise — a good bet; Kaiser says they've gone up four times faster than wages over the past decade — jobs will keep disappearing. Sorry, Sen. Baucus, but at the moment I don't think we can afford your kind of fun.

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Glenn Garvin is a columnist for the Miami Herald


07/16/09: OAS turns a blind eye to violations by left
07/02/09: Nothing so shocking about this coup
06/22/09: Libs' darling strikes out
06/03/09: Yes, America should read Sotomayor's speech in context
05/20/09: ‘Bloody’ mission goes awry
05/07/09: The problem is they aren't just goofin'
04/30/09: Why can't students say ‘guns’ in school?
04/08/09: When non-U.S. citizens vote
03/2e/09: Of course the AIG bonus boys — the ‘best and the brightest‘ — deserve their loot
03/12/09: No choice in Free Choice Act

© 2009, The Miami Herald Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services