Our View: Consequences
Posted: November 15, 2012
No sooner had President Obama been re-elected than we were told, with increasing frequency, that “elections have consequences.” There’s no disputing that statement — we’ve deployed the three-word verity ourselves — though it also behooves us to say that some of these consequences fall clearly in the “unintended” category.
Take the increasingly littered landscape of ObamaCare, for example. While the president was meeting this week with business community heavyweights about jobs — speaking on Fox News, senior correspondent Charlie Gasparino called it little more than a “photo op,” similar to the jobs “summit” of 2009 — the real action was taking place elsewhere, all across the country in fact, where CEOs of businesses large and small were responding to the election and to the imminent onslaught of ObamaCare diktats.
And how did they respond? By laying off workers. Yes, elections do have consequences — oblique and unintended, perhaps, but not totally unforeseen. If you recall, Doug Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, predicted last year that implementation of ObamaCare would result in the loss of 800,000 American jobs.
The day of such reckoning has arrived. Many business leaders, it must be said, hedged their bets and decided to wait out the election before making decisions geared to its outcome. As news from this past week has demonstrated, they’ve not waited long. No less than 45 businesses — among them such giants as Boeing, Hawker Beechcraft, U.S. Cellular, Husqvarna, Caterpillar, and Bristol-Myers — have announced layoffs.
Small businesses — potentially the hardest hit, given their smaller profit margins — have been no less active. Let’s just say the ranks of companies with fewer than 50 employees — the threshold for having to provide government-sanctioned health insurance — can be expected to grow. One recent “tweet” — “I own a small business . . . as of today. I will be laying off 10 of my 60 employees . . . Thanks ObamaCare” — may prove a clarion for an entire business class. And at a time when this nation desperately needs to be adding jobs, not subtracting them.
So, you want “consequences”? There they are.
Over the past week, a much-debated question has centered around the notion that this election may have sounded the death knell for “traditional America.” If by “traditional America” one means the characterization of the American Dream as a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage, then consider this: Has this “dream” been reduced, utterly downsized, to two part-time jobs and a bowl of Ramen noodles?