Kill health care reform, see hiring recovery?

June 23, 2011
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Want to see small businesses hire more people? A court decision shooting down health care reform would go a long way.

That’s an educated guess from Barbara Quandt, who leads Indiana’s office of the National Federation of Independent Business.

Quandt quickly qualifies her statement by emphasizing small companies face other headwinds, including pricey gas. But the thing the main street crowd overwhelmingly fears is uncertainty associated with health care reform.

Problem is, she says, health care costs continue spiraling upward instead of downward, as was promised when the legislation passed. That throws a lot of water on hiring intentions.

“Small-business owners are just not optimistic right now,” she says.

An optimism index based on NFIB’s ongoing surveys shows the index in retreat after a brief comeback early this year. The index stood at 90.9 in May, a little higher than where it was last summer. That’s still better than the recession low point of 81 in March 2009.

Reform doesn’t necessarily need to go away to bring back optimism among some of the most optimistic among us, she says, but something—nearly anything—pointing to certainty would help.

What about you? Is she right?

  • Duh?
    I think the author knows that the Affordable Care Act has not yet taken effect thus the bad old days of wild west insurance abuses are still with us. Ms. Quandt is also well aware of this and both are taking advantage of a very prudent time line of implementation to whip up some good old Republican fear.

    Does the uncertainty result from the law or fear mongering by the likes of the aforementioned?

    I grow weary of this whining about uncertainty. When was the time entrepreneurs operated in a climate of certainty?
    • Living the Nightmare
      As a small business owner I can tell you that this article hits home. I have never experienced the level of uncertainty (which paralyzes businesses)that this so called "Affordable" Care Act has caused. I just wish people could be honest for once instead of trying to fill some sort of agenda when making laws that affect ALL of us not just others who may think the same as the lawmaker in power at the time.
    • Why Invest?
      Why would any intelligent business person put capital at risk by buying equipment or hiring people when implementation of the Affordable Care Act is on the horizon?

      This is the most anti-business administration in history -- recent actions of the NLRB prove it. All the unions got their waivers already, so small buisness will bear the marginal cost of the millions of uninsured, whether here legally or otherwise.

      Most of us don't want European socialism -- it doesn't work. Ask the Greeks or the French. Most of us know that health care reform of some type is necessary, but until there is a more pro-business administration in place, we will sit on our cash.

      Green jobs? Hah! The battery operated car company just tanked. Wonder how much stimulus money went to its suppliers who won't get paid and thus also fail as a result.
      • Just a start
        It isn't only healthcare. The Obama administration is injecting socialism into this country through the regulatory agencies that he has stuffed full of left leaning bureaucrats. Suspend all the regulatory changes of the last 2 years and the projected ones. Put the NLRB on Gilligan's island for the next 2 years, and work out a realistic federal budget and the economy will start to boom. Barack Obama and the federal government is the economy's biggest problem. Not credit, not uncertainty, but in essence our elected government officials.
      • Security?
        Youth and enthusiasm have devestated business since the dawn of time. Having run my business in times of certainty I can assure you that the availability of captial and the acceptance of markets for products allowed consumers and business owners alike to prosper. Perhaps you were alive in the late 1980's-at that time the .gov was focused on growing our economy and as such tax's were lowered to offer all of us the opportunity to manage our own monies. At the same time the .gov focused on regulating business in a manner that was conducive to expansion and investment. If you were not alive at that time I can except your opinion as you have never experienced that security.
      • Business Investments Need to be Re-Couped
        I realize everyone has different opinions, but your inputs seem a little one-sided. If you have never attempted to be an entrepreneur, I know it can be difficult to understand the investment that is required, and above all the commitment to make a business solvent. But clearly, health-care investment can be a significant cost outlay for any business and consequently, the anticipated or even unanticipated costs associated with it can be a significant deterrent to either starting or expanding current business options. If you don't believe this premise, you might put together a mock business plan for any enterprise you might consider, and see what the numbers look like.
      • Duh?
        None of the posters have answered my question.

        There is no certainty - ever.

        As for availability of capital, You can blame Republicans for crashing the economy and theft of treasury to cronies and war profiteers.

        As for regulation, I submit that we should drink sludge and breath poison.

        As for youth and enthusiasm, ...Not much of that here.

        I never cease to be baffled by Indiana business people being flimflammed by right wing falsehoods and propaganda.

        I vote for a demand side economy. Customers could then possibly buy SmallBIZ products.
        • Duh?
          Mike Noone:

          I'll be sure to include the giant spectrum of unanticipated costs into my mock business plan.

          Do you want healthy employees?
        • Thanks for voting for "demand side"
          Thanks for voting for and defending "demand side" economics, as a small business owner I am also baffled by those flim flammed by leftwing falsehoods such as "demand side". Feeling the change here my friend-feeling the change.
          • Duh?

            What you feel are the effects of dubya's great recession and like your compatriots, you are straining to blame the wrong guy.

            ...Demand side economics a left wing falsehood - Hmm? Capital follows demand. If capital created demand, there would not be 8 to 10 trillion reserved in the hands of the largest global corporations. ...Still waiting for that to trickle down?

            SmallBIZ needs to differentiate itself from transnational corporate interests.

            SmallBIZ needs demand - otherwise known as customers.

          • Common Sense
            Wow. Thin-skinned intellectual incompetents on a business board. I will infer from the complete lack of understanding of the psychology of investing that young Mark (young in spirit at least, right? I'm guessing you're a Jerry Garcia fan) has never had to decide whether or not to expand a business, or hire or fire people.

            The simple reality is that the higher the uncertainty, the higher the potential reward must be for investment to take place. With Obama we have not only the risk of unaffordable health insurance mandates--which will actually cause many small businesses to drop coverage which is currently offered, DECREASING coverage--but the certainty at some point of higher taxes, and the present reality of intrusive and incompetent bureaucratic intrusion into the business world.

            High risk, low reward equals companies holding on to capital rather than wasting it. The same thing happened in the Great Depression, when that generations Boy Wonder enacted--often by fiat--what was quite literally an economic Fascism. I use that term clinically: the first guy put in charge of the New Deal--Hugh Johnson--was a fan of Mussolini. How many of you knew that?

            Please stop calling this Health Care Reform. It is nothing of the sort. It is a take-over of the process by which the provision of health care is paid for. That is a totally different animal. It is a plain attempt to reduce the economic freedom of Americans in directing our own health care.

            Here is what I believe is the shortest and clearest treatment of what is ACTUALLY wrong with our system:

            Ten paragraphs. None of the formerly relevant media were able to come up with anything this clear in years of trying.
          • Legalize Inter-State competition
            One other thing, that I neglected to mention: all reputable insurance carriers need to be allowed to sell in all states. You have states like Maine and Alabama where the insurance companies have cozy relationships with regulators, meaning that they have in effect achieved a protected monopoly, and are able to charge accordingly. Free markets only work when they are free. As obvious as that should be, there is no fact which cannot be spun downward into darkness by a talented fool.

            The Commerce Clause exists specifically to prevent this sort of thing, which amounts to Inter-State protectionism.
          • While we're at it
            Let me point out that before Keynes "demand side" economics was called "economics". There were those who called on a moral basis for redistribution of income, but nobody seriously claimed that overspending by the government could create a sustainably prosperous private sector.

            Keynes was plainly a Fabian--one of the first people he wrote when he finished his "General Theory" was George Bernard Shaw, bragging about the long term, gradualistic, creeping effects it would have--and his system intended to bankrupt, not save, any and all Capitalistic nations foolish enough to fall for his silly word games.

            That case is made here:
          • * crickets, crickets *
            Barry-using facts to back up you position is clearly a tactic that is not allowing for follow up from this "demand side" conversation. Small biz needs customers-you know the kinds w/money in hand in need of goods and services. "Demand side" will be the answer-right? :)
          • Playground Bullies
            Forgive me for a lengthy post but there is much to respond to here and the conversation is splintering. I will try to address some salient points

            When I originally attempted to debunk the premise of this article and inject some truth into the discussion, I did not anticipate a reactionary attack by a gang of playground bully ideologues so let’s go back.

            First some facts about the ACA:

            …Job killing for SmallBIZ?


            there are no mandates for SmallBIZ. It rather depends on your definition of SmallBIZ but under Dubya, corporations with hundreds of thousands of employees qualified for that moniker.

            …On waivers.


            I don’t know how unions entered into this discussion aside from an expression of anti-labor bias. Unions collectively bargain for their health benefits then democratically vote on a contract so this process is largely unaffected by the ACA. For SmallBIZ it is also somewhat of a non-issue especially in Indiana. This article was after all a discussion about employment so anti-labor bias is rather antithetical to the premise.

            I don’t think that the Annenberg Public Policy Center can be accused of being your lefty loon source.

            …On uncertainty.

            Claims of uncertainty about the ACA are spurious. As it is enacted law, it is easily business planned.

            This is from the Henry Kaiser Family Foundation - also not exactly part of the communist plot. I recommend this Site to anyone who honestly wants to plan for ACA implementation.


            …On Taxes.

            Don’t even get me started about the viral phony 3.8 percent real estate tax email that the little creepy crawly internet critters are spreading because I will shoot that big lie down quicker than Charlie White can change his voter registration.

            Now some facts about government spending and debt:

            These two links are from Liberal sources but facts are facts.



            If Congress does nothing



            I am not an economist and guess that most of my detractors are not either. That stated, I did not want to get into those weeds.

            My bad for using the phrase “demand side economics”. I never mentioned Keynes. I also don’t think that Keynes coined that phrase or ever used it. He did use the term “aggregate demand”.

            I would say that we suffer from a crisis of aggregate demand. In other words, nobody has any freaking money because the Republicans let the banksters rip us off.

            Let me get this straight. Republicans are telling us that we now need to double down on the policies that got us into this mess and that will somehow magically get us out. If you are in a hole, stop digging.

            What the hell does Jerry Garcia have to do with the price of tea in China. Oh well. I guess I’ll just take my tinfoil hat and go home to Mama.
            • Stop the Madness
              Stop BLAMING one side or the other. Is anyone interested in solving the problem? There are many intelligent persons who can take the right course and do what needs to be done for this country. Let's face it everyone will need to compromise if we truly want a solution. If some of the people in this country are so unhappy with Capitalism nothing is stopping them from leaving to live in a country that might suit their beliefs better. Maybe Obama should move to the 57th state.
            • Really?
              Why is it that when the issue of capitalism is discussed Obama is referred to in a less than attractive way?
              I know Diane is not blaming anyone. :)
            • Not about Obama
              Sorry, but I think this has devolved to partisan BS.

              Cost uncertainties for health care have been around for a very long time before health care reform.

              It's been the double digit premium increases, co-pays, poor coverage, and premium participation that has hit small business owners particularly hard. It's difficult to attract talent when employees can't afford to take a job at a entrepreneurial start-up because of the insurance. At least with health care reform there's more of a level playing field.

              As for regulations - I think that the laissez faire economics prior to the Obama administration speak for themselves. Keep in mind virtually every regulation came about because of an abuse. I'd be happier if the market was more self-regulating.

            • Wrong again
              If you read outside the cornfield, like Forbes,you will see that quite the contrary. Small businesses are taking the tax credit for offering health care to their employees.

            • silly
              This is a silly discussion. Last time I checked, small businesses only hire when they NEED to. Not because of health care or any other reason. If any business owner is hiring/not hiring people based on the health care law, and not business necessity, they will probably fail. I love the concept that lower taxes will make companies hire more freely. Are any companies hiring people they don't NEED? Of course not. If they are, they will fail, health care or not, high taxes or low.

              The health care law was put into effect because the system is flawed. Someone posted an analogy comparing healthcare to car service. One problem, what about the people that can't pay? Its fine if someone can't afford to get their car fixed, but if they can't afford to get their lung/leg/other body part fixed, what happens? The health care INSURANCE reform bill is supposed to answer that question. The health care insurance status quo was and is unacceptable. Here's hoping the watered down changes enacted by this administration will help those of us in the most need. Remember, the alternative was (still is actually) health care costs rising around 10% PER YEAR. Therefore, without health care insurance reform, companies wouldn't be able to afford to insure their employees anyway. Think things through people instead of listening to big business and right wing talking points.
              • NFIB and Health Care.
                NFIB and the Republican Party have become a pawn of the Health Care Insurance Industry. We had to drop our membership in NFIB because of this stand and other positions {anti-worker} they have taken several years ago. It is so short sighted. I always felt our small business employees were our greatest asset and we want only the best for them.
              • Why?
                Employers may not hire if they don't need to, but they sure as heck fire when costs are too high. Just make everyone who is left work harder and produce more. The result of high health care and regulatory compliance costs is fewer jobs. That's a concept that is easily seen by anyone who actually works for a non-government entity.
              • Uncertainty fairy
                Were it not for one government program or another, what would feckless business owners blame for their lack of innovation and vision? With billions in hoarded investment dollars gathering dust, a first year econ student could tell that consumer demand, not the prospect of the U.S. progressing beyond an antiquated, highly inefficient and unnecessarily expensive health care delivery system, is the principle cause for companies not bringing on more workers.

                It's time that small businesses stop hiding behind the uncertainty fairy and start rethinking their blind opposition to effort that would put disposable income into their customer's hands - and into their own company's accounts.
              • Who?
                What administration do you refer? Mitch Daniels? Mayor Ballard's? All good GOP's with steady hands on things. What is there to worry about for heavens sakes?
                • Health Care Certainty
                  As an ex small business owner, I can tell you that the certainty that I faced for the last 10 years was that health care was going to go way up year after year. I had to cut benefits which hurt retention and hurt business. So, are we ready to trade a little temprorary uncertainty for the certainty of a consistently worsening situation?
                • Uncertainty Fairy
                  I am glad to see that some more reasonable and honest voices have joined the discussion.
                • Customers
                  Any Small Business who says they are delaying hiring because of uncertainty over of the Affordable Health Care act is flat-out lying. Small business hires on the basis of customer demand and fires based on lack thereof.

                  There are no other considerations. The only consideration is the is the needs of old and new customers alike. That's what drives hiring decisions. To blame that on an act that really doesn't take place until 2014 is absolute nonsense.
                  • Really....
                    Don Burnstein's approach is potnetially accurate for a very small business but not so much for a business of 30 people looking to expand 20-25%. I am not in Don's shoes but in looking to expand here by approximately 20-25% in the next 3 years the cost of health care for associates is a real deciding factor and has inhibited accurate costing models till allow for financing. At this point I would be financially better positioned to drop all health care and have everyone sign up for the .gov program.

                    Cliff notes-I disagree w/Don.

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