President Obama inherited a bad economy. Yet, we are now almost five years into his presidency, and too many Hoosiers still struggle to find a good paying job.
This week, the Associated Press released a study showing the gap between America’s highest and lowest income families is wider than it ever has been. According to the study, unemployment among low income families—those making less than $20,000—now tops 21 percent. This figure nearly matches the rate for all workers during the 1930s Great Depression.
Unfortunately, the President’s policies are making matters worse. Middle income workers are getting pushed into lower wage jobs, displacing the working poor. The average length of time on unemployment for U.S. workers is almost 40 weeks—its highest level since World War II. Today, a record 46 million Americans live in poverty.
Despite the clear need to create jobs, the President’s programs often erase them. He has proposed raising taxes, increasing spending, hiking borrowing, and adding new regulations, all of which discourage economic growth and deter employers from hiring more workers. Overall unemployment remains too high. Many have simply stopped looking for work altogether. We must to do better.
Instead, the President is driving forward with the launch of his prize achievement—ObamaCare. This bad law hurts the very people who need the most help in this struggling economy. The Indiana Department of Insurance estimates that ObamaCare will cause insurance rates in Indiana to increase as much as 72 percent for those with individual plans. Part-time teachers and other school personnel throughout Indiana are already having their hours cut so schools can avoid ObamaCare taxes. Retail and restaurant workers are having their hours cut too. Some are losing their jobs altogether. Small businesses are taking a “wait and see” approach and refusing to hire new employees. The result is a mess for everybody.
Some might be willing to accept these results if the promises made to justify enactment of ObamaCare had been kept. But far too many people are losing their health care, even though they were told they could keep their coverage if they liked it. The average family premium has grown by more than $3,000 since 2008, even though significant savings were promised. Taxes are going up, though the President said no one making more than $250,000 would see their taxes increase.
Simply put, ObamaCare is not working. That’s why I’ve cosponsored a resolution that will fund important government programs while delaying ObamaCare for a year. This will ensure normal government operations and shield individuals from this failed experiment while efforts to put people in charge of their health care continue. The government should remain open, and we should protect the American people from ObamaCare. This resolution does both.
My hope is that this delay will give us the opportunity to make common sense health care reforms. Healthcare costs are out of control. But, the federal government should not be interfering with the most personal decisions in the lives of the American people. We need reforms that bring costs down and return health care decisions to patients, families and doctors, so that they, not government, can make choices rooted in compassion and common sense.
Luke Messer is the Congressman for Indiana’s 6th Congressional District, a 19 county region of east-central and southeastern Indiana comprised of manufacturing and agricultural communities.