Posts Tagged obamacare

This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: National School Choice Week


Radio Program Schedule for the week of January 24, 2015 – January 30, 2015

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from PAIndependent.com
  • Lowman Henry talks about National School Choice week with Otto Banks of the REACH Alliance and former NFL player Ricky Watters
  • Joe Geiger has Peter Stinson of Operation Home Front in the Community Benefit Spotlight
  • Beth Anne Mumford of Americans for Prosperity-PA has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on the legislature getting down to business.

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Shawn DuBravac of the Consumer Electronics Association about digital security
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on the latest Supreme Court challenge to Obamacare
  • Eric Boehm of Watchdog.org and Lindsay Burke of the Heritage Foundation have a Watchdog Radio Report on President Obama’s plan for free community college
  • Col. Frank Ryan, USMC (Ret.) has an American Radio Journal commentary on a failure of leadership in the wake of Ferguson

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Challenges Facing the New Governor


Radio Program Schedule for the week of November 22, 2014 – November 28, 2014

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  •  Eric Boehm has news headlines from http://www.PAIndependent.com
  • David Taylor from the PA Manufacturers Association hosts a Capitol Watch look at the old challenges facing the new governor with Gene Barr from the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry and Neal Lesher from the PA Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business
  • Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on why government gridlock can be good

This week on American Radio Journal:

  •  Lowman Henry talks with Robert Graboyes from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University about the current Obamacare open enrollment period
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story behind defeat of the Keystone KL pipeline
  • Eric Boehm and Rob Nikolewski have a Watchdog Radio Report on the impact of falling gasoline prices on state budgets
  • Col. Frank Ryan, USMC (Ret.) has an American Radio Journal commentary on improving mental health care for children

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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PA Business Climate Improving…But Obamacare a drag on employment, pay


For the first time in a decade, by a narrow margin, more Pennsylvania employers say business conditions in the commonwealth are improving than say the state’s economy is getting worse.  But, that optimism is tempered by a lack of job creation and lower wage hikes due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

George W. Bush was president and on the verge of re-election in 2004, the last time respondents to the Lincoln Institute’s Keystone Business Climate Survey thought the business climate was getting better rather than worse.  Since then the nation has experienced the Great Recession and subsequent slow recovery.

But, the current survey finds 20% of the business owners and CEOs responding say over the past six months business conditions in Pennsylvania have gotten better, while 19% say the state’s economy has gotten worse.  By comparison, one year ago 31% felt business conditions had gotten worse and just 14% saw an improvement.

There is not, however, optimism for the immediate future.  Looking ahead six months, 27% expect business conditions in Pennsylvania to get worse, while 16% expect conditions to get better.

Driving the current burst of optimism are increasing sales.  Thirty-six percent of the companies said sales have increased over the past six months as 24% reported decreased sales.  Looking ahead, 32% project sales will increase, 13% expect sales to drop.

Employment levels dropped over the past six months, with 20% reporting higher employment and 24% saying employment at their business has decreased.  Looking ahead six months, 21% project adding employees, while 9% plan to employ fewer workers.

Impact of the Affordable Care Act

It is clear the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, is having a negative impact on both the number of jobs that are being created, and on wages and pay hikes. Twenty-five percent of the business leaders participating in the survey said they have decided not to hire additional employees due to the requirements of Obamacare.  Ten percent said they have actually reduced the number of employees because of ACA; while another 3% said they hired, but did so later than they had planned.  Less than 1% said they hired sooner than planned because of Obamacare. Fifty-eight percent said ACA has had no impact on their hiring plans.

In terms of wages/salaries, 33% said they have delayed giving pay raises due to the costs of Obamacare.  Twenty-eight percent indicated they reduced the amounts of pay raises, while 26% said they paid new hires less to compensate for the costs associated with compliance of the Affordable Care Act.  Five percent reduced the pay of current employees, while 2% said they increased employee pay in response to ACA requirements.  A total of 42% said Obamacare has no impact on their wages/salaries.

State Issues

Education spending has been a major issue in the gubernatorial campaign. But, unlike the electorate at-large, business owners and CEOs participating in the Fall 2014 Keystone Business Climate Surveysay the state spends too much money on public education.  Forty percent think state government spend too much on public education, 29% say the state spends too little, while 27% say state spending on public education is about the right amount.

By a large margin, 78% to 19%, the employers say they are not willing to pay higher taxes to provide additional funding to public education.  There is, however, strong support for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) which businesses can claim for donating money to K-12 educational institutions.  Forty-seven percent think the General Assembly should allocate more month to the tax credit fund so more businesses can participate; 36% say the fund should be kept at current levels.

Taxes have also been a major campaign issue in 2014.  When asked whether Pennsylvania should retain the current “flat” income tax or move to a “graduated” income tax where low income earners are exempt and higher income earners pay a higher rate 84% said they support the current “flat” income tax, 14% would like to see a “graduated” rate.

A proposal to exempt the first $30,000 from state income taxes and raise the rate for money earned above that level from 3.07% to 5% drew strong opposition from the business leaders.  Seventy-three percent oppose such a system with 60% saying they are strongly opposed.    Twenty-three percent said they would support such a change.

Mandating paid sick leave for employees was opposed by three-quarters of the business owners and CEOs who participated in the Lincoln Institute survey.  Seventeen percent said they would support mandating paid sick leave for businesses with over 50 employees. Another 6% support mandating paid sick leave for all businesses regardless of size.

Job Approval Ratings

Mirroring the national trend, President Obama received a highly negative job approval rating from the business owners and CEOs.  Eighty-five percent voiced a negative view of the president, while 13% offered a positive assessment.

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey is viewed favorably by 51% of the survey participants while 24% have a negative view.  The numbers reverse for U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. as 60% offered a negative view of his job performance against a 21% positive rating.   Fed Chairman Janet Yellen received a 38% negative / 28% positive rating; and, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew scored a 42% negative / 8% positive.

At the state level Governor Tom Corbett sports a 52% positive rating while 35% disapprove of the job being done by the Republican governor.  The CEOs and business owners turned thumbs down on Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who received a 49% negative rating against just 16% positive.  Most offered no opinion on the job performance of Auditor General Eugene Depasquale and State Treasurer Rob McCord.  Of those who did, Depasquale had a 20% negative / 11% positive rating and McCord scored 21% negative / 17% positive.

Participants in the Fall 2014 Keystone Business Climate Survey took a dim view of the job being done by both Congress and by the Pennsylvania General Assembly.  Eighty-nine percent offered a negative assessment of the U.S. Senate, with 7% having a positive view.  The U.S. House of Representatives fared slightly better scoring a 72% negative / 22% positive rating.  Sixty-three percent have a negative view of the job being done by the Pennsylvania Senate, 19% approve.  The Pennsylvania House of Representatives turned in a marginally higher score, with a 62% negative / 23% positive rating.

And, Governor Tom Corbett finally came out ahead in one poll.  Sixty-five percent of the business owners and CEOs said they plan to vote for the incumbent governor in the November 4th General Election, 20% say they will cast their ballot for Democratic challenger Tom Wolf.  However, 53% expect Wolf to win the election, while 29% predict a Corbett victory.

Methodology

The Lincoln Institute’s 2014 Keystone Business Climate Survey was conducted electronically from September 26, 2014 through October 17, 2014.  A total of 316 responses were received.  Of those, 69% are the owner of their business, 24% are the CEO/COO or CFO, another 4% are a state or local manager. Twenty-seven percent of the respondents are located in southeastern Pennsylvania, 18% in southwestern Pennsylvania, 14% in the northwest section of the state, 17% in south-central Pennsylvania, 11% in northeastern Pennsylvania, 6% in the Lehigh Valley, six percent in north-central Pennsylvania and 1% in the Altoona/Johnstown area. Complete numeric results are available at www.lincolninstitute.org.

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Fool’s Errand


In announcing its plans to ignite a Republican civil war on the eve of the 2014 election cycle Scott Reed of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the goal is “no fools on our ticket.”  He made this announcement while donning a $50 million court jester suit. That is the amount of money the group plans on spending in the upcoming GOP primaries.

Apparently believing congressional leadership – whose job approval rating makes President Obama’s 39% approval look robust – needs a bit of shoring up as the new cycle commences, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has decided the enemy is not the Democrats who visited Obamacare and an unprecedented era of government regulation upon business. No, the enemy is the Tea Party.

Yes, the Tea Party, the grassroots movement of Americans who still believe in the principles of limited, constitutional government.  That movement, you may recall, which returned the GOP to majority status in the U.S. House of Representatives providing at least some modicum of counterbalance to the President’s rigid ideological agenda.

Reed’s strategy is classic minority think.  Rather than expand the coalition into a diverse – and yes, sometimes contentious majority, he would rather the ineffective GOP establishment in congress retain control over a diminished, but tightly controlled minority conference.  This is not about what is best for business, or for the Republican Party, or for the good of the nation: it is about controlling the levers of power in congress.

We’ve seen this act before. Newt Gingrich’s conservative revolution led the GOP into majority control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994.  He floundered and in 1998 the establishment took control of the Republican conference, only to cede control back to the Democrats in 2006.  That happened because the GOP establishment proved itself to be Democrat lite, so voters opted for the real thing.  Lest Mr. Reed forget, it took the grassroots fervor of the Tea Party to sweep the GOP back into power in 2010.

With establishment figures like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell holding top GOP leadership positions in the House and Senate respectively, public approval of the legislative branch has fallen to single digits.  Again, the American public is rejecting their approach to governance, but the U.S. Chamber is rushing to the rescue.

At issue is control of the U.S. Senate.  Reed says the chamber’s goal is “to make sure, when it comes to the Senate, that we have no loser candidates.”  Those are nice sounding code words for “make sure we have no Tea Party candidates.”   Recent election cycles have produced senators not willing to bend to the will of establishment leadership.  Senators like Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin come to mind.

Under the chamber’s current strategy even Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey, who chased establishment U.S. Senator Arlen Specter from the party and then claimed that seat in the 2010 General Election would have been in that year a chamber target under the new Reed strategy.  Toomey has chosen a more workman-like approach than the senators mentioned above, eschewing the spotlight for what has proven to be highly effective behind-the-scenes legislating,

Reed and the Washington GOP establishment have seized on Tea Party missteps to make their case in the upcoming primaries.  But, for every Tea Party loss like Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, there has been an establishment melt-down like George Allen in Virginia.  Simply put, Reed and his allies have supported their share of losing nominees.

All of this plays out against the backdrop of the GOP’s failure to win control of the U.S. Senate in 2012.  The party’s chances looked promising, but missteps by both Tea Party-backed and establishment-backed candidates overlaid by the inept Presidential campaign of establishment favorite Mitt Romney scuttled the opportunity.

With nearly twice as many Democrat as Republican seats up for election in 2014 and an electoral climate poisoned by the Obamacare fiasco the GOP’s chances of winning a senate majority are good, very good.  But groups like the U.S. Chamber declaring war on the party base are a bad omen.  Because it doesn’t matter who is nominated, no Republican candidate in any state can win without the active support of voters who identify with Tea Party principles.

The Tea Party and the chamber should be natural allies, but a power driven desire for insider control has led the business group to choose conflict over collaboration.

It is, to adopt their term, a fool’s errand.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

 

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Randy Wenger Challenges Obamacare


Radio Program Schedule for the week of December 14, 2013 – December 20, 2013

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, now CEO of EchoLight Studios, about his new film The Christmas Candle
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story behind a dust-up between congressional Republicans and leaders of the conservative movement
  • Eric Boehm and Matt Kittle have a Watchdog Radio look at the latest jobs numbers
  • Dr. Paul Kengor from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College has an American Radio Journal commentary on the curious comments of a Presidential Medal of Honor recipient

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm and Laura Pennington have news headlines from www.paindependent.com
  • Lowman Henry has a Newsmaker interview with Randy Wenger of the Independence Law Center on a U.S. Supreme Court challenge to an Obamacare mandate involving a Lancaster County company
  • Eric Montarti and Frank Gamrat have an Allegheny Institute Report on the big issues of 2013
  • Anna McCauslin has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on upcoming public meetings on Governor Tom Corbett’s proposed Medicaid expansion

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Union Issues Poll


Radio Program Schedule for the week of November 9, 2013 – November 15, 2013

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry gets election analysis from former Virginia Governor now President & CEO of Free Congress Foundation Jim Gilmore
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on an upcoming battle for the soul of the Republican Party
  • Benjamin Yount and Eric Boehm analyze the New Jersey governor race along with key state and local ballot questions
  • Col. Frank Ryan, USMC (Ret.) has an American Radio Journal commentary on why in the private sector Obamacare would be considered to be fraud

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm and Benjamin Yount have news headlines from www.paindependent.com
  • David Taylor of the PA Manufacturers Association and Kevin Shivers from the PA Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business have a Capitol Watch look at the Lincoln Institute’s Union Issues Poll
  • Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on why Penn State should be included in the Open Records Law

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Congressman Scott Perry


Radio Program Schedule for the week of October 26, 2013 – November 1, 2013

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Albert Ciardi of the Military Assistance Project about pro bono legal help for servicemen and women experiencing financial problems
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on the political impact of Obamacare on congressional Democrats up for re-election next year
  • Benjamin Yount has a Watchdog Radio look at how Obamacare is affecting the states
  • Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, USA has an American Radio Journal commentary on ending up in “password purgatory” when he attempted to log onto the Obamacare website

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm and Benjamin Yount have news headlines from www.paindependent.com
  • David Taylor hosts a Capitol Watch look at how events in Washington, D.C. affect Pennsylvania with Kevin Shivers from the PA Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business and with U.S. Representative Scott Perry (R-York)
  • Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on why the economy is not recovering from the Great Recession

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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