The Edmond Sun

February 24, 2014

Obamacare to hurt Oklahoma wage earners

Mark Costello
Special to The Sun

OKLA. CITY — As a businessman, numbers have always been a part of my job — understanding profits, assets and dividends. And to this day, I still look to the numbers to guide the decisions I make as labor commissioner. Recent studies have been released on the effect the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, will have on the economy, and the numbers are scary. I agree with 56 percent of Americans that Obamacare is more about controlling people’s lives than improving healthcare.

This month, the Congressional Budget Office released a report that Obamacare may cost our economy 2.5 million jobs by 2024 and in Oklahoma alone, 29,753 jobs could be lost due to Obamacare. This is deeply troubling.

The overhaul of the healthcare system by President Obama has been a failure from the beginning, and the uncertainty that it holds over Oklahoma families is hurting jobs and prosperity. The effects of this law threaten wage earners in Oklahoma and it is my duty as labor commissioner to do what is in the best interests of wage earners.

When Oklahomans become at-risk for losing their jobs, it is time we all take a stand against this law. The long-term effects of this law are becoming more and more evident and the outcome is not looking positive.

Coincidentally, this study released by the CBO comes on the heels of the president’s State of the Union address where he said he would use his executive power to increase minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for government contract workers. Going back to the importance of numbers, let me explain why arbitrarily elevating the minimum wage is bad economic policy.

In today’s economy, a minimum wage increase is not what will boost jobs and economic growth. It will make minimum wage jobs harder to obtain by entry-level workers and it will raise the prices of necessities such as food.

Nearly half of young African American males are unemployed. Increasing minimum wage will lead to fewer entry level jobs and the life skills learned from such jobs. Most self-made millionaires in the U.S. once worked at a minimum wage job. Elevating minimum wage will hurt small businesses and deny millions of Americans their first opportunity to join the workforce. The American dream of prosperity is not created by government edict.

President Obama is entitled to his own opinions, but not to his own facts. The facts are that his programs are killing the creation of new jobs, suffocating small businesses and hurting the poor.

 

MARK COSTELLO, R-Edmond, is Oklahoma labor commissioner. For more information, call his office at 521-6100 or go online to http://www.ok.gov/odol/.