Morning Action: Farm Bill Conference Before August Recess Highly Unlikely
FARM BILL. There will be no farm bill recess before the August recess:
Farm bill talks advanced Thursday as the top leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees met to begin their discussions and the Senate later took the first steps to request a formal conference with the House.
A first meeting of the Cantor group was held Wednesday and Lucas wants to move quickly. Yet as a practical matter, this process will take enough time that it’s very likely that no formal conference will begin before the August recess.
That doesn’t preclude talks like those that began Thursday among the top members from both parties. “We may or may not formally go to conference,” Stabenow said. “But it would help us move things along if we did.”
We have explained that going to conference will not produce solid conservative legislation, as past experience demonstrates.
OBAMACARE. The Obamacare employer mandate delay means workers will have to get coverage or pay a penalty:
Employers got a one year reprieve from having to offer health insurance. But workers at these companies still have to get coverage or pay a penalty.
That will leave about a million people scrambling to get covered to meet the Obamacare requirements, according to new estimates from the Urban Institute. About 700,000 of them will move into the individual exchange, shift to Medicaid or find insurance elsewhere.
Heritage explains that Obamacare’s mandates caused serious problems for employers and employees and that the entire law is flawed:
After the law passed, HHS discovered that some of its new mandates would raise costs so much that employers would drop coverage rather than face skyrocketing premiums. Instead, the Administration announced a series of temporary waivers—and more than half the recipients of those waivers were members of union health insurance plans.
For example, Indiana’s state insurance department estimates that rates individual plans will rise 72 percent because of Obamacare:
Insurance rates in Indiana will increase 72 percent for those with individual plans and 8 percent for small group plans under President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul, according to the state’s insurance department.
The spike in costs is due primarily to new mandates under the law, which requires insurers to cover those with pre-existing conditions and to offer a minimum level of benefits, said Logan Harrison, chief deputy commissioner with the Indiana Department of Insurance under Republican Gov. Mike Pence. New taxes and fees under the law also contributed, Harrison said.
LABOR. Labor force participation is not coming back according to a new piece of economic modeling by a firm of macroeconomists:
That’s the conclusion of a new piece of economic modeling by the respected St. Louis firm Macroeconomic Advisers. And, if true, it has important implications for the Federal Reserve’s conduct of monetary policy over the next few years. Specifically, it means the monthly pace of job creation so far this year is ample to push the unemployment rate below 6.5 percent by mid-2015.
Let’s take a step back. Lots of people lost jobs during the Great Recession. In the aftermath, the great surprise has been how few are looking for new jobs. Labor force participation, the share of adults working or trying to find work, has stagnated at about 63.5 percent, almost three percentage points below the pre-recession level.
The unemployment rate has dropped almost entirely because of this decline in labor force participation. In other words, it has not fallen because people are finding jobs. It has fallen because fewer people are looking for jobs.