Larry Elder

Economist Jonathan Gruber designed the Massachusetts plan known as Romneycare. Obama hired Gruber to design Obamacare. In November 2009, Gruber told The Washington Post's Ezra Klein: "What we know for sure the bill will do, is that it will lower the cost of buying non-group health insurance." After Obamacare passed, Minnesota, Colorado and Wisconsin hired Gruber as a consultant to estimate the impact of ObamaCare on their states. For Colorado, Gruber found that individual policy buyers would pay 19 percent more. For Minnesota, he estimates an increase of 29 percent. For Wisconsin, he expects a 30 percent increase.

Obamacare also applies to full-time workers and defines them as working 30 hours or more. So many employers are simply reducing hours of employees to get under than threshold. Reuters found that half of the Wal-marts they recently surveyed have hired only temporary employees. One Wal-mart manager in Alaska says, "Everybody who comes through the door I hire as a temporary associate. It's a company direction at the present time."

What about the Obama tax hike on the "rich"?

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco just released a report that called Obama's tax hikes a "drag" on the economy: "Surprisingly, despite all the attention federal spending cuts and sequestration have received, our calculations suggest they are not the main contributors to this projected drag. The excess fiscal drag on the horizon comes almost entirely from rising taxes."

Obama has also imposed billions of dollars in new regulations. According to the Heritage Foundation, regulatory costs increased by almost $70 billion during the first term of the Obama administration.

Bottom line: The policies of this tax, spend and regulate administration have produced an anemic recovery. Head-in-the-sand partisans try to explain it away by blaming Bush, the "unpaid for wars," recalcitrant House Republicans, or the luck of the draw. Compared to five years ago, 8 million more people are no longer in the workforce today. Twenty-three million are underemployed, meaning people are working fewer hours than they would like or have accepted a job for which they are over-qualified.

The one silver lining is this: Obama's left-wing collectivism is getting a full airing -- and it is not working. Obama has inadvertently taught -- or in some cases re-taught -- one of the most important laws of economics: There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. Not even in a rock-star administration.


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.