Stephen DeMaura

In late March, health care reform will face the “supreme” test. Tasked with determining the constitutionality of an individual mandate, the U.S. Supreme Court will begin hearing five and a half hours of oral arguments – the most time allotted in nearly 50 years and a sign of this deliberation’s significance.

As the legal community debates, America’s businesses have already made their ruling: health care reform’s individual mandate is one of the most destructive overreaches of the federal government in U.S. history, compromising the free-market principles that have made our country great.

While the administration claimed the new health care legislation was a jobs bill, businesses are crying foul. Mariana Huberman, for example, who owns a UPS Store, told a Washington, DC, columnist, “The employer mandate is a complete disincentive to expand and grow.”

Obamacare shackles companies with more regulations, more bureaucracy and more uncertainty. It penalizes growing businesses, increases taxes on employers and employees alike and abandons the free-market principles that have strengthened our economy for centuries.

Growing businesses can’t afford the impact of health care reform’s new taxes and regulations.

More specifically, contrary to its name, the new Medicare “investment” tax will actually deter investment, quashing economic growth. Meanwhile, while larger businesses may be able to absorb some of the labor and costs that come with added regulatory compliance, small businesses – the drivers of our economy – may not be able to handle the influx.

Moreover, Obamacare’s new regulations, mandates, fees and taxes will likely encourage premium prices to rise, a clear contradiction of the bill’s primary purpose. Those in the “fully insured” market, which includes 88 percent of small business workers and their dependents, will be impacted the most.

Unfortunately, this kind of destructive overregulation is par-for-the course for this administration. According to the Heritage Foundation, 106 new “major” regulations have been created since President Obama took office, costing $46 billion. At what point will the red tape get too thick for businesses to cut through? At what point will the burden become too heavy?

Rather than adding more weight to the load, Washington needs to lift the burdens placed on American businesses. To do so, decision makers must begin undoing the thousands of job-stifling policies and regulations that suppress growth, starting with our tax code – an archaic structure that was designed over a quarter-century ago.

In a matter of weeks, U.S. businesses will be strapped with the highest corporate tax rate in the world. This burden impairs our ability to attract foreign investment, damages job creation efforts, reduces wages, distorts financial and economic decision making by U.S. firms and spawns inefficient government programs and policies.

Businesses can’t afford it and neither can the American workforce. Studies have shown that workers swallow as much as 75 percent of the corporate tax rate’s burden in the form of reduced hours or wages, fewer benefits, and potentially the loss of employment.

If the rate were reduced to 25 percent, an average of 581,000 jobs would be created annually for the next decade and the average family of four could realize additional income of $2,484 each year.

Health care reform’s individual mandate moves us in the wrong direction. America is facing a supreme test of her own – an economic recession longer than any in U.S. history. To prevail and increase our global competitiveness, we must empower businesses, not government. We must allow the market to dictate activities, not the federal government. We must create an environment where business, not government, flourishes.


Stephen DeMaura

Stephen DeMaura is president of Americans for Job Security.