Friday, October 2, 2009

President Obama Needs to Stimulate Employment, Not Hinder Employment

The jobless rate reached 9.8 percent in September and the average hourly work week fell to 33. This is obviously a problem, since consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the economy and people who are out of work, or who have had their hours reduced, tend not to shop as much, for some reason.

At the same time, the Obama administration, using new programs such as eVerify and iCERT, and by imposing more restrictive employment eligibility verification requirements, is both forcing U.S. companies to fire workers and making it more difficult for U.S. companies to hire qualified workers. I voted for the man, and I'm still hopeful he can turn things around, but what he is doing to the job market mystifies me.

President Obama has decided that you and I should not be allowed to work unless there is an absolute guarantee that we are legally allowed to work in the job being offered. That sounds great, on the surface. In reality, however, it means that, even if you and I are, in fact allowed to work, an employer still can't hire us if the employer can't verify that we are legally authorized to work. Even if the employer is able to verify us, the employer may still be unable to hire us if the government can't verify the employer is authorized to hire people. These verification procedures rely on IRS and SSA databases which, the government admits, are neither perfect, nor up to date. As a result, people who are in fact legally able to work are being terminated, or refused employment, because these flawed databases can't provide the necessary verifications.

Although I certainly agree that undocumented workers are a problem that needs to be addressed, President Obama's timing, as well as his methods, need to be reconsidered. People who can work need to be allowed to work; employers who want to hire people need to be allowed to hire people. I have no problem with the concept of an employment verification process, but the current process is too much of an impediment to the hiring process; it takes too long, is too difficult, and still results in wrongful denials and terminations. With the jobless rate at 9.8 percent and rising, the current verification process is a really, really bad idea.

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