The massive health care bill fiasco is over. Speaker Nancy Pelosi today told the world “In its present form without any changes I don’t think it’s possible to pass the Senate bill in the House.” Health care as sold by the Democrats is over. She further commented on next steps with an insightful, “We’re not in a big rush.”
When we posted the results of the first poll showing Scott Brown in the lead on January 10, the mainstream media still was not ready to get behind the idea of a possible Brown victory in Massachusetts. It was not until mid-week when some more traditional polling organizations showed similar race tightness that the media explosion took off. The Massachusetts vote became a national referendum on President Obama and his policies.
While the bill was unpopular with the majority of Americans and swept in Brown, it was also unpopular with many state legislatures and governors. They viewed it as a major usurpation of states rights. More importantly, it was filled with unfunded mandates that would put even more pressures on state’s budgets. Look for the Democrats and Republicans now to quickly change the focus to jobs. Let’s hope they do no more harm to a tepid recovery.
The Department of Labor reported an increase in jobless claims today. The 4 week average of jobless claims for week ending January 16, 2010 was 448,250. Last year the 4 week average was 526,500, a reduction of 78,250 from a year ago. While there is talk of improvement in the jobs market, the data supporting such a claim is sketchy. The 14.8% reduction in claims from a year ago, while positive, is still a very high number from historical perspectives. It is associated with very poor labor environments. With health care dead, businesses will have one less risk and expense wildcard to deal with. It will be a while before the job engine gets going.
The BLS will publish year end state unemployment rates for 2009 tomorrow. Check back for the list of Best States for Jobs in 2009.
Source: Department of Labor 2010