When the recent Massachusetts Senate race gave Senate Republicans their 41-vote majority, pundits, pollsters and political consultants told us that President Obama and congressional Democrats had to give up on health care and instead focus on jobs.
After all, that was what was written on the modern day stone tablets delivered from the mountaintop – public opinion surveys. Jobs and economic development were topping the polls, while health care was much further down the list.
Ee gads. Almost immediately, you started hearing pollophobic pols dutifully repeating the word “jobs” like trained cockatiels. Forget “affordable health care,” the political consultants lectured the political class. Focus on “jobs, jobs, jobs!” The word “jobs” quickly became to 2010, what “terrorism” was to late 2001.
To inform the new “jobs” policy proposals needed to accompany this rhetoric, the logical thing to do would seem to be to ask small business owners, who create most of the jobs in America, what they need to expand their businesses. Stimulate the economy with more government spending? Cut business taxes again? Stimulate better access to capital? Create more consumer demand, by, for instance, giving consumers another tax break?
Well, in a survey of Minnesota and Western Wisconsin small business owners released today by Health Partners, all of those things were on the list of things named. But at the very top of the list, topping the aforementioned job creation proposals by more than 3-to-1 margins, was, drum roll please…
…”affordable health care.”
So, it looks like it’s déjà vu all over again. It turns out we don’t need a focus on jobs instead of affordable health care. We need a focus on affordable health care in order to create jobs.
And new numbers released today show that the health reform bill bottled up in the Senate could help. For instance, an estimated 72,400 small businesses in Minnesota could be helped by a small businesses tax credit proposal that makes premiums more affordable.
Which begs the question, what do the cockatiels do now?