By Stephen C. Webster on January 30, 2014

The Republican myth that providing better healthcare to more people would somehow "kill jobs" and destroy America's middle class has finally been smothered to death.

A poll of businesses from four different sectors of the private economy, conducted by the National Association of Business Economics (NABE) and released earlier this week, found that hiring practices at about 75 percent of companies are not being affected at all by the Affordable Care Act.

While 21 percent expressed concern that the health reform law may negatively affect the business environment, 85 percent remained confident that it would not interfere with their hiring practices. Just 8 percent of businesses said that health reform would lead to less hiring, and only 6 percent said they plan to rely on more part-time labor to avoid healthcare costs.

The data provides a sharp contrast to Republican rhetoric over the last several years. Many of the party's leading voices contend that Obamacare is a "job killer," and a long record of their comments still exists online.

"Obamacare is a job killer," former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney declared moments after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Affordable Care Act as the law of the land. "Businesses across the country have been asked what the impact is of Obamacare. Three quarters of those surveyed by the Chamber of Commerce said Obamacare makes it less likely for them to hire people."

Watch:

Romney sounded a lot like Florida Governor Rick Scott -- a former venture capitalist who founded the Columbia Hospital Corporation -- who appeared on Fox News days earlier and proclaimed that Obamacare "will be the biggest job killer ever."

Watch:

Americans also heard that same rhetoric from Texas Senator Ted Cruz ahead of the costly government shutdown of 2013. "Obamacare is the number one job killer in America!" Cruz told a crowd of cheering Republicans.

Watch:

They were echoed by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who insisted during a Fox News interview in September that "the middle class will be decimated" by the health reform law, which she alleged would "result in a part-time employment arena that most Americans are gonna have to face."

Watch:

If Republicans wish to keep their brand of being more in touch with businesses than Democrats, maybe they should try being right when they talk about the impact of government policies on the private sector.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate dropped in 39 states last month, improving to 6.7 percent nationally from a high of 10 percent in October 2009.

Photo: "Lady doctor looking into your eyes," via Shutterstock.

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Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.

On November 20 every year for the last fifteen years, transgender people gather for vigil ceremonies to acknowledge...

Yesterday the U.S. Senate narrowly defeated a bill that would approve construction on the Keystone XL pipeline.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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