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Another Labor Day finds fewer good jobs

AS most Americans enjoy a day off from work, this Labor Day finds more Americans working part-time than ever before and those employed full-time worried about losing their jobs.

The recession technically ended in June 2009, but the United States still has not recovered.

The recession had cost the nation 8.7 million jobs.

Through June, the nation had recovered only 6.6 million jobs, making this the slowest recovery since the Great Depression.

The jobs gained are not as good as the ones lost.

"Twenty one percent of the jobs lost during the Great Recession were low wage, meaning they paid $13.83 an hour or less," wrote Barbara Garson for the liberal Nation magazine.

"But 58 percent of the jobs regained fall into that category."

As the recovery continues on its slow and unsteady pace, the increase in part-time jobs is escalating.

"Sixty-five percent of the jobs added to the economy in July 2013 were part-time," Garson wrote. "The average hourly wage fell slightly."

Indeed, today the nation has only 116.1 million full-time workers and a record 28.2 million parttimers.

U.S. worker pay and median income have actually dropped since the recession ended four years ago. In July, the average pay dropped another two cents to $23.98 per hour.

The average workweek also fell another one-tenth of an hour to 34.4 hours per week.

One major reason for the rise in part-time work is the Affordable Care Act. Employers must either pay a fine or provide health insurance to workers who put in 30 hours a week or more.

This has led to what Fox News business reporter Elizabeth MacDonald described as the 29ers, people who work less than 30 hours a week to avoid the Obamacare tax on businesses.

Part-time workers will qualify for federal subsidies.

Food stamp use is at an all-time high as 46 million Americans - roughly one in seven - receive a whopping $77 billion a year from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

There are other programs from Medicaid to housing subsidies available for part-time workers as well as some full-time workers.

Those benefits programs that subsidize workers pay directly drives the federal deficit ever higher.

But there is also an indirect cost. The smaller wages received by part-time workers result in smaller Social Security and Medicare taxes collected.

The timing could not be worse as the demand for Social Security and Medicare is soaring.

"U.S. employment trends are a warning, as the U.S. has a retiree population growing faster than its working population, a pattern former President Bill Clinton noted when he said the baby boom was about to become a senior boom in his 1999 State of Union address," MacDonald wrote.

On top of that, the money not earned by parttime workers means they are less prepared for their own retirements. Savings accounts are considered a luxury when one signs up for food stamps.

To call this situation a train wreck would imply that the economy was going somewhere. Despite the more than $1 trillion spent on stimulus packages in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012, the economy remains sluggish.

With its unintended effects on jobs, its numerous new boards and commissions, its cost and its complexity, the Affordable Care Act, billed as a cure for the nation's health care crisis, may be worse than the original disease. It needs to be reworked to a simpler, less expensive, less complicated and more doctor-and-patient-friendly system.

The long-term damage of this recession is staggering. Too much government, too much debt, too many taxes and too many unnecessary regulations are weighing the federal government and its taxpayers down.

Workers deserve better.


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