By Fareed Zakaria
“The employer mandate, which forces firms to start providing insurance in 2014, pertains only to companies with at least 50 full-time workers. That's a tiny fraction of small businesses,” writes Jose Pagliery for CNN Money.
“As of 2010, there were roughly 5.7 million small employers, defined as those with fewer than 500 workers. Some 97 percent of them have fewer than 50 employees. That means Obamacare's employer mandate applies only to 3 percent of America's small businesses.”
“Absent…ideological rivalries, or any new forms of effective collective mobilization, and nothing checks the European social model from continuing to disintegrate,” argues Mark Mazower in The New Statesman.
“Europe=euro: in the shadow of this equation, all the other older, nobler and more ambitious versions of what Europe might stand for have faded away. An interesting possibility thus follows – might the dissolution of the euro be necessary in order to save something of the European idea? Or would we merely find ourselves with neither? We may yet find out.”
“For the most part, Republicans didn’t campaign on impeachment in 1998: They didn’t say, ‘Vote for me and I’ll do my level best to oust Clinton.’ Their strategy was more passive. They were counting on the scandal to motivate conservatives to vote while demoralizing liberals,” writes Ramesh Ponnuru for Bloomberg. “So they didn’t try to devise a popular agenda, or to make their existing positions less unpopular. That’s what cost them – that, and the mistake of counting on statistics about sixth-year elections, which also bred complacency.”
“Republicans have similar vulnerabilities on the issues now. They have no real health-care agenda. Voters don’t trust them to look out for middle-class economic interests. Republicans are confused and divided about how to solve the party’s problems. What they can do is unite in opposition to the Obama administration’s scandals and mistakes. So that’s what they’re doing. They’re trying to win news cycles when they need votes.”
“The skills gap is real. U.S. unemployment remains at 7.5 percent, and only one out of two African American men in their early 20s has a job,” write Stuart Eizenstat and Robert Lerman in an Urban Institute commentary.
“A survey of employers published last year revealed that about 600,000 jobs go unfilled because of a lack of skilled labor. Meanwhile, German companies' top complaint about expanding operations in the United States is an inadequate number of skilled workers for intermediate-level technical occupations. Swiss companies have the same complaint. The problems lie not with college-educated engineers or graduates with general bachelor's degrees but in the dearth of skilled machinists, welders, robotics programmers and those who maintain equipment.”