Just when it seemed that Barack Obama had already done all the damage he could possibly do to the job market, his administration has come up with a new regulation which achieves a rare trifecta: it decreases job opportunities for most people, it creates new legal nightmaresfor potential employers, and it will decrease productivity in almost 200,000 U.S. companies!
Specifically, any company which does business with the government will be required to make sure 7% of their workforce is disabled...and the requirement applies to every departmentwithin the company. So for instance, a trucking firm which transports hazardous materials could be punished if they refused to hire a driver because he has a seizure disorder. Think we're kidding? The Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which will enforce the new edict, already heard that case - and punished the trucking company for putting public safety over cultural sensitivity.
But how will employers find this rich new vein of disabled job applicants? Simple! Job applications will allow people to self-identify as "disabled"...and if they're subsequently nothired, the employer will have to document why.
Fortunately, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, nearly anyone can qualify as disabled these days: cancer, heart disease, or clinical depression will almost guarantee you a key to the executive washroom. As will conditions like "significant trouble standing, sitting, reaching, lifting, bending, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, or interacting with others."
Put another way, if you're a lazy, petulant, dumbass you can no longer be turned down for a job!
And if you're a current, healthy employee? Well, you may want to think about arranging a little chainsaw "accident" for yourself in the very near future.
Cost of implementing this nuttiness is estimated to be as high as $1.8 billion... and that's not counting the decrease in productivity that could result from making sure that 7% of the workforce arrives in a short bus.
Despite the jokes, Hope n' Change wants to make something very clear: we're absolutely in favor of hiring the disabled and "differently abled" whenever their skills are a good match for a job. Just like other forms of discrimination, the disabled shouldn't be rejected because they look different or (initially) might make others uncomfortable.
But this regulation goes way, way beyond that. It will kill jobs and further hamper an economy which is already hanging by a thread.
Yes, the disabled deserve a fair chance.
But so does a disabled economy.