Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Obamacare Costing Jobs in the Big Apple…?

The New York Post (via Drudge) reported today that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is using an Obamacare grant program to try and reduce alcohol consumption in the city – but could reduce the number of jobs as well:

The city Health Department’s far-reaching Partnership for a Healthier New York City initiatives proposes to slash the number of establishments in the city that sell booze.

Community “transformation” grants provided under President Obama’s health-care law would help bankroll the effort.

One of the goals listed in the “request for proposal” document to community groups is “reducing alcohol retail outlet (e.g. bar, corner store) density and illegal alcohol,” the document states….

“Reduce the exposure to alcohol products and bar advertising and promotion in retail and general (trains, buses, etc.) settings (stores, restaurants, etc”, the department’s document says.

The department yesterday declined to discuss specifics on how it would implement the controversial proposals.

“The city’s goals for the Partnership for a Healthier New York are in line with our ongoing strategies of promoting healthy eating and physical activity and discouraging tobacco, excessive alcohol use and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages,” a spokeswoman said. “Specific proposals, however, are still in the planning phase.”

Over and above the obvious questions about “nanny state” activities, there’s a larger question:  How can New York City “slash” the number of alcohol establishments without also slashing the jobs that go with them?  Irrespective of one’s position on consuming alcohol (which of course remains a legal product), it should be apparent that reducing jobs in a still-stagnant economy is poor policy.  Yet one Obamacare grant could allow New York City to do just that.