Guy Benson


The only surprise here is the source.  The details are all too familiar:

Employers around the country, from fast-food franchises to colleges, have told NBC News that they will be cutting workers’ hours below 30 a week because they can’t afford to offer the health insurance mandated by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. “To tell somebody that you’ve got to decrease their hours because of a law passed in Washington is very frustrating to me,” said Loren Goodridge, who owns 21 Subway franchises, including a restaurant in Kennebunk. “I know the impact I’m having on some of my employees.” Goodridge said he’s cutting the hours of 50 workers to no more than 29 a week so he won’t trigger the provision in the new health care law that requires employers to offer coverage to employees who work 30 hours or more per week...The White House dismisses such examples as "anecdotal." Jason Furman, chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisors, said, “We are seeing no systematic evidence that the Affordable Care Act is having an adverse impact on job growth or the number of hours employees are working. … [S]ince the ACA became law, nearly 90 percent of the gain in employment has been in full-time positions.


That claim is hard to square with this recent analysis reported by McClatchy:

The jobless rate is based on a sample of self-reporting from ordinary people across the nation, and it’s the Labor Department measure that shows a very troubling trend in hiring.  “Over the last six months, of the net job creation, 97 percent of that is part-time work,” said Keith Hall, a senior researcher at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center. “That is really remarkable.”  Hall is no ordinary academic. He ran the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agency that puts out the monthly jobs report, from 2008 to 2012. Over the past six months, he said, the Household Survey shows 963,000 more people reporting that they were employed, and 936,000 of them reported they’re in part-time jobs.


It seems that someone is wildly distorting the numbers.  Either it's the man who ran the non-partisan BLS for half-a-decade, or it's the Obama White House.  Gee.  Back to the NBC news piece, which includes strong push-back against the administration's "anecdotal evidence" claim from a both labor union  and the network's own findings:

But the president of an influential union that supports Obamacare said the White House is wrong. "It IS happening," insisted Joseph Hansen, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers union, which has 1.2 million members.  "Wait a year. You'll see tremendous impact as workers have their hours reduced and their incomes reduced. The facts are already starting to show up. Their statistics, I think, are a little behind the time." In a letter to Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill, Hansen joined other labor chieftains in warning that the ACA as presently written could “destroy the foundation of the 40-hour work week that is the backbone of the middle class.” NBC News spoke with almost 20 small businesses and other entities from Maine to California, and almost all said that because of the new law they’d be cutting back hours for some employees – an unintended consequence of the new law.


Among the people who could be hit by future hour cuts are public school teachers and other workers.  Many small businesses are being forced to make major, costly decisions about employees' coverage without all the facts, leading to widespread uncertainty.  It's no wonder that 41 percent of small business owners told Gallup that they've instituted a hiring freeze.  Another 19 percent have actually shed jobs "as a specific result of the Affordable Care Act."  Will the White House sneer at this data as "anecdotal," too?  Of course federal workers want no part of this law.  I'll leave you with two Obamacare-related items:  (1) Fox News' Chris Stirewalt dredges up this classic quote from the president, from when he was pushing the law back in 2010:


“We can't have a system that works better for the insurance companies than it does for the American people…. And they will keep on doing this for as long as they can get away with it.”

Stirewalt argues -- as I did yesterday -- that the administration's new cost-cap delay "works better for insurance companies than it does for the American people."  Temporarily, at least.  He goes on to lay out how the recent string of extra-legal Obamacare carve-outs, delays and suspensions have benefited the "wealthy and well-connected."  And no one's better connected than Congress itself (2) Obamacare defenders will eagerly point to a new study showing that nearly half of those Americans who will purchase insurance on the individual market under the law will qualify for federal subsidies.  Great.  First of all, subsidies cost taxpayers money.  Those credits don't magically appear, which is why this law is projected to increase deficits by trillions. Also, the 48 percent stat means that a majority won't receive help as costs spike -- and some of that 48 percent subset won't get significant enough assistance to offset premium increases -- especially those who've been dumped from employer-based plans to the individual market.  Which brings me to my final point:  This is a reminder that Obamacare will neither allow people to keep their existing arrangement (as they were promised repeatedly), nor will it reduce family costs by $2,500 per family (another infamous vow).  The best the Left can offer is, "but almost half of you will get some government money!"  Pop the cork, America.


Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography



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