07.07.2014 1

Obamacare’s part time economy

The Show Obama StateBy Rick Manning

The first week of July is normally a nice quiet news time, when the people can turn their thoughts toward vacation with family, fireworks, and fun.  Here are a few things that you might’ve missed.

The unemployment rate headlines were joyous and Wall Street took off.  The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that June’s unemployment rate was down to 6.1 percent.  But what did the numbers mean, after you looked beneath the headline?

The good news was that 407,000 more Americans were employed in June than in May.  The bad news was that 1.1 million more Americans are temporary/part time workers according to the same survey.  That’s right, if the June numbers are correct, 708,000 formerly full time workers became part-timers to go along with their 407,000 mates who just found new employment.

There is nothing wrong withworking part-time, temporary employment, in fact, it is usually a sign of the start of a growing job market.  But this year, like last, is different.

It is different because of Obamacare, which requires employers with more than 50 employees to pay for health insurance for their full-time employees at the end of this year.  This might sound familiar because it is.  This provision was legally supposed to go into effect in January 2014, but was delayed for a year by Obama’s magic pen just before last year’s July 4th holiday.

Now the piper is being paid, as it appears that employers are making the logical step of job-shifting employees from full to part-time.  When the cash registers aren’t ringing, you cannot dramatically increase your labor costs, so instead you get creative and simply schedule workers to four shifts of seven hours a week each.  Of course, you have to hire about 20 percent more people to cover the shifts, but it saves thousands of dollars in health costs each month.

So when you read about the great employment situation, just know that if the Labor Department is getting their numbers right, it is highly likely that hundreds of thousands of people are getting fewer hours, and less money to make ends meet, likely due to the effects of Obama’s health plan.

The other unnoted aspect of the “great” job numbers released the day before Independence Day, is that 111,000 more people left the labor force in June.  This continues a negative trend that has the percentage of people participating in the workforce at levels not seen since Jimmy Carter was president in 1978.

For those too young to remember, Jimmy Carter’s economy was a disaster, and this one is not much better.

The Holy Church of Global Warming suffered another week of shrugging off reality as the ice in Antarctica continues to expand well beyond record levels.  Darn South Pole just can’t get on the global warming agenda.

And then there is the pesky little problem where it appears that someone may have been fudging the temperature data by estimating results and adding in corrections which skew them toward higher temperatures in more recent years and lower temps in the 1930’s when the world endured a warming trend.

Obamacare continues to be the gift that keeps on giving for those still pretending that big government is a grand idea.  In the greatest Obama Administration tradition, another Obamacare paper dump occurred on the afternoon of July 3rd, just in time for reporters and analysts to have already escaped the DC swamp for a respite.

This time there was a mere 1,300 more pages of regulations released by the Department of Health and Human Services made public just in time for the virtual news blackout that occurs over any holiday weekend.  Only one thing is certain, Team Obama doesn’t dump good news into a holiday media void, so there must be some doozies hidden in the long Stephen King novel length bureaucratese.

Last but not least,  with tens of thousands of illegals streaming across the borders and our nation’s border patrol turned into child care specialists, the President is saying that he will once again, unilaterally change the nation’s immigration laws, because Congress won’t pass what he wants.

Perhaps if he actually enforced the law that is on the books, the drug cartels would not be running a huge human smuggling operation to break down border protections and allow even more sinister activity to go on unabated.  Of course, that wouldn’t suit this President’s ends, so when in doubt, create a crisis, so you have an excuse to respond to it.

All in all, just another pre-holiday week in D.C.

The author is vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government  

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