As noted in a previous blog post, most left-wing pundits were silent when Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia succeeded in getting part-time state workers limited to 29 hours per week so as to avoid giving them health insurance as required by ObamaCare. That was a far cry from the way the left treated John Schnatter, CEO of Papa John’s, about two months earlier.
At the time I suggested that the reason for the silence was that the “evidence is piling up that, indeed, ObamaCare is going to have a very unpleasant effect on the U.S. labor market.”
Well, the evidence keeps piling up. And the left keeps silent.
Most recently Taco Bell, Dunkin’ Donuts and Kroger have been affected by or are openly worried about ObamaCare.
A Taco Bell franchise in Oklahoma reduced its workers hours to under 30 per week to avoid paying insurance or paying a fine. Management “informed everybody that nobody was considered full-time any longer, that everybody was now considered part-time, and [they] would be cutting hours back to 28 hours or less due to Obamacare,” [employee Johnna] Davis said.
Dunkin’ Donuts hasn’t reduced workers hours—yet. Rather the company is lobbying Congress to change the definition of a full-time employee under ObamaCare from 30 hours a week to 40 hours. But if the company fails in that, what is Dunkin’s Donuts next step? Probably similar to that of Taco Bell.
Finally, Kroger, a supermarket chain, said it will continue to provide coverage to its full-time employees. But its CEO, David Dillon, warned that some companies would rather pay the fine since it is cheaper than providing coverage:
“If you look through the economics of the penalty the companies pay versus the cost to provide coverage, the penalty’s too low, or the cost of coverage is too high, or the combination is wrong….If [policy makers] get those things too far out of balance, everybody will have to reconsider their position on that point, including us. But we’re going to wait and see how that all develops.”
Expect Kroger to go the fine route if its competitors do the same.
As a reminder, under ObamaCare businesses with 50 or more full-time employees (full-time defined as working 30 hours or more per week) must either buy their employees insurance or pay a fine. If they pay the fine, they have a choice to pay whichever is less: 1. (The number of employees - 30) multiplied by $2,000; or 2. The number of employees who qualify for insurance on an exchange multiplied by $3,000. Either way, those costs have to be paid.
Or shifted. Businesses can try to reduce their number of employees to under 50 or reduce their employees’ hours to less than 30 per week. In other words, the costs are shifted onto the employees in the form of fewer jobs and less work hours.
Anyway, the left’s reaction to Taco Bell, Dunkin’ Donuts and Kroger has been pretty much the same as it was to Gov. McDonnell: Silence. Other than some reporting on this over at Huffington Post (reporting, not editorializing), nothing.
Apparently as the evidence piles up that ObamaCare will have a disruptive effect on the labor market, the left just doesn’t want to talk about it anymore.
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