And then there were all those times when the president assured us that Obamacare was good for business and would create more jobs and economic growth.
Instead, we’ve already seen evidence of employers’ shifting from full-time to part-time jobs in order to avoid the increased costs of Obamacare. For example, during the second quarter of this year, the number of Americans working 25 to 29 hours per week in their primary job rose by 119,000, or 2.7 percent. At the same time, the number of those working 30 to 34 hours fell by a monthly average of 146,500, a 1.4 percent decline. In fact, 88 percent of all jobs added during President Obama’s time in office have been part-time.
No less a source than NBC News recently ran a story claiming that “employers around the country, from fast-food franchises to colleges, have told [the network] 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.” This has caused Joseph Hansen, president of the 1.2-million-member United Food and Commercial Workers, to warn that Obamacare will “destroy the foundation of the 40-hour work week that is the backbone of the middle class.” When the president has lost the networks and the unions, you know there is something very wrong.
Even in Massachusetts, home of Romneycare, an independent study released late last month found that more than 60 percent of workers covered by small businesses will likely be facing rate hikes, some by as much as 97 percent. As a result, many Massachusetts companies are reportedly considering dropping their current coverage, turning more full-time jobs into part-time ones, and possibly laying off workers, too.
The same is being seen throughout the country, where survey after survey shows small-business employees facing the prospect of lower wages, fewer benefits, reduced hours, or lost jobs. The fast-food and restaurant industry has been especially hard hit. Among the national chains and franchisees that have announced that Obamacare is forcing them to reduce employee hours: Applebee’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Del Taco, Denny’s, FatBurger, Five Guys, Hardee’s, IHOP, Olive Garden, Wendy’s, and White Castle.
Big business doesn’t look to fare much better. For instance, Delta Airlines has just announced that it expects its health-care costs to rise by as much as $100 million next year, in large part due to Obamacare. And, Forever 21, a national teenage-clothing chain, said in August that it will cut hours for all non-management staff to 29.5 hours a week.
The White House says such reports are purely anecdotal. But eventually enough anecdotes can look a great deal like a trend.
So let’s talk about credibility. If the president is truly worried about his, it may be time for him to revise his claims about Obamacare. Then again, if Republicans fail to follow through on efforts to kill this albatross, maybe their credibility will be questionable as well.
— Michael Tanner is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and the author of Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution.