Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Obamacare causing local governments to eliminate jobs and cut back on worker hours

This is the top article on Investors Business Daily at the time of writing.

Excerpt:

[W]hile private companies are getting all this unwelcome and hostile attention, local governments across the country have been quietly doing exactly the same thing — cutting part-time hours specifically so they can skirt ObamaCare’s costly employer mandate, while complaining about the law in some of the harshest terms anyone has uttered in public.

The result is that part-time government workers — many of them low-income — face pay cuts that can top $3,000 a year, and yet will still be left without employer-provided benefits.

Here is just a small sampling of local news reports about what local government officials are saying about ObamaCare, and the steps they’re taking to avoid or minimize its costs.

[...]Dearborn, Mich.: “If we had to provide health care and other benefits to all of our employees, the burden on the city would be tremendous,” said Mayor John O’Reilly, explaining why the city is cutting its more than 700 part-time and seasonal workers down to 28 hours a week. “The city is like any private or public employer having to adjust to changes in the law.”

Indiana: “What I’m seeing across the state is school districts, unfortunately, having to reduce the hours that they are having some of their folks work, primarily so they don’t have to worry about the (ObamaCare) penalties, or they don’t have to provide them health insurance, which would be very, very costly,” said Dennis Costerison, executive director of the Indiana Association of School Business Officials. Ft. Wayne Community Schools, for example, are cutting yours for nearly three-quarters of its part-time aides.

Omaha, Neb.: “The biggest problem is everyone said that ObamaCare is only going to help cut costs. Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Mike Kennedy , who serves on the board of Millard Public Schools, just outside the city, and figures ObamaCare will raise its costs by $400,000. A neighboring school district is reducing hours for up to 281 part-time employees to avoid $2.5 million in new costs, which will result in pay cuts of up to $3,300.

Long Beach, Calif.: “We are in the same boat as many employers,” said Tom Modica, Long Beach’s director of government affairs. “We need to maintain the programs and service levels we have now.” So the city is going to cut hours for 200 part-time workers so it doesn’t have to pay $2 million to provide health benefits.

Salt Lake City, Utah: “With new provisions in the Affordable Care Act, there was going to be a significant burden upon Granite School District and our taxpayers to offset the cost of benefits,” said spokesman Ben Horsley. He says covering the district’s part-time workers would cost about $14 million, and so about 1,000 will have their hours cut to 29 a week.

[...]Virginia: “The Commonwealth of Virginia is grappling with the same issues that many businesses in the private sector are as they struggle to deal with the costs imposed by the Affordable Care Act,” Paul Logan, a spokesman for Gov. McDonnell, said. The state is requiring that about 7,000 part-time government workers put in no more than 29 hours a week.

Texas: “The Affordable Care Act has added so much complexity and administrative burden that there is nothing affordable about it,” said Jared Pope, who is consulting with Texas municipal governments on ObamaCare. Dallas expects its health costs to climb $2.1 million next year. Plano is cutting hours to avoid $1 million in new costs.

Kern County, Calif.: “It will affect multiple departments, a majority of departments,” said the county’s deputy administrative officer Eric Nisbett, explaining that unless the county cut worker hours for 800 employees, ObamaCare would cost it up to $8 million a year.

Allegheny County, Pa.: “There’s frustration and anger and sadness and resentment, you know, but you don’t have a voice,” said adjunct English professor Clint Benjamin in the wake of the Community College of Allegheny County’s decision to cut hours for about 400 adjunct faculty and other employees so it wouldn’t have to pay $6 million in ObamaCare-related fees next year.

Medina, Ohio: “We feel bad as a city administration and as a council in having to cut hours from 35 to 29,” Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell said. “We have the budget to pay the people, but we do not have the budget to pay for the health care.” If they hadn’t made that cut, the city faced up to $1 million in new health costs courtesy of ObamaCare.

It’s not just private companies who are cutting back on hours in order to escape being forced to pay for health insurance. I think I can pretty much guarantee that no one on the left thinks about where money comes from when they are giving these speeches about how much they care about everyone and how they will give everyone free money. The truth is that if you have a job, you are paying for people who don’t have jobs so that they can have the same life that you have without having to work. That’s what progressivism means. Equality regardless of wisdom and prudence.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , ,

Obamacare in action: Denny’s to charge 5% surcharge and cut employee hours

Story here from the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

President Obama’s election victory ensured his Affordable Care Act would remain the centerpiece of his first term in power – but that has left some business owners baulking at the extra cost Obamcare will bring.

Florida based restaurant boss John Metz, who runs approximately 40 Denny’s and owns the Hurricane Grill & Wings franchise has decided to offset that by adding a five percent surcharge to customers’ bills and will reduce his employees’ hours.

With Obamacare due to be fully implemented in January 2014, Metz has justified his move by claiming it is ‘the only alternative. I’ve got to pass on the cost to the customer.’

The fast-food business owner is set to hold meetings at his restaurants in December where he will tell employees, ‘that because of Obamacare, we are going to be cutting front-of-the-house employees to under 30 hours, effective immediately.’

I think it’s a terrible thing. It’s ridiculous that the maximum hours we can give people is 28 hours a week instead of 40,’ said Metz to the Huffington Post.

‘It’s going to force my employees to go out and get a second job.’

Obamacare requires businesses or franchises with more than 50 workers must offer an approved insurance plan or pay a penalty of $2,000 for each full-time worker over 30 workers.

The program mandates that only employees working more than 30 hours a week are covered under their employers health insurance plan, chains like Olive Garden and Red Lobster are already considering reduced worker hours.

‘Obviously, I’d love to cover all our employees under that insurance,’ said Metz.

‘But to pay $5,000 per employee would cost us $175,000 per restaurant and unfortunately, most of our restaurants don’t make $175,000 a year. I can’t afford it.’

Claiming that he is not anti-insurance Metz has said that he understands the problems this will cause for his employees.

Several other restaurants including Papa John’s, Apple Metro and Jimmy John’s have announced plans to skirt Obamacare by reducing employees hours to make them part-time.

[...]Earlier this week Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter told shareholders in a conference call this week that Obamacare would cost the company 11 to 14 cents per pizza, a cost that would be passed on to customers.

My hope is that many of the people who voted for Obama will face these higher prices. But they are probably too stupid to connect cause to effect. After all, you don’t learn about economics by watching “Dancing with the Stars” and MTV. My big fear is that after Obama inflates the gas prices with his energy regulations carbon taxes, the insurance prices with his regulations and taxes, and so on, that the people will turn against business and demand communism. I pray that it doesn’t go that far, but many Americans are so bad at understanding economics these days.

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Papa John pizza CEO: cuts to employee hours likely, because of Obamacare

Fox News reports. (H/T Dad)

Excerpt:

The CEO of popular pizza chain Papa John’s says his employees may face reduced hours and he expects his business costs to rise because President Obama’s re-election most likely insures the president’s health care reform law will be implemented in full.

NaplesNews.com reports John Schnatter made the remarks to a small group at Edison State College’s Collier County campus the day after the election.

Schnatter, who supported Mitt Romney in the election, said all Americans having health insurance under ObamaCare is a good, but estimates the change will cost Papa John’s $5 million to $8 million annually.

Schnatter estimated that these rising costs could adversely affect his workers. Since only full-time employees working 30 hours or more must be covered under the new law, he said he expects franchise owners will be forced to cut employees’ hours because they can’t afford the costs of health insurance plans.

“That’s probably what’s going to happen,” he said according to NaplesNews.com. “It’s common sense. That’s what I call lose-lose.”

The comments were not Schnatter’s first statements on ObamaCare. He made headlines in August for telling shareholders the law may lead to increases in the price of his pizza.

In addition, the Applebee’s family restaurant chain is under public attack, including the threat of boycotts after New York-area franchisee Zane Tankel told Fox Business Network that cost increases related to implementing ObamaCare might result in no expansion or additional hiring. Critics appear to have interpreted Tankel’s comments to mean he will layoff customers as a result of ObamaCare.

It’s too bad that Obama’s policies will hurt people who want to work for a living, but it’s a hard lesson that we all need to learn: socialism means that we have higher unemployment, less take home pay, lower quality goods, and higher prices. It means having less prosperity and less liberty. And we voted for it.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Companies announce layoffs in the wake of Obama’s re-election

The Washington Times links to this article by Freedom Works.

Excerpt:

 With 20 or so new or higher taxes set to be implemented, ranging from a $123 billion surtax on investment income, through the $20 billion medical device tax, all the way down to the $600 million executive compensation limit, Obamacare will be a nearly unbearable tax burden on the economy.

Who will pay?  The middle-class workforce, of course.

So with another four years for President Obama to look forward to, and the obvious inevitability of Obamacare that this entails, let’s examine the very real jobs that will be lost, and the very real lives that will be affected.

Here are some of the companies impacted by Obamacare:

Welch Allyn

Welch Allyn, a company that manufactures medical diagnostic equipment in central New York, announced in September that they would be laying off 275 employees, or roughly 10% of their workforce over the next three years.  One of the major reasons discussed for the layoffs was a proactive response to the Medical Device Tax mandated by the new healthcare law.

Dana Holding Corp.

As recently as a week ago, a global auto parts manufacturing company in Ohio known as Dana Holding Corp., warned their employees of potential layoffs, citing “$24 million over the next six years in additional U.S. health care expenses”.  After laying off several white collar staffers, company insiders have hinted at more to come.  The company will have to cover the additional $24 million cost somehow, which will likely equate to numerous cuts in their current workforce of 25,500 worldwide.

Stryker

One of the biggest medical device manufacturers in the world, Stryker will close their facility in Orchard Park, New York, eliminating 96 jobs in December.  Worse, they plan on countering the medical device tax in Obamacare by slashing 5% of their global workforce – an estimated 1,170 positions.

Boston Scientific

In October of 2009, Boston Scientific CEO Ray Elliott, warned that proposed taxes in the health care reform bill could “lead to significant job losses” for his company.  Nearly two years later, Elliott announced that the company would be cutting anywhere between 1,200 and 1,400 jobs, while simultaneously shifting investments and workers overseas – to China.

Medtronic

In March of 2010, medical device maker Medtronic warned that Obamacare taxes could result in a reduction of precisely 1,000 jobs.  That plan became reality when the company cut 500 positions over the summer, with another 500 set for the end of 2013.

Obamacare encourages companies to limit their number of full-time employees by switching to part-time employees. Some companies are doing that to avoid having to pay Obamacare fines.

Look:

Darden Restaurants

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Darden Restaurants, a casual dining chain best known for their Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants, is “experimenting with limiting the hours of some of its workers to avoid health care requirements under the Affordable Care Act when they take effect in 2014″.

JANCOA Janitorial Services

The CEO of JANCOA, Mary Miller, testified to Congress that Obamacare was a “dream killer”, adding that one option she had to consider “is reducing the majority of my team members to part-time employment in order to reduce the amount that I will be penalized.”

Kroger

The American retailer in Cincinnati, Ohio recently was reported to be planning a significant slashing of their hourly workers.  Doug Ross writes:

Operative Faith (a mid-level manager with the company) reveals that Kroger will soon join the ranks of Darden Restaurants and slash the hours of its non-exempt (hourly) workers to avoid millions in Obamacare penalties.

According to the source, Obamacare could result in tens of thousands of Kroger employees being limited to working 28 hours per week.

And of course there are the layoffs by defense companies like Boeing, because of Obama’s defense cuts. The one thing that the government is actually supposed to do – that’s the thing he cuts.

The effects of Obamacare were well-known before the 2012 election took place. But the Democrat voters were just not paying attention when the voted to re-elect Obama.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How did Dutch women get to be the happiest women in the world?

Mary sends me this article from Macleans, which she found on pastor Mark Driscoll’s blog.

Excerpt:

Like many Dutch women, Marie-Louise van Haeren views herself as liberated. “Every woman in Holland can do whatever she wants with her life,” says Van Haeren, 52, who lives just outside of Rotterdam and rides her bicycle or the train to work three days a week at a police academy, where she counsels students. She has worked part-time her entire career, as have almost all of her friends—married or unmarried, kids or no kids—save one or two who logged more hours out of financial necessity. Van Haeren, who wasn’t married until last year and has no children, says she’s worked part-time “to have time to do things that matter to me, live the way I want. To stay mentally and physically healthy and happy.”

Many women in the Netherlands seem to share similar views, valuing independence over success in the workplace. In 2001, nearly 60 per cent of working Dutch women were employed part-time, compared to just 20 per cent of Canadian women. Today, the number is even higher, hovering around 75 per cent. Some, like Van Haeren, view this as progress, evidence of personal freedom and a commitment to a balanced lifestyle.

[...]…Dutch women appear deaf to the siren call of the workplace. Asked whether they’d like to increase their hours, just four per cent said yes, compared to 25 per cent of French women. And while across the Channel, British media are heralding the resurgence of feminism—last weekend, some 500 women crowded into a feminist training camp, UK Feminista, to be trained in direct action and activism—in Holland, women like Van Haeren baldly proclaim no further need for the movement. “Feminism wasn’t necessary anymore by the time I grew up,” she says. “In my eyes, it was a thing of the past.”

The relationship between personal lifestyle choices and the socio-economic standing of women has been under the microscope in Holland ever since the publication of Dutch Women Don’t Get Depressed in 2008. Ellen de Bruin, who patterned her book after Mireille Guiliano’s bestseller French Women Don’t Get Fat, began by defining the stereotypical Dutch woman: naturally beautiful with a no-fuss sense of style, she rides her bike to fetch the groceries, has ample time with her kids and husband, takes art classes in the middle of the week, and spends leisurely afternoons drinking coffee with her friends. She loves to work part-time and does not earn as much as her husband, but she’s fine with that—he takes care of the bills. The book went on to note that Dutch women rank consistently low, compared to those in other Western countries, in terms of representation in top positions in business and government—and rank consistently near the top in terms of happiness and well-being. In fact, just about everyone in Holland seems pleased with the status quo; in 2009, the Netherlands ranked highest of all OECD countries in terms of overall well-being.

Could it be that the Bible actually speaks truly about the differences between men and women? That doesn’t mean that women and men should be careless when choosing a spouse – they should choose wisely. But maybe it is better for men and women to play complementary roles. Maybe they were designed to be able to do different things, because they have different strengths?  Maybe they fit together hand in glove in marriage, canceling out the weaknesses of the other?

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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